Catholic Politics in the United States: Challenges in the Past, Present, and Future

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Throughout the history of the US, the Catholic Church has occupied a variety of political roles. This essay identifies three distinctive periods of Catholic politics: An era in which US Catholicism represented a primarily “immigrant” church (approximately from the mid-19th century to World War II), a period of assimilation and acculturation (roughly 1945–1980), and a period of integration into the dominant partisan and ideological cleavages of American politics (approximately 1980 to the present). Each of these eras was characterized by a distinctive pattern of interaction among the American Catholic laity, the organized Roman Catholic hierarchy in the US, and the Vatican.


Catholic Church; Catholic Church and world politics; United States


American Politics | Catholic Studies | History | Political Science | Religion | United States History

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