“AD MAJORDEM DEI GLORIAM": Fr. Daniel Berrigan, Michael Novak & Catholic Identity in Crisis in Mid-Twentieth Century America


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The 1960s were a time of great change in terms of Catholic identity and its relationship to American culture and politics. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (1962-1965) deeply unsettled the American Catholic Church as its liturgical reforms posed a serious challenge to Catholicism’s status as a distinctive religious community in the United States. Two figures that embodied the struggle of American Catholics to connect their faith to politics in this period were Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J., and Michael Novak. This thesis explores the roots of the ideological break between these two Catholic intellectuals and what it says about the nature of the decline of the American Catholic left in mid-twentieth century. It contends that the decline was a direct byproduct of anxieties related to the loss of tradition in the wake of Vatican II and the failure of the Catholic New Left to gauge the needs of working class Americans. .



Daniel Berrigan. Michael Novak. Catholicism. Catholic identity. Catonsville nine. Ethnics. New left. Neoconservative. Religion. Identity crisis. Vietnam War. Vatican II.