Religious traditions in the United States are characterized by ongoing tension between assimilation to the broader culture, as typified by mainline Protestant churches, and defiant rejection of cultural incursions, as witnessed by more sectarian movements such as Mormonism and Hassidism. However, legal theorist and Catholic theologian Cathleen Kaveny contends there is a third possibility—a culture of engagement—that accommodates and respects tradition. It also recognizes the need to interact with culture to remain relevant and to offer critiques of social, political, legal, and economic practices.
Kaveny suggests that rather than avoid the crisscross of the religious and secular spheres of life, we should use this conflict as an opportunity to come together and to encounter, challenge, contribute to, and correct one another. Focusing on five broad areas of interest—Law as a Teacher, Religious Liberty and Its Limits, Conversations about Culture, Conversations about Belief, and Cases and Controversies—Kaveny demonstrates how thoughtful and purposeful engagement can contribute to rich, constructive, and difficult discussions between moral and cultural traditions.
This provocative collection of Kaveny's articles from Commonweal magazine, substantially revised and updated from their initial publication, provides astonishing insight into a range of hot-button issues like abortion, assisted suicide, government-sponsored torture, contraception, the Ashley Treatment, capital punishment, and the role of religious faith in a pluralistic society. At turns masterful, insightful, and inspirational, A Culture of Engagement is a welcome reminder of what can be gained when a diversity of experiences and beliefs is brought to bear on American public life.
Elizabeth Foster examines how French imperialists and the Africans they ruled imagined the religious future of sub-Saharan Africa in the years just before and after decolonization. The story encompasses the transition to independence, Catholic contributions to black intellectual currents, and efforts to create an authentically “African” church.
Catholic Italy is a destination for migrants from Nigeria and Ghana, who bring their own form of Christianity—Pentecostalism, the most Protestant of Christian faiths. At the heart of Annalisa Butticci’s ethnography is a paradox. Believers on both sides are driven by a desire to find sensuous, material ways to make the divine visible and tangible.
Africans to Spanish America expands the diaspora framework to include Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Cuba, exploring the connections and disjunctures between colonial Latin America and the African diaspora in the Spanish empires. Analysis of the regions of Mexico and the Andes opens up new questions of community formation that incorporated Spanish legal strategies in secular and ecclesiastical institutions as well as articulations of multiple African identities. The volume is arranged around three sub-themes: identity construction in the Americas; the struggle by enslaved and free people to present themselves as civilized, Christian, and resistant to slavery; and issues of cultural exclusion and inclusion.
Contributors are Joan Cameron Bristol, Nancy E. van Deusen, Leo Garafalo, Herbert S. Klein, Charles Beatty Medina, Karen Y. Morrison, Rachel Sarah O'Toole, Frank "Trey" Proctor, and Michele B. Reid.
Amid the religious tumult of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, English scholars, preachers, and dramatists examined, debated, and refashioned tales concerning Pope Joan, a ninth-century woman who, as legend has it, cross-dressed her way to the papacy only to have her imposture exposed when she gave birth during a solemn procession.
The legend concerning a popess had first taken written form in the thirteenth century and for several hundred years was more or less accepted. The Reformation, however, polarized discussions of the legend, pitting Catholics, who denied the story’s veracity, against Protestants, who suspected a cover-up and instantly cited Joan as evidence of papal depravity. In this heated environment, writers reimagined Joan variously as a sorceress, a hermaphrodite, and even a noteworthy author.
The Afterlife of Pope Joan examines sixteenth- and seventeenth-century debates concerning the popess’s existence, uncovering the disputants’ historiographic methods, rules of evidence, rhetorical devices, and assumptions concerning what is probable and possible for women and transvestites. Author Craig Rustici then investigates the cultural significance of a series of notions advanced in those debates: the claim that Queen Elizabeth I was a popess in her own right, the charge that Joan penned a book of sorcery, and the curious hypothesis that the popess was not a disguised woman at all but rather a man who experienced a sort of spontaneous sex change.
The Afterlife of Pope Joan draws upon the discourses of religion, politics, natural philosophy, and imaginative literature, demonstrating how the popess functioned as a powerful rhetorical instrument and revealing anxieties and ambivalences about gender roles that persist even today.
Craig M. Rustici is Associate Professor of English at Hofstra University.
