Acts of Faith: The Catholic Church in Texas, 1900-1950

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Texas A&M University Press, 2002 - History - 263 pages
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The story of the Catholic church in Texas parallels the story of Europeans in the state. But to many people, the early history of the Texas Catholic church is better known than its recent record. Acts of Faith offers a full-bodied account of the Catholic church in Texas during the years from 1900 to 1950. It looks at both the development of the institution and the ways the church dealt with the social issues of the day.

During these years the Texas church, like the rest of the state, faced a rapid growth in population (partly from Mexicans fleeing the political and economic turmoil of revolution) and the need for an increasingly sophisticated organizational structure. It also faced natural disasters such as the 1900 Galveston hurricane, the bigotry of the Ku Klux Klan, and the coming of two world wars.

In Acts of Faith, James Talmadge Moore has mined the reports of the largely untapped Southern Messenger, the state's major Catholic newspaper, for the narrative line. The accounts he finds there form the basis for biographical portraits of the major figures, overviews of the important issues with which the church had to grapple, and understanding of social forces that shaped this major institution's development.

A sequel to Moore's Through Fire and Flood, this is sound institutional history—a look at the institution as institution and a fascinating chronology of church experience. It presents the Catholic church's actions, social stances, and positions on current events. Orphanages, schools, and liturgical practices fill the pages, along with the events of the larger society. For the people who read Moore's earlier volume, this one takes the dramatic story another half-century in time. And for anyone who wants a fuller picture of modern Texas history, the book adds an important chapter.

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About the author (2002)

In 1998 James Talmadge Moore retired as professor of history at North Harris College in Houston and resumed full-time parish work at Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church, which he had served as pastor most of the time since 1984, when he was received into the Catholic priesthood. His Ph.D. in history is from Texas A&M, and the Press published his earlier volume on the nineteenth-century of the Catholic church in Texas, Through Fire and Flood: The Catholic Church in Frontier Texas, 1836–1900, in 1992. He is also the author of Indian and Jesuit: A Seventeenth Century Encounter and many articles.