Dare to speak" This Land Is Home to Me from idea to promulgation (May 1973 - February 1975) and beyond "

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Theology


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: Sandra A. Yocum


This thesis constructs an historical narrative of the writing and promulgation of This Land Is Home to Me: A Pastoral on Powerlessness in Appalachia by the Catholic Bishops of the Region (1975). It first investigates ecclesial influences on the pastoral, including Latin American liberation theology and the Second Vatican Council, as well as important social contexts. Such exploration serves as a background for exploring the history of the pastoral, including the idea's inception, the composition through several drafts, a private meeting between Appalachian bishops and industry leaders, and its ultimate promulgation in February 1975. The thesis then examines the pastoral's influence on other Catholic Church documents, as well as the lives of individuals and the formation of communities throughout Appalachia, especially West Virginia. Ultimately, although it emerges from a statistically small Catholic region, This Land Is Home to Me is important in the history of the Catholic Church in Appalachia and, more broadly, in the United States because the boldness of its message in promoting human dignity spoke to the situation in Appalachia and throughout the country.


Catholic Committee of Appalachia. This land is home to me. 1975, Catholic Church Appalachian Region History 20th century, Catholic Church Appalachian Region Pastoral letters and charges 20th century, Clergy Appalachian Region 20th century

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