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By Andrew S. Moore

In The South's Tolerable Alien, Andrew S. Moore probes the function of Catholics within the post--World struggle II South and argues persuasively that, till the Sixties, faith rivaled race as a boundary keeping apart citizens of the Bible Belt. Delving deep into underutilized diocesan data, he explores the ways that southern Catholics labored to be either reliable Catholics and strong southerners in a quarter principally outlined via Protestant denominations, and explains how the burgeoning civil rights circulate eventually breached those non secular boundaries.

With non secular intolerance necessary to southern Protestant identification, anti-Catholicism persevered longer within the South than in the other a part of the rustic. but regardless of the prejudices opposed to them, southern Catholics refused to scale back from public view, making a separate tradition to maintain their spiritual id as they marked out public sacred area from which they can interact their critics. Moore describes intimately the Catholics' civic monitors and public rituals -- together with the diocese of Mobile-Birmingham's annual Christ the King celebrations, which featured downtown parades of over 25,000 humans. greater than mere assertions in their presence, those pageants supplied Catholics with possibilities to craft a mundane id in the American mainstream.

As Moore continues, the increase of the civil rights flow slowly decreased spiritual rigidity between white southerners as violent confrontations in Selma and Birmingham pressured Catholics, in addition to others, to take a stand. as soon as the civil rights circulation was once in complete swing, both help for or competition to racial desegregation grew to become paramount and contributed to social and political realignments alongside racial traces rather than non secular ones. evaluating the responses to the fight to finish Jim Crow between dioceses, Moore reveals that, between Catholics, there has been no basic liberal/conservative dichotomy. in its place, he argues that, within the South, the civil rights circulation was once extra very important than the second one Vatican Council in reshaping the social and political stances of the Catholic Church.

By describing the connection among Catholics and Protestants within the South from a Catholic point of view, Moore demonstrates that, regardless of the endurance of anti-Catholicism all through this era, white Protestants have been steadily coming to phrases with the fashionable South's non secular pluralism. With The South's Tolerable Alien, Moore bargains the 1st severe research of southern Catholicism outdoor of Louisiana and makes a huge contribution to the research of southern religion.

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Additional info for The South’s Tolerable Alien: Roman Catholics in Alabama and Georgia, 1945-1970

Example text

The Diocese of Mobile-Birmingham’s 964 census demonstrated that Mobile, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Pensacola, Florida, contained the overwhelming majority of Catholics in the diocese. Metropolitan Birmingham registered 39,72 Catholics, Mobile had 38,6, Pensacola 24,336, and Montgomery 3,762. That left between twelve and thirteen thousand in other cities and rural areas of the state. Industrial and technological growth, the advent of cities like 6 catholics as “other” in the south Atlanta as a commercial and transportation hub, and federal investment in the form of military bases and defense contracts attracted this surge in population.

They reminded local Catholics what was distinctive about them and served as media for reminding nonCatholics why Catholics should be included in the mainstream. 37 2 A Group Apart Sacred Space and Catholic Identity at Mid-Century  In a 992 interview, a Childersburg, Alabama, woman reflected on the isolation she and other Catholics experienced in the South fifty years earlier: “But we were a group apart. Just as Catholics have been, in my estimation, everywhere I’ve been in the South for all the years I’ve been here.

Most importantly, Catholics could not escape their ties to the larger Roman Catholic Church. Protestant prejudice forced Catholics to paper over any internal differences and focus on the religious ties they had in common. So anti-Catholicism became for Catholics their own identity marker; they accepted their outsider status out of necessity and drew on the traditions and doctrines they shared with Catholics everywhere to reinforce their religious identity. They also confronted Protestant attacks and made their own appeal to American ideals and a shared national identity.

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