The French Catholic priest and biblical scholar Alfred Loisy (1857-1940) was at the heart of the Roman Catholic Modernist crisis in the early part of the twentieth century. He saw much of his work as an attempt to bring John Henry Newman’s notion of development of doctrine into the realm of Catholic biblical studies, and thereby transform Catholic theology. This volume situates Loisy’s better known works on the New Testament and theology in the context of his lesser known work in Assyriology and Old Testament studies. His early training in Assyriology taught Loisy a comparative historical approach to studying ancient texts, in addition to providing him the requisite training in ancient Near Eastern languages and literature. Loisy built upon this Assyriological foundation with his historical critical work in biblical studies, first in the Old Testament. In his biblical scholarship, Loisy combined the then current trends of historical biblical criticism with his more comparative approach. Prior to his excommunication in 1908, Loisy attempted in his more popular writings to defend the inclusion of historical biblical criticism in the repertoire of Catholic biblical interpretation. He saw this as an important step in reforming Catholic theology. The Modernist crisis set the stage for the major debates that would occur in the Catholic theological world for more than a century. The controversy over Modernism became one important conflict that helped pave the way for the Second Vatican Council. The issues raised during Loisy’s time, remain contested today. Examining how Loisy approached biblical studies helps readers better understand his overall work, and the place it played in the pivotal intellectual turmoil of his day.
Focusing on cemetery burials in late-eighteenth-century Mexico, Alone Before God provides a window onto the contested origins of modernity in Mexico. By investigating the religious and political debates surrounding the initiative to transfer the burials of prominent citizens from urban to suburban cemeteries, Pamela Voekel challenges the characterization of Catholicism in Mexico as an intractable and monolithic institution that had to be forcibly dragged into the modern world. Drawing on the archival research of wills, public documents, and other texts from late-colonial and early-republican Mexico, Voekel describes the marked scaling-down of the pomp and display that had characterized baroque Catholic burials and the various devices through which citizens sought to safeguard their souls in the afterlife. In lieu of these baroque practices, the new enlightened Catholics, claims Voekel, expressed a spiritually and hygienically motivated preference for extremely simple burial ceremonies, for burial outside the confines of the church building, and for leaving their earthly goods to charity. Claiming that these changes mirrored a larger shift from an external, corporate Catholicism to a more interior piety, she demonstrates how this new form of Catholicism helped to initiate a cultural and epistemic shift that placed the individual at the center of knowledge. Breaking with the traditional historiography to argue that Mexican liberalism had deeply religious roots, Alone Before God will be of interest to specialists in Latin American history, modernity, and religion.
Ambivalent Alliance convincingly defends several provocative insights into a key period in the history of French Catholicism. It investigates the strange marriage of convenience, from 1899 to 1939, between the French church and the ultra-rightist, chauvinist, monarchist, and anti-Semitic organization called the Acton Française, and raises many disturbing questions. Why did an increasingly international church find a narrowly patriotic group so appealing? How could it endorse a movement founded by an agnostic whose philosophy sanctioned violence and the persecution of Jews and othe “undesirables”?
The twentieth-century French church was still feeling the shock waves of the French Revolution, assaulted from without and torn from within regarding its role in politics. Challenging the views of prominent historians of the period, Arnal shows that between 1899 and 1939 Catholic leaders pursued a consistent strategy of political and social conservatism. Whereas many regarded the church's flirtations with social democracy and its occasional attempts to rally French Catholics behind constitutional politics as proof of its progressive character, Arnal sees a fundamentally reactionary continuity in church leadership. Pius XI did not condemn the Acton Française for its fascist ideology; he feared independence among Catholics more than the radical right.
Arnal's wide-ranging study brings a controversial new interpretation to the political and ecclesiastical history of the twentieth-century.
“Wall traces the nursing and management roles of nuns and brothers in church-related US health care institutions. This well-documented volume will be a useful addition for collections supporting academic programs in public health, hospital administration, bioethics, and divinity, and for comprehensive collections in the history of medicine. Recommended.” —Choice
“American Catholic Hospitals is fair, balanced, insightful, and intriguing. The story Wall tells—a story about a significant segment of the US health care system—is meticulously documented. Readers will find her study to be illuminating, even inspirational.” —Journal of the American Medical Association
“In American Catholic Hospitals, Barbra Mann Hall traces the ways Catholic hospitals have accommodated changes both within the church and in society over the last century. Her book is well researched and a fascinating read.” —Health Progress
“Wall presents a compelling and well-documented narrative of the dynamic transformation of Catholic hospitals in twentieth-century America. Drawing on records from Catholic congregations throughout the United States, she reveals an admirable perseverance of religious caregivers, demonstrated by their willingness to adapt to socioeconomic forces often inimical to charitable care.” —American Catholic Studies
“American Catholic Hospitals is meticulously researched and well written. Although it is certainly appropriate for both undergraduate and graduate students, general readers also will find it to be an excellent overview of the history of the changes that Catholic health-care institutions have undergone in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.” —Catholic Historical Review
“American Catholic Hospitals offers a tremendous amount of new material and refreshing perspectives on current health care system challenges in the United States.” —Sioban Nelson, Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto
“Wall provides solid scholarship and engaging insight into the historic and contemporary contributions of American Catholic hospitals and their ability to adapt and serve amid the changing landscapes of church and state, culture wars, and healthcare reforms of the 20th century.” —Carol K. Coburn, author of Spirited Lives: How Nuns Shaped Catholic Culture and American Life, 1836-1920
In the mid-twentieth century, American Catholic churches began to shed the ubiquitous spires, stained glass, and gargoyles of their European forebears, turning instead toward startling and more angular structures of steel, plate glass, and concrete. But how did an institution like the Catholic Church, so often seen as steeped in inflexible traditions, come to welcome this modernist trend?
