Many Faces, One Church: Cultural Diversity and the American Catholic Experience (Catholic Studies)

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9780742532137: Many Faces, One Church: Cultural Diversity and the American Catholic Experience (Catholic Studies)
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Many Faces, One Church: Cultural Diversity and the American Catholic Experience both captures and facilitates a seismic shift in the who, what, where, when, why, and how of Catholic theology today. Along with a diverse group of theologians who represent the many faces of the church, editors Peter C. Phan and Diana Hayes recast the story of the church in America by including immigrant groups either forgotten or ignored and, in light of these new and not-so-new voices, retooling the theological framework of Catholicism itself. That the American Catholic Church is an 'immigrant church' is not news. What is news, however, is how diverse the immigrant church really is and how much work there is to be done to include their voices in theological discourse and training. Beyond the German and Irish immigrants, what of other European immigrant groups such as the Italians, Poles, Lithuanians, Czechs, Slovaks, and Eastern-rite Catholics? Where are the stories of the older presence of native Mexican, Native American, and African-American Catholics in this country? And more recently, of Asian-American Catholics, especially the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Filipinos, of the nineteenth and early twentieth century? And more recently still, Catholic immigrants have come from El Salvador, Guatemala, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, India, and the Pacific Islands. What impact are these immigrants having on American society and religious groups? Many Faces, One Church is a profound attempt to address these key questions and their implications for the Catholic way of being church, worshipping, and practicing theology. The result of three years of conferences sponsored by Elms College exploring the 'new faces' of the American Catholic Church, this thoughtful collection highlights opportunities and challenges lying ahead as the American Church tries to respond to the continuing presence of new immigrants in its midst. Many Faces, One Church is a beginning of a long but exciting journey in which the strangers welcomed today into the bosom of the American Catholic Church will be themselves the hosts to welcome, with equal warmth and generosity, the new strangers into their midst so that hosts and guests are truly one.

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About the Author:

Peter C. Phan, S.T.D., Ph.D., D.D., is the Ignacio Ellacur'a Professor of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University. He is the author of many books including the trilogy: Christianity with an Asian Face (2003); In Our Tongues (2003); and Being Religious Interreligiously (2004). Diana Hayes, J.D., Ph.D., S.T.D., is associate professor of theology at Georgetown University. She is the author of many books including Hagar's Daughters: Womanist Ways of Being in the World (1995) and And Still We Rise: An Introduction to Black Liberation Theology (1996).

Review:

The present volume stands out as a necessary and long-overdue corrective to the usual (and monochrome) version of U.S. Catholic history. The contributors clearly demonstrate the current diversity within American Catholicism, as well as its dynamic creativity. They point to diversity as the historical constant of the American Church, in spite of all past (and present) attempts at suppressing other Catholic voices. The future of U.S. Catholicism is being shaped by immigrants and communities conveniently forgotten by the proponents of the monochrome version of U.S. Catholic history. This volume is a necessary contribution to the adequate and realistic study of American Catholicism. (Orlando O. Espin, Ph.D., professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies at University of San Diego and director of the Center for the Study of L)

The faces of Catholic theologians in the United States have changed, but more importantly so have topics for theological reflection. This thoughtful and careful volume of essays contributes substantively to a reevaluation of the ‘immigrant paradigm' of Church; to a grasp of the several and ambiguous ways in which ethnic, racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity have and continue to shape our self-understanding as Church; to a deeper appreciation of the Tradition and of the Gospel's challenge to all cultural practices and projects. (M. Shawn Copeland, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Boston College)

A unique and refreshing addition to the field of American Catholic studies. The essays do a nice job of introducing readers unfamiliar with the historical and cultural experiences and theological perspectives of Latino/a, Asian and Pacific, Black, and Caribbean Catholics to these communities. They also offer challenging theological and historical assessments about the reception of diverse Catholics in the U.S. Church that are good starting points for discussion and further thought and action. It is a very good selection for undergraduate and graduate seminars in U.S. Catholic studies that wish to engage seriously the meaning of cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity in the church and bring theology and history into dialogue. (American Catholic Studies)

This is an excellent survey, a real "learning festival," of the diverse ethnic communities that increasingly constitute the reality of US Catholicism, their respective history, problems, and particular contributions to the universal church. I would recommend it very highly to all pastoral leaders and theologians looking for enlightenment about the new context of pastoral practice and theological reflection. (Anselm K. Min, Claremont Graduate University)

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