The Catholic Ethic in American Society: An Exploration of Values

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Based on years of scholarly research, the Catholic Ethic in American Society reveals a Catholic ethic that parallels the more well-known Protestant ethic. Tropman presents an innovative analysis of the deeply ingrained attitudes Americans have about money and work and their view of people who have neither. In this book, Tropman offers a fresh perspective on the Protestant "achievement" ethic by contrasting it with the newly identified Catholic "sharing" ethic. He outlines the key features that distinguish the ...
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Overview

Based on years of scholarly research, the Catholic Ethic in American Society reveals a Catholic ethic that parallels the more well-known Protestant ethic. Tropman presents an innovative analysis of the deeply ingrained attitudes Americans have about money and work and their view of people who have neither. In this book, Tropman offers a fresh perspective on the Protestant "achievement" ethic by contrasting it with the newly identified Catholic "sharing" ethic. He outlines the key features that distinguish the Catholic ethic from its Protestant counterpart, including the perspectives of each ethic on the value of money and work, the importance of family and community, and the individual. The Protestant ethic - first articulated by sociologist Max Weber in the early 1900s - is rooted in the values of work, wealth, and achievement, whereas the Catholic ethic is firmly based on longstanding traditions and beliefs of sharing. Given the fundamental differences between the two ethics, the Catholic ethic has a stronger value base for providing assistance to others, especially the poor and the disadvantaged. Because of the Protestant ethic's emphasis on achievement and self-reliance, charitable acts become fraught with concern, worry, and hesitancy. Distinguishing between the poor who are worthy and those deemed unworthy becomes an essential part of the helping activity. The Catholic Ethic in American Society is a valuable work for sociologists, political scientists, social activists, religion scholars and students, and fundraisers of Catholic charitable organizations.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Tropman (social policy and nonprofit management, Univ. of Michigan Sch. of Social Work) investigates the existence of a Catholic ethic, parallel and distinct from Max Weber's well-known Protestant ethic. While the latter emphasizes work, wealth, and individual achievement, its Catholic counterpart is based traditionally and theologically on sharing, regardless of worthiness. Tropman studies the critical distinction historically and through official Catholic teachings; he focuses on attitudes toward work and money, mercy, family, community, charity, and perception of self and society. Despite some slips (John VI for Paul VI and Catholic Encyclopedia for New Catholic Encyclopedia), Tropman's work adds significantly to the small body of literature on the subject. (See also Michael Novak's The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, LJ 2/1/93.) Recommended for academic and public libraries.Anna Donnelly, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, N.Y.
Booknews
The author contrasts the Protestant orientation toward work, wealth, and achievement with the Catholic orientation toward sharing, noting that the value placed on sharing makes it easier for Catholics to provide help to others, particularly the poor and the disadvantaged. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787901233
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Series: Nonprofit Sector Ser.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
The Author
Introduction: Conflicting Values in American Society 1
Pt. 1 The Protestant and Catholic Ethics in Context 11
1 Religion as a Basis of Cultural Values: The Protestant and Catholic Ethics 13
2 A Closer Look at the Protestant Ethic 27
Pt. 2 Facets of the Catholic Ethic 45
3 Attitudes Toward Work and Money 49
4 An Emphasis on Family, Community, and Mercy 75
5 This World and the Next in the Catholic Ethic 101
Pt. 3 The Catholic Ethic and the Culture of Sharing 121
6 The Tradition of Sharing 125
7 The Institutional Church and Theology 147
Pt. 4 The Catholic Ethic and Society 163
8 Conceptions of Self and Society 165
9 Looking Ahead 181
References 205
Suggested Readings 215
Index 225
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