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Moral Choice Cover

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Moral Choice

A Christian View of Ethics

by Dolores L. Christie

This survey text for Christian ethics through a Catholic lens traces the sources and traditions of contemporary ethical principles, rules, and norms. It uses narrative in reaching out to students who seek to understand themselves as they face ethical decisions. Stories are employed to reflect one's own life and its meaning, as well as to prompt moral decision-making.

The book gives full treatment to criteria needed for ethical decision-making that students use in evaluating a series of contemporary issues, including abortion, end of life, torture, and others. The book includes numerous pedagogic features, including boxes, questions, key terms, suggested readings, and a glossary.

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The Mystery of the Rosary

Marian Devotion and the Reinvention of Catholicism

Nathan Mitchell

Ever since its appearance in Europe five centuries ago, the rosary has been a widespread, highly visible devotion among Roman Catholics. Its popularity has persisted despite centuries of often seismic social upheaval, cultural change, and institutional reform. In form, the rosary consists of a ritually repeated sequence of prayers accompanied by meditations on episodes in the lives of Christ and Mary. As a devotional object of round beads strung on cord or wire, the rosary has changed very little since its introduction centuries ago. Today, the rosary can be found on virtually every continent, and in the hands of hard-line traditionalists as well as progressive Catholics. It is beloved by popes, professors, protesters, commuters on their way to work, children learning their “first prayers,” and homeless persons seeking shelter and safety.

Why has this particular devotional object been so ubiquitous and resilient, especially in the face of Catholicism's reinvention in the Early Modern, or “Counter-Reformation,” Era? Nathan D. Mitchell argues in lyric prose that to understand the rosary's adaptability, it is essential to consider the changes Catholicism itself began to experience in the aftermath of the Reformation.

Unlike many other scholars of this period, Mitchell argues that after the Reformation Catholicism actually became more innovative and diversified rather than retrenched and monolithic. This innovation was especially evident in the sometimes “subversive”; visual representations of sacred subjects, such as in the paintings of Caravaggio, and in new ways of perceiving the relation between Catholic devotion and the liturgy’s ritual symbols. The rosary was thus involved not only in how Catholics gave flesh to their faith, but in new ways of constructing their personal and collective identity. Ultimately, Mitchell employs the history of the rosary, and the concomitant devotion to the Virgin Mary with which it is associated, as a lens through which to better understand early modern Catholic history.

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Natura Pura

On the Recovery of Nature in the Doctrine of Grace

Steven Long

From speculative theology to the exegesis of Aquinas, to contemporary North American philosophy and Catholic social and ethical thought, to the thought of Benedict XVI, this work argues the crucial importance of the proportionate natural end within the context of grace and supernatural beatitude. Long argues that, in the effort to avoid naturalism, Henri de Lubac unwittingly consummated the loss of nature as a normative principle within theology, both doctrinally and exegetically with respect to the teaching of Aquinas. The author argues that this constitutes an understandable but grave error. De Lubac's view of the matter was adopted and extended by Hans Urs von Balthasar in The Theology of Karl Barth, in which Balthasar argues that Aquinas could not even consider pure nature because it was impossible for him even to make the conceptual distinction implied by this problem,a view contradicted by Aquinas's text. Long argues that in The Theology of Karl Barth, Balthasar's account evacuates nature of its specific ontological density and treats it as mere createdness as such,a kind of dimensionless point terminating the line of grace. Given the loss of natura within theological method, its recovery requires philosophic instrumentalities. In its third chapter this book argues that by reason of its lack of any unified philosophy of nature or metaphysics, the analytic thought so widespread in Anglophone circles is merely a partial metaphilosophy and so cannot replace the role of classical Thomism within theology. The fourth chapter argues against those who construe affirmation of a proportionate natural end as equivalent to social Pelagianism or minimalism in the public square, engaging the work of Jacques Maritain, Jean Porter, and David Schindler, Sr. In an appendix, the author examines the early thought of Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI, and its development toward the Regensburg Lecture.

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The New Orleans Sisters of the Holy Family

African American Missionaries to the Garifuna of Belize

Edward T. Brett

The Sisters of the Holy Family, founded in New Orleans in 1842, were the first African American Catholics to serve as missionaries. This story of their little-known missionary efforts in Belize from 1898 to 2008 builds upon their already distinguished work, through the Archdiocese of New Orleans, of teaching slaves and free people of color, caring for orphans and the elderly, and tending to the poor and needy.

Utilizing previously unpublished archival documents along with extensive personal correspondence and interviews, Edward T. Brett has produced a fascinating account of the 110-year mission of the Sisters of the Holy Family to the Garifuna people of Belize. Brett discusses the foundation and growth of the struggling order in New Orleans up to the sisters' decision in 1898 to accept a teaching commitment in the Stann Creek District of what was then British Honduras. The early history of the British Honduras mission concentrates especially on Mother Austin Jones, the superior responsible for expanding the order's work into the mission field. In examining the Belizean mission from the eve of the Second Vatican Council through the post–Vatican II years, Brett sensitively chronicles the sisters' efforts to conform to the spirit of the council and describes the creative innovations that the Holy Family community introduced into the Belizean educational system. In the final chapter he looks at the congregation's efforts to sustain its missionary work in the face of the shortage of new religious vocations.
 
