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Religion and Justice
Speaking for the growing community of Latina feminist theologians, the editors of this volume write, "With the emergence and growth of the feminist theologies of liberation, we no longer wait for others to define or validate our experience of life and faith. . . . We want to express in our own words our plural ways of experiencing God and our plural ways of living our faith. And these ways have a liberative tone." With twelve original essays by emerging and established Latina feminist theologians, this first-of-its-kind volume adds the perspectives, realities, struggles, and spiritualities of U.S. Latinas to the larger feminist theological discourse. The editors have gathered writings from both Roman Catholics and Protestants and from various Latino/a communities. The writers address a wide array of theological concerns: popular religion, denominational presence and attraction, methodology, lived experience, analysis of nationhood, and interpretations of life lived on a border that is not only geographic but also racial, gendered, linguistic, and religious.
Selected Letters of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pope Pius II)
The Roman Catholic Church in Latin America faces significant and unprecedented challenges. Most prominent among them are secularization, globalizing cultural trends, intensifying religious competition, and pluralism of many kinds within what were once hegemonic Catholic societies. The substantial and original essays in this volume assess the ways in which the Catholic Church in Latin America is dealing with these political, religious, and social changes. Most importantly, they explore how democracy has changed the Catholic Church and, in turn, how religious changes have influenced democratic politics in Latin America. Drawing on the experiences of several countries to illustrate broad themes and explain divergent religious responses to common challenges, the contributors advance the notion that the Catholic Church's effectiveness in the public sphere and even its long-term viability as a religious institution depend on the nature and extent of the relationship between the hierarchy and the faithful. The essays address the context of pluralist challenges, the ideational, institutional, and policy responses of the Catholic hierarchy, and the nature of both religious beliefs and democratic values at the individual level in Latin America today.
Income, Assets, and the Catholic Social Justice Tradition
In Rethinking Poverty, James P. Bailey argues that most contemporary policies aimed at reducing poverty in the United States are flawed because they focus solely on insufficient income. Bailey argues that traditional policies such as minimum wage laws, food stamps, housing subsidies, earned income tax credits, and other forms of cash and non-cash income supports need to be complemented by efforts that enable the poor to save and accumulate assets. Drawing on Michael Sherraden’s work on asset building and scholarship by Melvin Oliver, Thomas Shapiro, and Dalton Conley on asset discrimination, Bailey presents us with a novel and promising way forward to combat persistent and morally unacceptable poverty in the United States and around the world. Rethinking Poverty makes use of a significant body of Catholic social teachings in its argument for an asset development strategy to reduce poverty. These Catholic teachings include, among others, principles of human dignity, the social nature of the person, the common good, and the preferential option for the poor. These principles and the related social analyses have not yet been brought to bear on the idea of asset-building for the poor by those working within the Catholic social justice tradition. This book redresses this shortcoming, and further, claims that a Catholic moral argument for asset-building for the poor can be complemented and enriched by Martha Nussbaum’s “capabilities approach.” This book will affect current debates and practical ways to reduce poverty, as well as the future direction of Catholic social teaching.
Transnational Religious Communities and the Making of US Foreign Policy
Many Catholic priests, nuns, and brothers in the United States take a strong interest in US policies that affect their "brothers and sisters" abroad. In fact, when the policies of their native government pose significant dangers to their people internationally, these US citizens engage actively in a variety of political processes in order to protect and advance the interests of the transnational religious communities to which they belong. In this provocative examination of the place of religion in world politics, Timothy A. Byrnes focuses on three Catholic communities -- Jesuit, Maryknoll, and Benedictine -- and how they seek to shape US policy in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Based on years of fieldwork and on-the-ground interviews, Reverse Mission details the transnational bonds that drive the political activities of these Catholic orders.
This fascinating book reveals how the men and women of these orders became politically active in complex and sometimes controversial causes and how, ultimately, they exert a unique influence on foreign policy that is derived from their communal loyalties rather than any ethnic or national origin.
Much has been made of the dramatic rise of Protestantism in Latin America. Many view this as a sign that Catholicism’s primacy in the region is at last beginning to wane. Overlooked by journalists and scholars has been the parallel growth of Charismatic, or Pentecostal, Catholicism in the region. Edward Cleary offers the first comprehensive treatment of this movement, revealing its importance to the Catholic Church as well as the people of Latin America.
Catholic Charismatics have grown worldwide to several hundred million, among whom Latin Americans number approximately 73 million participants. These individuals are helping the church become more extroverted by drawing many into evangelizing and mission work. The movement has rapidly acquired an indigenous Latin American character and is now returning to the United States through migration and is affecting Catholicism in the United States.
