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This is the final volume in Carl G. Vaught’s groundbreaking trilogy reappraising Augustine’s Confessions, a cornerstone of Western philosophy and one of the most influential works in the Christian tradition. Vaught offers a new interpretation of the philosopher as less Neoplatonic and more distinctively Christian than most interpreters have thought. In this book, he focuses on the most philosophical section of the Confessions and on how it relates to the previous, more autobiographical sections. A companion to the previous two volumes, which dealt with Books I–IX, this book can be read either in sequence with or independently of the others. Books X–XIII of the Confessions begin after Augustine has become Bishop of Hippo and they are separated by more than ten years from the episodes recorded in the previous nine books of the text. This establishes the narrative in the present and speaks to the “believing sons of men.” Augustine explores how memory, time, and creation make the journey toward God and the encounter with God possible. Vaught analyzes these conditions in order to unlock Augustine’s solutions to familiar philosophical and theological problems. He also tackles the frequently discussed problem of the alleged disconnection between the earlier books and the last four books by showing how Augustine binds experience and reflection together.
Many Nuns for Many Wests, 1850-1920
Roman Catholic sisters first traveled to the American West as providers of social services, education, and medical assistance. In Across God’s Frontiers, Anne M. Butler traces the ways in which sisters challenged and reconfigured contemporary ideas about women, work, religion, and the West; moreover, she demonstrates how religious life became a vehicle for increasing women’s agency and power.
The Convent Philosophy of Port-Royal
In seventeenth-century France, southwest of Paris, the Port-Royal convent became the center of the Jansenist movement and of its adherents’ resistance to church and throne. Three abbesses from the Arnauld family spearheaded this resistance: Mère Angélique Arnauld (1591-1661), Mère Agnès Arnauld (1593-1671), and Mère Angélique de Saint-Jean Arnauld d'Andilly (1624-1684). Although many books have been written about the tragic lives of the Port-Royal nuns, John J. Conley provides the first study of the radical Augustinian philosophy developed by these remarkable abbesses during decades of persecution by Louis XIV and his ecclesiastical allies. Openly declaring themselves “disciples of Saint Augustine,” the Arnauld abbesses forged a philosophy notable for its original treatment of the attributes that stressed divine otherness; a moral philosophy of virtue rooted in grace; and a politics that supported the right of women to resist abuses of religious and civil authority. Although their philosophy was clearly influenced by their male Jansenist mentors, the nuns’ radical Augustinianism maintains its own gendered originality: their philosophy of virtue is closely tied to practices valued in a contemplative convent setting; their defense of freedom of conscience is linked to their defense of women’s right to exercise religious authority; and their negative theology, focused on divine incomprehensibility, depicts a God beyond sexual difference. A fascinating account that includes translations ranging from abbatial conferences to private letters, Adoration and Annihilation is an important chronicle of the doctrinal battles of early modern Catholicism.
Fiestas in Central Mexico
Mexico is famous for spectacular fiestas that embody its heart and soul. An expression of the cult of the saint, patron saint fiestas are the centerpiece of Mexican popular religion and of great importance to the lives and cultures of people and communities. These fiestas have their own language, objects, belief systems, and practices. They link Mexico’s past and present, its indigenous and European populations, and its local and global relations. This work provides a comprehensive study of two intimately linked patron saint fiestas in the state of Guanajuato, near San Miguel de Allende—the fiesta of the village of Cruz del Palmar and that of the town of San Luis de la Paz. These two fiestas are related to one another in very special ways involving both religious practices and their respective pre-Hispanic origins. A mixture of secular and sacred, patron saint fiestas are multi-day affairs that include many events, ritual specialists, and performers, with the participation of the entire community. Fiestas take place in order to honor the saints, and they are the occasion for religious ceremonies, processions, musical performances, dances, and dance dramas. They feature spectacular costumes, enormous puppets, masked and cross-dressed individuals, dazzling fireworks, rodeos, food stands, competitions, and public dances. By encompassing all of these events and performances, this work displays the essence of Mexico, a lens through which this country’s complex history, religion, ethnic mix, traditions, and magic can be viewed.
