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American Catholic: Analyzing the Role of a Religious Institution in a Secular World; A Content Analysis of America, The National Catholic Weekly, 1945 - 2009. Open Access

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“American Catholic: Analyzing the Role of a Religious Institution in a Secular World; A Content Analysis of America, The National Catholic Weekly, 1945 - 2009.” The Catholic Church has always had a unique presence within the American environment. The United States is a country historically based on Protestant values, so Catholics in America have consistently worked at establishing their own identity and have created something of a religious sub-culture. However, as society in general secularizes, the continuing existence of religious sub-cultures is uncertain and many religious groups have adapted to mainstream society. Through a content analysis of editorials written from 1945 to 2009 in America, The National Catholic Weekly, this study analyzes how the Catholic Church negotiates its relationship with American society. By examining the issues deemed important to prominent Catholic editors, this study argues that the Catholic Church maintains a complicated relationship with mainstream society. Some secular issues are ignored or neglected within Catholic circles while other issues have been reframed in order to resonate with Catholic values. Only the test of time can determine whether or not these adaptations will be successful in preserving the Catholic Church in its distinctiveness as a functional contributor to American society.

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