New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Mark S. Massa, S.J., Dean, School of Theology and Ministry
The Second Vatican Council enacted the most sweeping changes the Catholic Church had seen in centuries. In readable and compelling prose, Mark S. Massa tells the story of the culture war these changes ignited in the United States--a war that is still being waged today. The first stirrings of upheaval took place in the pews, where changes to the Mass were felt immediately and viscerally by the faithful. Suddenly, one Sunday, the Mass as they had always known it was very different, and so was the Church they had believed was timeless and unchanging. Skirmishes quickly broke out over the proper way to worship, with “liberals” welcoming change, “conservatives” resisting it. Soon, Catholics found themselves bitterly divided over everything from birth control to the authority of the Church itself. As he narrates these turbulent events, Massa takes us beyond the “liberal/conservative” stereotypes, offering new insights into the last fifty years of American Catholicism.