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The Catholic Studies Reader$
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James T. Fisher and Margaret M. McGuinness

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234103

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234103.001.0001

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We Have Been Believers

We Have Been Believers

Black Catholic Studies

Chapter:
(p.259) 12 We Have Been Believers
Source:
The Catholic Studies Reader
Author(s):

JAMES T. FISHER

MARGARET M. MCGUINNESS

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823234103.003.0013

Parish revivals enabled many Catholics, including blacks, to attain a deeper knowledge of their faith and to take fuller ownership of it. Catholic revivalism differed in its emphasis on the sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist. African Americans, especially former slaves, flocked to these events as they helped them transition from slavery to freedom, and from rudimentary knowledge of their faith to a stronger identification with and knowledge about Catholicism. Black Catholic Studies originated in the late 1960s not among academics but among African American priests, brothers, and members of women's religious communities who had for too long endured the shared experience of institutional racism in the Catholic Church. It enriched African American theology without being subsumed by it; the movement also deepened Catholic historical studies in the United States—as noted by the chapter in an assertion rich in implications for Catholic Studies practice—by prompting a recognition that the “syncretism” marking African American Catholic devotional practices was not confined to the black Catholic experience.

Keywords:   African Americans, blacks, Black Catholic Studies, Catholic Studies, Catholics, syncretism, Catholicism, racism, theology, Catholic revivalism

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