Catherine R. Osborne’s innovative new book finds the answer: the alignment between postwar advancements in technology and design and evolutionary thought within the burgeoning American Catholic community. A new, visibly contemporary approach to design, church leaders thought, could lead to the rebirth of the church community of the future. As Osborne explains, the engineering breakthroughs that made modernist churches feasible themselves raised questions that were, for many Catholics, fundamentally theological. Couldn’t technological improvements engender worship spaces that better reflected God's presence in the contemporary world? Detailing the social, architectural, and theological movements that made modern churches possible, American Catholics and the Churches of Tomorrow breaks important new ground in the history of American Catholicism, and also presents new lines of thought for scholars attracted to modern architectural and urban history.
Sack Catholic University of America Press, 2019 Library of Congress BX4705.T39S23 2019 | Dewey Decimal 282.092
America’s Teilhard: Christ and Hope in the 1960s is a study of the reception of Teilhard in the United States during this period and contributes to an awareness of the thought of this important figure and the impact of his work. Additionally, it further develops an understanding of U.S. Catholicism in all its dimensions during these years, and provides clues as to how it has unfolded over the past several decades. Susan Sack argues that the manner and intensity of the reception of Teilhard’s thought happened as it did at this point in history because of the confluence of the then developing social milieu, the disintegration of the immigrant Catholic subculture, and the opening of the church to the world through Vatican II. Additionally, as these social and historical events unfolded within U.S. culture during these years, the way Teilhard was read, and the contributions which his thought provided changed. This book considers his work as a carrier at times for an almost Americanist emphasis upon progress, energy and hope; in other years his teleological understanding of the value of suffering moves to center. Additionally, the stories of numerous persons – scientists, theologians, politicians, and scholars – who became involved in the American Teilhardian effort are detailed.
Analogies of Transcendence
Stephen M. Fields Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX1795.N36F54 2016 | Dewey Decimal 233.5
The problem of nature and grace lies at the heart of Christian theology. No dimension of divine revelation can be addressed without implicitly drawing reference to this issue.Analogies of Transcendence focuses on the central role that the analogies of being and faith play in developing a solution to the problem. These link God, as self-manifesting transcendence, to the human person as both fallen and justified, and to the material cosmos. Although the proposed solution draws on the work of Maréchal, de Lubac, Balthasar, and Rahner, it criticizes their approach for its underdeveloped analogies that diminish nature in grace's engagement with it. In redressing this weakness, Fr. Fields adapts its solution to the intellectual struggle of our time. This volume examines the origins and structure of modernity, which, it asserts, has not been superseded and is therefore critical of'postmodernism,' as well as of some ambiguous legacies of Thomism.
Angels and Demons
Serge-Thomas Bonino Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BT966.3.B6613 2016 | Dewey Decimal 235
Angels occupy a significant space in contemporary popular spirituality. Yet, today more than ever, the belief in the existence of intermediary spirits between the human and divine realms needs to be evangelized and Christianized. Angels and Demons offers a detailed synthesis of the givens of the Christian tradition concerning the angels and demons, as systematized in its essential principles by St. Thomas Aquinas. Certainly, the doctrine of angels and demons is not at the heart of Christian faith, but its place is far from negligible. On the one hand, as part of faith seeking understanding, angelology has been and can continue to be a source of enrichment for philosophy. Thus, reflection on the ontological constitution of the angel, on the modes of angelic knowledge, and on the nature of the sin of Satan can engage and shed light on the most fundamental areas of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. On the other hand, angelology, insofar as it is inseparable from the ensemble of the Christian mystery (from the doctrine of creation to the Christian understanding of the spiritual life), can be envisioned from an original and fruitful perspective.