Confronting an Identity Problem
This is a timely book on the contemporary African priesthood. Just as in other parts of the globe, the African priesthood currently faces a serious crisis of identity. The unfolding crisis puts stress on the clerics and augments the tension with lay people. The model of the Church-as-Family of God opted for by the Church in Africa is a new milestone that puts pressure on Catholic priests to define their role in the new context. The identity and image of priests need to be specified as lay ministries render the Church active from the grassroots. Reflection about the ministry of the clergy in Africa is urgent, and indeed it is an important aspect of enculturation. Nyenyembe demonstrates an admirable capacity to situate his rich theological reflections in an African context.
Print Culture, Censorship, and Modernity in Twentieth-Century America
Until the close of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the stance of the Roman Catholic Church toward the social, cultural, economic, and political developments of the twentieth century was largely antagonistic. Naturally opposed to secularization, skeptical of capitalist markets indifferent to questions of justice, confused and appalled by new forms of high and low culture, and resistant to the social and economic freedom of women—in all of these ways the Catholic Church set itself up as a thoroughly anti-modern institution. Yet, in and through the period from World War I to Vatican II, the Church did engage with, react to, and even accommodate various aspects of modernity. In All Good Books Are Catholic Books, Una M. Cadegan shows how the Church’s official position on literary culture developed over this crucial period.
The Catholic Church in the United States maintained an Index of Prohibited Books and the National Legion of Decency (founded in 1933) lobbied Hollywood to edit or ban movies, pulp magazines, and comic books that were morally suspect. These regulations posed an obstacle for the self-understanding of Catholic American readers, writers, and scholars. But as Cadegan finds, Catholics developed a rationale by which they could both respect the laws of the Church as it sought to protect the integrity of doctrine and also engage the culture of artistic and commercial freedom in which they operated as Americans. Catholic literary figures including Flannery O’Connor and Thomas Merton are important to Cadegan’s argument, particularly as their careers and the reception of their work demonstrate shifts in the relationship between Catholicism and literary culture. Cadegan trains her attention on American critics, editors, and university professors and administrators who mediated the relationship among the Church, parishioners, and the culture at large.
Vol. 122 (2011) through current issue
In 1887 the American Catholic Historical Society began publication of a quarterly journal, the Records. In 1913, the Records was merged with American Catholic Historical Researches, a publication founded by Dr. A. A. Lambing of Scottsdale, Pennsylvania and issued by Martin I.J. Griffin. Since 1999, the journal, renamed American Catholic Studies has been published out of Villanova University. American Catholic Studies is the oldest, continuously published catholic scholarly journal in the United States.
American Catholic Studies is a double-blind refereed journal that publishes high quality studies and book reviews for academics, opinion leaders, and informed general readers in the fields of U.S. Roman Catholic history, sociology, theology, architecture, art, cinema, music, popular movements, and related areas.
How Politicians, the Press, the Klan, and Religious Leaders Imagined an Enemy, 1910–1960
The masthead of the Liberator, an anti-Catholic newspaper published in Magnolia, Arkansas, displayed from 1912 to 1915 an image of the Whore of Babylon. She was an immoral woman sitting on a seven-headed beast, holding a golden cup “full of her abominations,” and intended to represent the Catholic Church.
Propaganda of this type was common during a nationwide surge in antipathy to Catholicism in the early twentieth century. This hostility was especially intense in largely Protestant Arkansas, where for example a 1915 law required the inspection of convents to ensure that priests could not keep nuns as sexual slaves.
Later in the decade, anti-Catholic prejudice attached itself to the campaign against liquor, and when the United States went to war in 1917, suspicion arose against German speakers—most of whom, in Arkansas, were Roman Catholics.
In the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan portrayed Catholics as “inauthentic” Americans and claimed that the Roman church was trying to take over the country’s public schools, institutions, and the government itself. In 1928 a Methodist senator from Arkansas, Joe T. Robinson, was chosen as the running mate to balance the ticket in the presidential campaign of Al Smith, a Catholic, which brought further attention.
Although public expressions of anti-Catholicism eventually lessened, prejudice was once again visible with the 1960 presidential campaign, won by John F. Kennedy.Anti-Catholicism in Arkansas illustrates how the dominant Protestant majority portrayed Catholics as a feared or despised “other,” a phenomenon that was particularly strong in Arkansas.
A Religious-Ethical Inquiry
All of us want to be happy and live well. Sometimes intense emotions affect our happinessùand, 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
The Catholic Debate
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 a