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A Nation of NeighborhoodsImagining Cities, Communities, and Democracy in Postwar America$
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Benjamin Looker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226073989

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226290454.001.0001

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“A Theology of Neighborhood”

“A Theology of Neighborhood”

Post–Vatican II Catholicism, Ethnic Revival, and City Space

(p.259) Nine “A Theology of Neighborhood”
A Nation of Neighborhoods

Benjamin Looker

University of Chicago Press

While some 1970s neighborhood activists understood the local city community as the natural home for democratic self-rule, participants in the decade's white ethnic revival sought instead to bolster the neighborhood's role in safeguarding unique customs and heritages. To a growing cadre of Catholic intellectuals, chapter 9 relates, the urban lifeways of the pre-war immigrant church offered up a more authentic American Catholicism, suggesting a route forward amid the intra-church religious battles of the post-Vatican II era. A reinvigoration of the white-ethnic urban village, argued figures such as Andrew Greeley and Geno Baroni, offered renewal in a divided church and a vitalizing national pluralism in the face of homogenization and rootlessness. Some of these activists strove to overcome images of white-ethnic urban Catholics as implacable foes of their black and Latino city neighbors. However, their failure to craft enduring alliances with the church's gender progressives and civil rights wing left them only a marginal place in the battles defining American Catholicism in the decade ahead.

Keywords:   Catholics, Catholicism, ethnic revival, church, neighborhood, heritages, Vatican II, Geno Baroni, Andrew Greeley

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