Pope John Paul's Theology of the Body catecheses has garnered tremendous popularity in theological and catechetical circles. Students of the Theology of the Body have generally interpreted it as innovative not only in its presentation of the Church's teaching on marriage and sexuality, but also as radically advancing that teaching. Aquinas and the Theology of the Body offers a somewhat different interpretation. Fr. Thomas Petri argues that the philosophy and theology of Thomas Aquinas substantially contributed to John Paul's intellectual formation, which he never abandoned. A correct interpretation of the Theology of the Body requires, therefore, a thorough understanding of Thomistic anthropology and theology, which has been mostly lacking in commentaries on the pope's important contributions on the subject of marriage and sexuality.
All of us want to be happy and live well. Sometimes intense emotions affect our happiness—and, in turn, our moral lives. Our emotions can have a significant impact on our perceptions of reality, the choices we make, and the ways in which we interact with others. Can we, as moral agents, have an effect on our emotions? Do we have any choice when it comes to our emotions?
In Aquinas on the Emotions, Diana Fritz Cates shows how emotions are composed as embodied mental states. She identifies various factors, including religious beliefs, intuitions, images, and questions that can affect the formation and the course of a person's emotions. She attends to the appetitive as well as the cognitive dimension of emotion, both of which Aquinas interprets with flexibility. The result is a powerful study of Aquinas that is also a resource for readers who want to understand and cultivate the emotional dimension of their lives.
Aquinas on Transubstantiation
Reinhard Hutter Catholic University of America Press, 2019 Library of Congress BX2220.H88 2019 | Dewey Decimal 234.163
Aquinas on Transubstantiation treats one of the most frequently mis-understood and mis-represented teachings of Thomas Aquinas—Eucharistic transubstantiation. The study interprets Aquinas’s teaching as an exercise of “holy teaching” (sacra doctrina) that intends to show theologically and back up philosophically the simple yet profound thesis that “transubstantiation” affirms nothing but the truth of Christ’s words at the Last Supper—“This is my body,” “This is my blood.” Yet in order to achieve a contemporary ressourcement of this simple yet profound truth, it is necessary to probe the depths of Thomas Aquinas’s philosophical interpretation of it. For Thomas Aquinas, in regarding the truth of Eucharistic conversion, it is faith that preserves the human intellect from missing or dismissing the mystery announced in Christ’s words. Faith, however, is not intellectually blind, a faith that, as is often erroneously held, is commanded by arbitrary divine dictates to which the will submits in blind obedience. Rather, Aquinas takes faith is sustained, but not constituted, by an intellectual contemplation of the proposed mystery of faith, by faith seeking understanding. Thomas Aquinas unfolds this exercise of understanding guided by faith in the medium of a metaphysical contemplation that affords a profound intellectual appreciation of this central mystery of faith—precisely as mystery. Thomas’s metaphysical contemplation of Eucharistic conversion gestures toward the blinding light of superintelligibility, experienced as the unique darkness that surrounds this sublime mystery of faith. A ressourcement in Thomas Aquinas’s doctrine of transubstantiation also affords an renewed appreciation of the Church’s affirmation of transubstantiation as the most apt term for the interpretation of the mystery of Eucharistic conversion and a greater precision of what is centrally at stake in this mystery in the ongoing ecumenical conversation of this most central Christian teaching. A doctrinally sound, ecumenically informed, and philosophically reflected contemporary Catholic theology cannot afford to ignore or dismiss Aquinas’s surpassing account of Eucharistic conversion.
During his lifetime, Archbishop Oscar Romero chose to live the Christian Gospel in a radical way, defending, supporting, and serving the poor, and confronting the oppressive and murderous violence of the Salvadoran dictatorship. As a result, in March 1980, while celebrating Mass in a small chapel in El Salvador, he was assassinated.
With Archbishop Oscar Romero, Damian Zynda offers a compelling examination of the bishop’s eventful life. Zynda delves into the psychological and spiritual depths of Romero’s faith, tracing its progression from age thirteen up to the episcopacy and his prophetic stand against the government.
During the past few decades, high-profile cases like that of Terry Schiavo have fueled the public debate over forgoing or withdrawing artificial nutrition and hydration from patients in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). These cases, whether involving adults or young children, have forced many to begin thinking in a measured and careful way about the moral legitimacy of allowing patients to die. Can families forgo or withdraw artificial hydration and nutrition from their loved ones when no hope of recovery seems possible?
