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A Saint of Our OwnHow the Quest for a Holy Hero Helped Catholics Become American$
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Kathleen Sprows Cummings

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469649474

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469649474.001.0001

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✦ Papal Saints ✦

✦ Papal Saints ✦

(p.201) 6 ✦ Papal Saints ✦
A Saint of Our Own

Kathleen Sprows Cummings

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines American sanctity during the papacy of John Paul II (1978-2005). John Paul II canonized more saints then all of his predecessors combined. He canonized Neumann and Duchesne, beatified six other U.S. candidates, and introduced dozens of others. Beyond the numbers, this chapter traces a fundamental shift in U.S. saint-seeking throughout this era. As polarization within the church supplanted marginalization in America as the keynote of U.S. Catholicism, U.S. Catholics became less likely to project their American stories onto candidates for canonization. Instead, prospective saints became signifiers of where Catholic individuals and groups position themselves within the church, often on issues related to gender, sexuality, and social and racial justice.

Keywords:   John Paul II, Polarization, Sexuality, Gender, Feminism, abortion

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