American Catholic Studies
The 1955 publication of John Tracy Ellis's article "American Catholics and the Intellectual Life" sparked new discussion among historians about the role of intellectualism in the lives of American Catholics. This article examines the intellectual habits of American parish priests in the early and mid-twentieth century by studying the working library of Monsignor Bernard J. Beckmeyer of Dayton, Ohio. The contents of his library support Ellis's assertion that parish priests usually concentrated on the administration of their parishes, and not on scholarship and intellectualism. This focus was likely due to several factors, including the lackluster quality of seminary education of the time, which promoted Neo-Scholastic philosophy to the exclusion of new intellectual ideas; the demands of administering a parish; and the lack of continuing education opportunities for priests prior to the Second Vatican Council.
Copyright © 2016, American Catholic Historical Society
American Catholic Historical Society
Stephanie Soule (2016).
Intellectualism and American Parish Priests: A Study of the Library of Monsignor Bernard J. Beckmeyer. American Catholic Studies.
127 (3), 35-56