“Believers, Thinkers and Founders: How We Came to Be One Nation Under God” by Kevin Seamus Hasson. Image Books (New York, 2016). 227 pp., $20. The author of this readable and informative volume studied law and theology at the University of Notre Dame and is the founder of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, so […]
CAMDEN, N.J. –– After his parents divorced, Michael White briefly lived with his mother, but she would regularly make him ask his father to “take” him. This is the cover of “Travels in Vermeer,” a memoir by poet Michael White, who chronicles his yearlong transcontinental quest to see all the known paintings by the Dutch […]
“Master of Ceremonies: A Novel” by Donald Cozzens. In Extenso Press (Chicago, 2015). 287 pp., $19.95. Most Catholics are sick and tired of news about priests who abused children and bishops who covered up for them. So a good many may not welcome a mystery novel about the same. This, however, is no fictional attempt […]
(CNS photo courtesy Carmel Communications)“Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms” by Holly Ordway. Ignatius Press (San Francisco, 2014). 186 pp., hardcover, $19.95. Holly Ordway, author of “Not God’s Type,” was a well-educated English professor who dismissed belief in God as so much superstition. While her family was not hostile toward religion […]
“An American Cardinal: The Biography of Cardinal Timothy Dolan” by Christina Boyle. St. Martin’s Press (New York, 2014). 281 pp., $27.99. This is the cover of “An American Cardinal: The Biography of Cardinal Timothy Dolan” by Christina Boyle. The book is reviewed by Brian T. Olszewski. (CNS)Among U.S. Catholic leaders, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is […]
“Joy to the World: How Christ’s Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does)” by Scott Hahn. Image (New York, 2014). 192 pp., $23. “Christmas: The Sacred to Santa” by Tara Moore. Reaktion Books (London, 2014). 224 pp., $30. In his slim volume, “Joy to the World,” Scott Hahn – a former Presbyterian who has become one […]
“From Jesus to the Church: The First Christian Generation” by Craig A. Evans. Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, Kentucky, 2014). 176 pp., $22.50. This is the cover of “From Jesus to the Church: The First Christian Generation” by Craig A. Evans. The book is reviewed by Sister Mona Castelazo, CSJ. (CNS)In “From Jesus to the […]
“Daughters in Danger: Helping Our Girls Thrive in Today’s Culture” by Elayne Bennett. Thomas Nelson (Nashville, Tennessee, 2014). 313 pp., $24.99.This is the cover of “Daughters in Danger: Helping Our Girls Thrive in Today’s Culture” by Elayne Bennett. The book is reviewed by Regina Lordan. (CNS) To some readers “Daughters in Danger: Helping Our Girls […]
“Race With the Devil: My Journey From Racial Hatred to Rational Love” by Joseph Pearce. St. Benedict Press (Charlotte, N.C., 2013). 249 pp., $22.95. This is the cover of “Race With the Devil: My Journey From Racial Hatred to Rational Love” by Joseph Pearce. The book is reviewed by David Gibson. (CNS)“I am not writing […]
“All Good Books Are Catholic Books: Print Culture, Censorship and Modernity in Twentieth-Century America” by Una M. Cadegan. Cornell University Books (Ithaca, N.Y., 2013). 238 pp., $39.95.
Una M. Cadegan in her short but dense history, “All Good Books Are Catholic Books,” describes an intellectual war between Catholicism and modernity that reached its high-water mark in the first half of the 20th century.
While it may have been a bloodless war, it had consequences as profound as any war fought on a battlefield. The church’s principal weapon was censorship of theological works and works of fiction and nonfiction.
With the closing down of immigration to the United States in 1920, Catholics shifted from being powerless newcomers in an alien branch of Christianity to being assimilated Americans with a real voice in print culture. There was an explosion of new publishing houses, books, journals and magazines all run by Catholics for a Catholic audience. Catholics also became influential in the burgeoning film industry of Hollywood.
Catholicism’s enemy, modernity, was less of a movement than a collection of ideas that sprung from the rapid expansion of scientific knowledge, from the development of psychological theories, from the dissemination of the evolutionary ideas of Darwin, and the important changes in scriptural study, namely the historical critical method. All of these ideas were gaining importance as the United States was transforming from a rural, farming nation to an industrial giant.