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Roman Catholicism in the United StatesA Thematic History$
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Margaret M. McGuinness and James T. Fisher

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823282760

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823282760.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Strangers in Our Midst: Catholics in Rural America

Strangers in Our Midst: Catholics in Rural America

(p.86) Four Strangers in Our Midst: Catholics in Rural America
Roman Catholicism in the United States

Jeffrey Marlett

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses the history of Catholics in the rural United States, which engages three narrative strands. The role of the institutional church—its schools, churches, monasteries, and hospitals—and its clergy represent perhaps the most visible strand. Then there is the story of rural Catholic people themselves: where they came from, what they did, and how their religious faith separated them from their non-Catholic rural neighbors. An often-tense relationship between the city and the country constitutes the third strand; stereotypes aside, rural America has never existed in isolation from American cities. This dynamic was especially evident in the history of rural Catholics. That history generated some of its own quintessentially “American” images: family farms, wholesome church life, the simplicity and honesty of small town life; but these images were inevitably read as anomalous when Catholics staked their proprietary claims.

Keywords:   rural United States, Catholics, Catholicism, institutional church, rural America

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