Xavier Magazine

Making History

Academic Vice President Roger Fortin now can add the title historical author to his growing list of credentials. This fall he published his second book, Faith and Action: A History of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, 1821-1996, a 400-page retelling of the Church’s first 175 years.

“I’m a fan of the role religion has played in the development of U.S. society,” says Fortin, “and I realize how the archdiocese has played a very important role in the shaping of the Catholic church in the U.S. A lot of Catholics immigrated here and the church leaders became a powerful voice in the American church.”

Fortin, a history professor whose first work was a fictional novel, was given unfettered access to the Archdiocese’s archives by Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, who decided in 1996 that a new history of the church was warranted.

A secular publishing house was chosen because Pilarczyk “wanted it subjected to the same careful scrutiny as a historical writing about any moment in history,” says Fortin, who finished the book last year after four and a half years of research and writing. And if that’s not enough, he’s already back at work on a third book—a history of the University.

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