The Church Confronts Modernity is provocative, well-written, and deserves to be read.
The Church Confronts Modernity: Catholic Intellectuals and the Progressive Eraby Thomas E. Woods Jr.
Woods (history, State U. of New York-Suffolk Community College) has written extensively about the Catholic Church, and here explores how American Catholics at the beginning of the 20th century thought about and dealt with radical changes in society. He considers the crucial questions of labor and social justice, but also looks more broadly at important intellectual developments of the Progressive Era and the church's response to each. The study is revised from his doctoral dissertation for Columbia University. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
It is written with great clarity and fluency, making the complex philosophical and theological concepts approachable... This is a very important book which will be indispensable reading for scholars interested in the history of religion.
It moves briskly and gracefully through the thorny issues confronting the Church during the first two decades of the 20th century... An effective and detailed examination of Catholic intellectual life during a little studied period.
This book is well worth reading. It is well written, well researched, and the thesis put forth is well argued.
Provocative... Woods thoughtful study casts new light on the Catholic response to the culture of progressivism.
Well written... Worthwhile contributions to the literature.
This book will be a valuable resource...Highly recommended.
Margaret Mary Reher
Thomas G. Guarino
Patrick W. Carey
Michael J. Lacey
Precociously wise... magnificent.
A lucid and accessible book
P. J. Hayes
What People are saying about this
Though he is writing about the Progressive Era, Thomas Woods deals with issues that are still both timely and relevant. He explores how American Catholics redefined the limits of faith and doctrine in an age of social and intellectual transformation, a time when cherished orthodoxies seemed ever more at odds with secular assumptions. The Church Confronts Modernity is thoughtful, well-written and rewarding.
The implications of the thesis put forth by Thomas E. Woods, Jr., are potentially revolutionary for the academy, the Catholic Church, and American society. The author makes a compelling case that the Catholic intellectual critique of the scholarship of the progressive era was characterized not only by theological commitment but by philosophical sophistication and a selective and well thought out openness to whatever was useful in secular educational approaches. Furthermore, he argues that this substantial critique laid the seeds for a period of outstanding Catholic academic accomplishments from the 1920s through the 1950s. Thus does Woods demolish simultaneously the smug progressive secular charge that the idea of a "Catholic intellectual" represented a contradiction in terms and the self-serving claim made by contemporary masochistic American Catholic progressives that pre-conciliar Catholic scholarship in the United States represented an intellectual wasteland. The Church Confronts Modernity might actually serve to jump start, once again, the Catholic intellectual attempt to "restore all things in Christ" at a time when more and more thoughtful citizens are starting to seriously question the fruits of secular modernity.
A brilliant study, The Church Confronts Modernity illumines a period of recent American history too long neglected by first-rate scholars. We all stand indebted to Professor Woods' deep and insightful analysis of Catholic thought in what was the increasingly hostile milieu of the Progressive Era. Indispensable!
Meet the Author
Thomas E. Woods Jr. is senior fellow in American history at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama.
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