Catholicism and Liberalism: Contributions to American Public Policy

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Liberalism and Catholicism are two of the most important forces shaping the contemporary political culture of the United States. This book explores what is at stake as they encounter each other in new contexts today and what a fresh conversation between them promises for the future of American public life. It is based on the conviction that both traditions continue to have much to learn from each other and that both would contribute more constructively to the resolution of the problems facing the nation if they were to do so.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The essays are scholarly, thought provoking, and challenging....they prod the reader to rethink his or her assumptions and definitions carefully. This is an excellent compilation, a serious, positive, and, for many, persuasive contribution to the important discussion of America's public philosophy." American Historical Review

" impressive collection of essays that deal with two important forces shaping the contemporary political culture in the United States....A collaborative effort like this allows for informed diversity of opinions that cannot help but open a new level of constructive, intelligent dialogue within and without the American church." America

"...provides a needed historical perspective on a once adversarial relationship and could open venues for enlightenment and interaction." Publishers Weekly

"[T]here can be no question that anyone interested in Catholic social thought and its possible contribution to the forging of a public philosophy for contemporary America will find the essays by Peter Steinfels, Philip Gleason, Joesph A. Komonchak, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Louis Dupré, and Paul E. Sigmund, and Hollenbach's conclusion as well, worthwhile reading." Kenneth L. Grasso, First Things

"Catholicism and Liberalism offers a clear, well-reasoned approach. It deserves to be taken very seriously not only by students of American Catholicism, but especially in the broader public debate about the future of our society."—Harvard Divinity Bulletin

"All of the articles are sound, some profound, and collectively they complement and enrich the theme."—American Political Science Review

"This excellent collection of essays can well serve both as an introduction to the many questions and problems posed by the uneasy relationship between liberalism and Catholic thought, as well as a provocative springboard to salvaging the best each tradition has to offer for the benefit of our future society." Journal of Church and State

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The thrust of the learned papers gathered here, in the words of the editors, is to demonstrate ``how liberalism has been transforming Catholicism once again through the last half of our own century and how Catholicism might in turn contribute to a transformed liberal theory and practice.'' Douglass, a Georgetown University associate professor of government, and Hollenbach, a Boston College professor of theology, assemble a diverse collection of essays by such distinguished contributors as Peter Steinfels, Philip Gleason, David Tracy and Mary C. Segers which explore philosophical, theological and political issues through the prisms of both Catholicism and liberal secularism. A joint project of Woodstock Theological Center and the department of government of Georgetown University, this scholarly collation provides a needed historical perspective on a once adversarial relationship and could open venues for enlightenment and interaction. (Mar.)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction; Part I. Historical Conflicts and Developments: 1. The failed encounter: the Catholic Church and liberalism in the nineteenth century Peter Steinfels; 2. American Catholics and liberalism, 1789–1960 Philip Gleason; 3. Vatican II and the encounter between Catholicism and liberalism Joseph A. Komonchak; 4. Liberalism after the good times: the 'End of History' in historical perspective R. Bruce Douglass; Part II. New Encounters and Theoretical Reconstructions: 5. A communitarian reconstruction of human rights David Hollenbach; 6. Catholic social thought, the city, and liberal America Jean Bethke Elshtain; 7. The common good and the open society Louis Dupre; 8. Catholic classics in American liberal culture David Tracy; Part III. Practices and Institutions: 9. Catholicism and liberal democracy Paul E. Sigmund; 10. Feminism, liberalism, and Catholicism Mary C. Segers; 11. The family, liberalism, and Catholic social teaching Laura Gellot; 12. Rights of persons in the Church James Provost; Afterword: a community of freedom; Index.

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