The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968 Page: 465
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The role of the Catholic Church in the formulation of American
policy in the insular dependencies during the critical years from
1898 to 1904 was neither as coherent nor as significant as one might
assume, prior to reading Professor Reuter's book. In fact the major
conclusion that the author reaches-the principle contribution of the
monograph-is to show precisely that the efforts of a still defensive
and divided Church to take positions on the problems created by
United States occupation of Spanish (i.e., Catholic) lands led to the
unification or, perhaps better said, the maturation of American Cath-
olicism. As Reuther puts it: "The 'splendid little war' of 1898 forced
the Roman Catholic Church in the United States to come of age.
The Church had to throw off its tinge of foreignism and do more
than merely accommodate itself to American society. To keep con-
trol of its destiny it had to reverse its traditional role of indiffer-
ence to, national affairs and try instead to influence the direction
of national policies" (p. 35).
The colonial issues that aroused American Catholics-especially the
Catholic press, which is one of the principal sources used by the
author-were problems such as the fate of the religious school sys-
tems and the disposition of Church property, including land, in
the dependencies. Professor Reuter accurately explains why so many
U. S. Catholics were perturbed by such issues effecting distant pos-
sessions: not only because of their interest in the fate of fellow com-
municants, but also because "acceptance [by the U. S. government]
of certain policies in remote islands might serve as a precedent for
application of similar policies in the United States, where the air
still crackled with strong anti-Catholic sentiment" (pp. 58-59).
In the compromises of major issues that were finally worked out
with the Vatican, and in the assuaging of aroused Catholic opinion,
President Theodore Roosevelt played the leading part. Chapter Six,
"Theodore Roosevelt and the Crystallization of Catholic Opinion,"
is the longest and, in terms of domestic politics, the most interest-
ing part of the book.
The author was wise to set the stage for his principal theme by
describing nineteenth century American Catholicism. His approach
to his subject is objective, so far as United States history is con-
cerned. But surely the reviewer is not committing the sin of accusing
an author of not writing the book that the reviewer wished had
been written by pointing out that Professor Reuter has drawn
exclusively on materials in English for this study. Even admitting
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968, periodical, 1968; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/m1/515/: accessed August 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.