But Bovee's evidence suggests that the NCRLC did not assimilate so much to the United States as a whole as to a particular wing of U.
Bovee argues that the NCRLC enabled rural Catholics to see themselves as "a social group with a unique value and a special message to give to the rest of society" (362), but he provides little evidence that the majority of rural Catholics either knew about or were significantly influenced by the NCRLC.
The divergence between the NCRLC and the constituency it ostensibly represented may explain why it perhaps achieved its most significant victories during the early years.
The fact that the book is exhaustively researched and yet cannot explain the divergence between the NCRLC and the practices and attitudes of ordinary rural Catholics suggests that there is much social history yet to be done.
NCRLC activities fall into three categories - education, advocacy and spirituality - and some overlap categories.
The NCRLC offers, for instance, Theology of Land conferences, developed in conjunction with St.
Recently the NCRLC sent a survey to nural life directors and advocates throughout the nation, asking about issues they care about, the work they do, their needs, what they and NCRLC could offer each other.
For those close to despair, however, NCRLC is already responding in a spiritual way through the Rural Parish Service, a prayer and worship resource it revived in 1992 after a lapse of 20 years.
For instance, the NCRLC this fall is hosting a regional meeting at which staff and people from various dioceses can share information and strategies about influencing legislatures.
The NCRLC has asked every diocese to name a NCRLC liaison person, and 141 have done so.
NCRLC staff rarely testify, but they provide information that is funneled to law-makers when bishops testify at the national level or when Catholic conference, parish and diocesan representatives lobby their state and local official& NCRLC is the only faith group that belongs to the Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, a coalition of 30 to 40 organizations that includes "some of the smartest people I know of working on rural issues," Fitzgerald said.
This year too, the NCRLC issued its NAFTA statement, the product of cooperation between staff and the NCRLC's 17-member, nationally representative board of directors as well as outside reviewers.