This book traces the dramatic shifts in American Catholics’ prayer life from the style of the immigrant church (1865-1900) through and after the Second Vatican Council. James M. McCartin, a professor of history at Seton Hall University, notes in the prologue: “Positioned at opposite ends of the twentieth century, these two scenes suggest a remarkable alteration in the patterns of prayer and in the popular experience of the spiritual life.” And these shifts, as the book shows, came alongside larger changes within the American society and its political culture and reflect how prayer shaped people’s attitudes toward the hierarchy and the institutional church. What we see in the present, inspired by the post-Vatican II charismatic renewal movement, is a personal approach to prayer.
In a forthcoming review of the book in America, Catholic historian Jay P. Dolan applauds McCartin for uncovering “an important aspect of American Catholic history that most historians have overlooked.”
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