This intriguing study of the conflict between Roman Catholicism and American democracy begins with four lectures, originally published in 1949, by Roman Catholic priest and Harvard professor of church history George La Piana. A member of the Church himself, La Piana became highly critical of its undemocratic aspects after immigrating to the United States from Italy in 1914. A contributor to Foreign Affairs and The Nation, La Piana was often consulted by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter on church-state issues.
Appended to La Piana's work is an extended afterword by social-ethics activist John Swomley. He brings the ongoing controversy concerning Vatican-U.S. relations up to date, especially in regard to such issues as censorship and academic freedom, abortion, population policy, and the Church as a political lobby group.
For Catholics, non-Catholics, and all those concerned about the future course of American democracy, this authoritative, well-argued book presents much to ponder.