Brett’s study is more than just a chronicle of the Holy Family Sisters' accomplishments in Belize. He treats the issues of racism and gender discrimination that the African American congregation encountered both within the church and in society, demonstrating how the sisters survived and even thrived by learning how to skillfully negotiate with the white, dominant power structure.
 
"The Holy Family sisters made a large contribution to the education of women in the Belizean mission and work with the poor eventually drew the Sisters back to their original charism. In the appendices, Edward T. Brett names the women who served in the mission and their dates of service, identifies women from the Belizean mission who entered religious life, and includes tributes written by some laity regarding the sisters' mission. The book will interest students and scholars in women's studies, Afro-Caribbean history, regional history of the South, the history of missions, education, and American Catholic history." —Angelyn Dries, O.S.F., Saint Louis University

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New Women of the Old Faith

Gender and American Catholicism in the Progressive Era

Kathleen Sprows Cummings

Cummings highlights four women: Chicago-based journalist Margaret Buchanan Sullivan; Sister Julia McGroarty, SND, founder of Trinity College in Washington, D.C., one of the first Catholic women's colleges; Philadelphia educator Sister Assisium McEvoy, SSJ; and Katherine Eleanor Conway, a Boston editor, public figure, and antisuffragist. Cummings uses each woman's story to explore how debates over Catholic identity were intertwined with the renegotiation of American gender roles. By examining female power within Catholic religious communities and organizations, she challenges the widespread assumption that women who were faithful members of a patriarchal church were incapable of pathbreaking work on behalf of women.

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On the Road to Emmaus

The Catholic Dialogue with America and Modernity

Glenn W. Olsen

In distinctive voice and tone, cultural commentator Glenn W. Olsen presents his latest work on the place of Catholicism in American history. Here he clarifies the meaning of American modernity for Catholics and shows the conflicts and tensions confronting the religious person today.

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The One Christ

By David Vincent Meconi

By treating Augustine's passages on deification both chronologically and constructively, Meconi situates Augustine in a long chorus of Christian pastors and theologians who understand the essence of Christianity as the human person's total and transformative union with God.

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Origins of the Franciscan Order

Cajetan Esser, O.F.M.

A study of the problems of the early history of the Franciscan Order by one of the most important scholars of the Order, this book seeks to contribute to a stronger historical understanding of the work of St. Francis by looking into the debates and theories surrounding the formation of the Order, and the transformation of the “original ideals of St. Francis.” Translated from the German.

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PADRES

The National Chicano Priest Movement

By Richard Edward Martínez

From the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to the 1960s, Mexican American Catholics experienced racism and discrimination within the U.S. Catholic church, as white priests and bishops maintained a racial divide in all areas of the church’s ministry. To oppose this religious apartheid and challenge the church to minister fairly to all of its faithful, a group of Chicano priests formed PADRES (Padres Asociados para Derechos Religiosos, Educativos y Sociales, or Priests Associated for Religious, Educational, and Social Rights) in 1969. Over the next twenty years of its existence, PADRES became a powerful force for change within the Catholic church and for social justice within American society. This book offers the first history of the founding, activism, victories, and defeats of PADRES. At the heart of the book are oral history interviews with the founders of PADRES, who describe how their ministries in poor Mexican American parishes, as well as their own experiences of racism and discrimination within and outside the church, galvanized them into starting and sustaining the movement. Richard Martínez traces the ways in which PADRES was inspired by the Chicano movement and other civil rights struggles of the 1960s and also probes its linkages with liberation theology in Latin America. He uses a combination of social movement theory and organizational theory to explain why the group emerged, flourished, and eventually disbanded in 1989.

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Peculiar Crossroads

Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, and Catholic Vision in Postwar Southern Fiction

Farrell O’Gorman

In Peculiar Crossroads, Farrell O'Gorman explains how the radical religiosity of both Flannery O'Connor's and Walker Percy's vision made them so valuable as southern fiction writers and social critics. Via their spiritual and philosophical concerns, O'Gorman asserts, these two unabashedly Catholic authors bequeathed a postmodern South of shopping malls and interstates imbued with as much meaning as Appomattox or Yoknapatawpha. O'Gorman builds his argument with biographical, historical, literary, and theological evidence, examining the writers' work through intriguing pairings, such as O'Connor's Wise Blood with Percy's The Moviegoer, and O'Connor's A Good Man Is Hard to Find with Percy's Lancelot. An impeccable exercise in literary history and criticism, Peculiar Crossroads renders a genuine understanding of the Catholic sensibility of both O'Connor and Percy and their influence among contemporary southern writers.

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