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Catholic Converts: British and American Intellectuals Turn to Rome [Hardcover]

By Patrick Allitt (Author)
Our Price $ 85.92  
Retail Value $ 89.50  
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Item Number 144790  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   360
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.26" Width: 6.35" Height: 1.13"
Weight:   1.36 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 27, 1997
Publisher   Cornell University Press
ISBN  080142996X  
EAN  9780801429965  

Availability  128 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 03:58.
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Item Description...

From the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, an impressive group of English speaking intellectuals converted to Catholicism. Outspoken and gifted, they intended to show the fallacies of religious skeptics and place Catholicism, once again, at the center of western intellectual life. The lives of individual converts such as John Henry Newman, G. K. Chesterton, Thomas Merton, and Dorothy Day have been well documented, but Patrick Allitt has written the first account of converts' collective impact on Catholic intellectual life. His book is also the first to characterize the distinctive style of Catholicism they helped to create and the first to investigate the extensive contacts among Catholic convert writers in the United States and Britain.

Allitt explains how, despite the Church's dogmatic style and hierarchical structure, converts working in the areas of history, science, literature, and philosophy maintained that Catholicism was intellectually liberating. British and American converts followed each other's progress closely, visiting each other and sending work back and forth across the Atlantic. The outcome of their labors was not what the converts had hoped. Although they influenced the Catholic Church for three or four generations, they were unable to restore it to the central place in Western intellectual life that it had enjoyed before the Reformation."

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Patrick Allitt is professor of history at Emory University. He is the author of Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics in America, 1950-1985, Catholic Converts: British and American Intellectuals Turn to Rome, and the editor of Major Problems in American Religious History.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Catholic history from a liberal, dissident Catholic perspective  Jun 23, 2007
If you are a conservative Catholic, who love his Church, and is faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, then this book is NOT for you.

I gave up on the book halfway through. The emphasis by this author is a sympathetic portrayal of converts from Protestantism with the agenda of changing the church to be more palatable to Protestants, but in effect this just makes the Catholic Church to be nothing but another Protestant church.

The author even portrays John Henry Newman to be a dissident Catholic, denying papal infabillity in favor of the collegiality of the bishops. This may have been true before Vatican I, but not after. Any Catholic who denied papal infallibility but upheld collegiality before Vatican I would be obligated by logic to accept papal infallibility after Vatican I. Once the college of bishops is led by the Holy Spirit to declare papal infallibility, then it would be a logical contradiction for a Catholic to uphold one and not the other. And this is exactly what Newman did not do. The author ignored the evidence that Newman later in life upheld papal infallibly in order to portray Newman as a fellow dissident.

The author's liberal Catholic bias effects his portrayal of even conservative Catholics such as G K Chesterton. Chesterton taught the beauty of the Catholic faith - that Jesus came to his us to give us life, with all its fullness, beauty and meaning. The author reduced Chesterton's teaching to a trite message that "Catholicism is fun!". This degrading summary would turn Chesterton in his grave!

To a liberal Catholic, God exists for man instead of man existing for God. If Catholic teaching prevents converts from coming into the Church, then the teaching can be discarded. Everything is about pandering to people instead obeying God and following the truth.

I should have known better by those who endorse this book where this book is coming from. It is not endorsed by anyone on EWTN or any conservative Catholic that I know of. But it is instead endorsed by a professor of University of Notre Dame, a school which refuses to obey the pope in enforcing the rule that all its theology professors must sign a paper that they will teach theology in accordance to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Instead of this book, I recommend "Literary Giants, Literary Catholics" by Joseph Pearce.

Excellent account  Apr 24, 2000
Too comprehensive to fit any stock description, this book is an excellent account of the flood of english-speaking intellectuals who have converted to Catholicism in the last two centuries. The book is well written and should be of great value to anyone who is interested in the role of faith in modern life. Well done.

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