Cleary has witnessed firsthand the birth and maturing of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Latin America as both a social scientist and a Dominican missionary. Drawing upon important findings of Latin American scholars and researchers, he explores and analyzes the origins of the most important Catholic movement in Latin America and its notable expansion to all countries of the region, bringing with it unusual vitality and notable controversy about its practices.
Raïssa Maritain, the Allure of Suffering, and the French Catholic Revival (1905-1944)
In early twentieth-century France, a vast network of artists, writers, and religious seekers were drawn to Roman Catholicism’s elaborate panoply of symbols centered on suffering. A preoccupation with affliction dominated the movement now known as the French Catholic revival, or the renouveau catholique—considered a watershed in the history of the modern Catholic Church and the “golden age” of French Catholicism. In Sacred Dread, Brenna Moore examines the life and writings of Raïssa Maritain (1883-1960), one of the few women to contribute to this intellectual movement. Moore explores the reasons why Maritain, a nonpracticing Jew, was attracted to this suffering-centered theological imagination and how she and other advocates transformed it in the wake of the Holocaust. Sacred Dread offers readers a new understanding of a radical Catholic piety that was embraced by a wide range of pre-war intellectuals. By combining late-modern French intellectual and cultural history, Catholic theology, biography, and an analysis of Maritain’s published and unpublished writings, Moore also identifies two major factors in this Catholic revival—gender and Judaism—that have not received adequate attention. Discourses of femininity and Judaism were central to the French Catholic articulation and idealization of suffering. Moore argues that Maritain, as a Jewish convert and one of the few women in this intellectual community, embodied symbolic associations of suffering, holiness, women, and Jews; indeed, for her husband, godfather, confessors, friends, and godchildren, Raïssa Maritain was herself the articulation of this abject ideal. Caught as she was in a web of meaning, Raïssa Maritain was an intellectual whose legacy deepens but also subverts the centrality of femininity and Judaism in French Catholic elaborations of suffering.
Gender, Power, and Ethics in Contemporary Catholicism
"A wonderful book that gives us a fresh angle of vision on modern Roman Catholic teaching about sex, marriage, gender relationships, and reproduction. After reading Sexing the Church, few will doubt the extent to which Catholic teaching about the law of nature owes no small debt to history and culture." -- Richard B. Miller, Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions
"...Catholic attitudes about women in the priesthood... display [a] contradiction between egalitarian and subordinationist views.... Women are denied access to the 'eucharistic' priesthood because allowing them in would upset the redemptive order. Why is it, then, that imagery from the created order (women as mothers, brides, virgins) is often used to describe the redemptive 'mystery' that connects Christ with the Church? Why is the Church 'sexed' female?... This sexing of the Church is more than just an example of how gender and order work in Catholic morality; it also reveals tensions in the complex patterns of Catholic reasoning about marriage, reproduction, and church authority. In a surprising way, it challenges the order enforced by the Catholic ethics of marriage and reproduction." -- from Chapter One
The regulation of human sexuality in contemporary Catholicism, a topic that monopolizes public conversation about the Catholic Church, is also a central concern of Catholic theological discussions of religious ethics. Aline H. Kalbian traces the history of the connection between moral theology and sexual ethics as it applies to the concern for order in official teachings on marriage, reproduction, and sex. She explores order as it is reflected in the theology of marriage, the 20th-century challenge to that order in the debates on contraception and assisted reproduction, and the way attitudes about gender in Catholicism connect theological and moral order with ecclesiastical order.
A Theological Introduction
Two principles capture the essence of the Catholic tradition on sexual ethics: that each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life, and that any human genital act must occur within the framework of marriage. In the Catholic tradition, moral sexual activity is institutionalized within the confines of marriage and procreation, and sexual morality is marital morality.
But theologians Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler contend that there is a disconnect between many of the Church's absolute sexual norms and other theological and intellectual developments explicitly recognized and endorsed in the Catholic tradition, especially since the Second Vatican Council. These developments include the shift from a primary static worldview to a historically conscious worldview, one that recognizes reality as dynamic, evolving, changing, and particular. By employing such a historically conscious worldview, alternative claims about the moral legitimacy of controversial topics such as contraception, artificial reproduction, and homosexual marriage can faithfully emerge within a Catholic context. Convinced of the central role that love, desire, and fertility play in a human life, and also in the life of Christian discipleship, the authors propose an understanding of sexuality that leads to the enhancement of human sexual relationships and flourishing.
This comprehensive introduction to Catholic sexual ethics -- complete with thought-provoking study questions at the end of each chapter -- will be sure to stimulate dialogue about sexual morality between Catholic laity, theologians, and the hierarchy. Anyone seeking a credible and informed Catholic sexual ethic will welcome this potentially revolutionary book.
Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology
Two principles capture the essence of the official Catholic position on the morality of sexuality: first, that any human genital act must occur within the framework of heterosexual marriage; second, each and every marriage act must remain open to the tran