A Threshold to Catholic America
This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to show how the extreme contemporary reactions to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. signal the divisiveness of post-1960s American culture and the fragmentation of postconciliar U.S. Catholicism, but conceal the qualified countermodernism and recalibrated Americanism of the Shrine's promoters. Most important, present-day assessments obscure the ways that, between the 1920s and 1950s, the building both attracted varied Marian devotees and expressed common clerical hopes. The chapter then discusses the sources and methodology used in the book.
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