Kresta in the Afternoon – February 8, 2019 – Hour 2

+  Catholics and the American South (full hour)

  • Description: It's easy to forget how far Catholic have come in the US; we were never the cultural majority and for a large part of American history, Catholics have faced harsh anti-Catholicism. What was like for Catholics in the South during the years leading up to the Civil War? How did they handle life in a society in which slavery was so ingrained? We talk with Adam Tate.
  • Segment Guests:
    • Adam Tate
      Adam Tate is the author of Catholics' Lost Cause: South Carolina Catholics and the American South. He is a professor of history and chair of the department of humanities at Clayton State University.
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    • Catholics’ Lost Cause: South Carolina Catholics and the American South, 1820–1861

      In the fascinating Catholics’ Lost Cause, Adam Tate argues that the primary goal of clerical leaders in antebellum South Carolina was to build a rapprochement between Catholicism and southern culture that would aid them in rooting Catholic institutions in the region in order to both sustain and spread their faith.   A small minority in an era of prevalent anti-Catholicism, the Catholic clergy of South Carolina engaged with the culture around them, hoping to build an indigenous southern Catholicism. Tate’s book describes the challenges to antebellum Catholics in defending their unique religious and ethnic identities while struggling not to alienate their overwhelmingly Protestant counterparts. In particular, Tate cites the work of three antebellum bishops of the Charleston diocese, John England, Ignatius Reynolds, and Patrick Lynch, who sought to build a southern Catholicism in tune with their specific regional surroundings.   As tensions escalated and the sectional crisis deepened in the 1850s, South Carolina Catholic leaders supported the Confederate States of America, thus aligning themselves and their flocks to the losing side of the Civil War. The war devastated Catholic institutions and finances in South Carolina, leaving postbellum clerical leaders to rebuild within a much different context.   Scholars of American Catholic history, southern history, and American history will be thoroughly engrossed in this largely overlooked era of American Catholicism. (learn more)

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