There's lots to quibble with in this; I imagine millions of Indo-Chinese and Algerians might have some questions about it. I could easily make a case that Europe abandoned empire only from exhaustion, ceding global hegemony to rising American power most unwillingly. Still, the idea deserves exploration that clamorous religious (ideological?) identification had to recede before more peaceful civilization became possible.
Practicing Catholic is that sort of book: thought-provoking for a wide variety of readers and ultimately gentle. By way of his personal story, Carroll makes a case that U.S. Catholics, despite the vigorous resistance of their religious authorities, have allowed their faith to evolve into a contemporary form that affirms the goodness of creation, creatures, and God Godself. It's been a tough ride, what with the Church's ongoing degradation of women, condemnation of birth control, and the hierarchy covering up for priests who abused children. But many have found liberation from a sin-obsessed self-hatred into a sustaining faith. Carroll's insistence that U.S. Catholic laity have managed this transformation is confirmed by recent polling. Despite the pope,
There's a live and let live spirit in this.
Somehow these Catholics have lived beyond the contradiction that churns all religions that claim to offer authoritative teaching:
That's an important question for a lot of us who are not now and never have been Roman Catholic.