Study on Modern American Catholic Church
|School||Northeast Normal University|
|Keywords||America Catholicism Catholic Church the Second Vatican Council|
Being a part of pluralistic American culture, American Catholicism is the result of its European counterpart’s inculturation process during which the old-style religious ideology gradually adapted itself to a new cultural background and fostered the American Catholicism with distinguished features. The unique experience of American Catholic Church may be viewed as the co-effort of immigrant experience and traditional belief.As the main theme of American Catholic Church’s experience, the inculturation process is largely the adaptive adjustment that aims at the sustainable development of traditional belief. To some extent secularization of Catholic Church may be also interpreted as a continuing inculturation process since it is also a form of adjustment to the modern life and a source of vitality. Intrinsically, the secularization of Catholic Church should be read as the merging of religious spirit and freedom as well as an essential part of social practice of American civil religion, rather than the rejection of traditional belief. The interpretation of these two themes, inculturation and secularization, is also the prerequisite of this study.The paper mainly focuses on the study of Catholic Church in modern American society. In the first of all five parts some key issues of study including the fundamental theories and conceptions, the research scope and recent research progress are discussed.Part Two reviews the origin and development of American Catholic Church. Before twentieth century the American Catholic Church is charactered by its European immigrant culture and national feeling. But the acculturation process for the mainstream Church had been completed before 1950s. The interaction of Second Vatican Council and American Church is a key issue to the understanding of American Catholic Church.Part Three will address the mechanism of American Church and offer a description of Catholics. The paper analyses the management of parishes, dioceses and archdioceses, provides a full view of lay Catholics, and studies the inculturation process through the decline of national parishes. Young Catholics and Hispanic Americans are discussed in detail as the two groups that may greatly shape the American Church in the coming years.Part Four analyzes the secular function of the Church from the two its political involvement and social ethics. The political involvement of the Church usually focuses on some certain issues and bishops are known for their conservatism and a preference of moral teachings. The social ethics of the Church is reflected from the debated over right-to-life issue.Part Five summarizes the two themes of inculturation and secularization and reviews the inculturation process and secularization dilemma of American Church.