Many Catholics know that Catholic moral theology has formulated a well-developed and well-reasoned position on this and other end-of-life issues, one that distinguishes between "ordinary" and "extraordinary" treatment. But recent events have caused uncertainty and confusion and even acrimony among the faithful. In his 2004 allocution, Pope John Paul II proposed that artificial nutrition and hydration is a form of basic care, thus suggesting that the provision of such care to patients neurologically incapable of feeding themselves should be considered a moral obligation. The pope's address, which seemed to have offered a new development to decades of Catholic health care ethics, sparked a contentious debate among the faithful over how best to treat permanently unconscious patients within the tenets of Catholic morality.
In this comprehensive and balanced volume, Ronald Hamel and James Walter present twenty-one essays and articles, contributed by physicians, clergy, theologians, and ethicists, to reflect the spectrum of perspectives on the issues that define the Catholic debate. Organized into six parts, each with its own introduction, the essays offer clinical information on PVS and feeding tubes; discussions on the Catholic moral tradition and how it might be changing; ecclesiastical and pastoral statements on forgoing or withdrawing nutrition and hydration; theological and ethical analyses on the issue; commentary on Pope John Paul II's 2004 allocution; and the theological commentary, court decisions, and public policy resulting from the Clarence Herbert and Claire Conroy legal cases.
A valuable resource for students and scholars, this teachable volume invites theological dialogue and ethical discussion on one of the most contested issues in the church today.
We have books that contain collected essays, verse, and humor. What we see less often are books that contain collected interviews on various topics. Interviews have a certain outside discipline about them. The one interviewed responds to a question someone else asks of him. Often the questions are unexpected, sometimes annoying. Answers have a freshness to them. They can be more personal, frank.
The responses in At a Breezy Time of Day are occasioned when someone writes or phones with a request for an interview. There may be a common theme but often side questions come up. We are curious about what someone has to say – about sports, about God, about Plato, about education, about books, about just about anything. Usually central questions occur. The same question can be answered in different ways. We often have more to say on a given topic than we do say on our first being asked about it.
These interviews appeared in various on-line and printed sources. Having them collected in one text makes the interview form itself seem more substantial. Interviews too often seem to be passing, ephemeral things, but often we want to hold on to them. There is something more existential about them. Yet there is also something more lightsome about them also. The truth of things seems more bearable when it is spoken, when it has a human voice.
So, as the title of this collection intimates, we begin with the very first interview in the Garden of Eden. We touch many places and issues. The interview always has somewhere even in its written form the touch of the human voice. The one who interviews invites us to speak, to tell us what we hold, why we hold it. Interviews are themselves part of that engagement in conversation that defines our kind in its search for a full knowledge of what is.
We know that when we have said the last word, much remains to be said. We can rejoice both in what we know, and in what we know that we do not know. I believe it was Socrates who, in an earlier form of interview at the end of The Apology, alerted us to be aware of what we know and to await the many other interviews that we hope to carry on with so many others of our kind in the Isles of the Blessed.
In 1790, two events marked important points in the development of two young American institutions—Congress decided that the new nation's seat of government would be on the banks of the Potomac, and John Carroll of Maryland was consecrated as America's first Catholic bishop. This coincidence of events signalled the unexpectedly important role that Maryland's Catholics, many of them by then fifth- and sixth-generation Americans, were to play in the growth and early government of the national capital. In this book, William W. Warner explores how Maryland's Catholics drew upon their long-standing traditions—advocacy of separation of church and state, a sense of civic duty, and a determination "to live at peace with all their neighbors," in Bishop Carroll's phrase—to take a leading role in the early government, financing, and building of the new capital.
Beginning with brief histories of the area's first Catholic churches and the establishment of Georgetown College, At Peace with All Their Neighbors explains the many reasons behind the Protestant majority's acceptance of Catholicism in the national capital in an age often marked by religious intolerance. Shortly after the capital moved from Philadelphia in 1800, Catholics held the principal positions in the city government and were also major landowners, property investors, and bankers. In the decade before the 1844 riots over religious education erupted in Philadelphia, the municipal government of Georgetown gave public funds for a Catholic school and Congress granted land in Washington for a Catholic orphanage.
The book closes with a remarkable account of how the Washington community, Protestants and Catholics alike, withstood the concentrated efforts of the virulently anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic American nativists and the Know-Nothing Party in the last two decades before the Civil War.
This chronicle of Washington's Catholic community and its major contributions to the growth of the nations's capital will be of value for everyone interested in the history of Washington, D.C., Catholic history, and the history of religious toleration in America.
Unn Falkeid considers the work of six fourteenth-century writers who waged literary war against the Avignon papacy’s increasing claims of supremacy over secular rulers—a conflict that engaged contemporary critics from every corner of Europe. She illuminates arguments put forth by Dante, Petrarch, William of Ockham, Catherine of Siena, and others.