A sweeping history of American Catholicism from the arrival of the first Spanish missionaries to the present "Tentler does justice to James Joyce's quip that Catholicism means 'here comes everybody.' This is the story of everybody-lay people, sisters, priests-who was part of the church in the United States, a story insightfully analyzed and admirably told. A definitive synthesis." -James M. O'Toole, author of The Faithful This comprehensive survey of Catholic history in what became the United States spans nearly five hundred years, from the arrival of the first Spanish missionaries to the present. Distinguished historian Leslie Tentler explores lay religious practice and the impact of clergy on Catholic life and culture as she seeks to answer the question, What did it mean to be a "good Catholic" at particular times and in particular places? In its focus on Catholics' participation in American politics and Catholic intellectual life, this book includes in-depth discussions of Catholics, race, and the Civil War; Catholics and public life in the twentieth century; and Catholic education and intellectual life. Shedding light on topics of recent interest such as the role of Catholic women in parish and community life, Catholic reproductive ethics regarding birth control, and the Catholic church sex-abuse crisis, this engaging history provides an up-to-date account of the history of American Catholicism.