Washington and Rome: Catholicism in American Culture


Washington and Rome: Catholicism in American Culture

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To an outside observer, the religious culture of the United States might seem astonishing. For German sociologist Michael Z?ller, American Catholicism is more than that; it is a contradiction in terms.

With its historical consciousness, emphasis on institutionalized structures, and combination of skepticism and assurance of grace, Catholicism seems to embody the very opposite of the American cultural principle. Z?ller here reexamines widely held notions about secularization and the role of religion in civil society to show how Catholicism was integrated into the Protestant, egalitarian, and populist American culture and to determine what distinguishes American Catholics from both European Catholics and other Americans.

Z?ller traces the progress of Catholicism in the New World from earliest European settlement through the “Great Crisis” of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to its acceptance in the mainstream of modern America. He tells how, despite the anti-Cath