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Forthcoming "Encyclopedia" of Catholic Social Thought

April 3, 2007

Richard Myers, Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law, relays the news of a major project he and others have been working on: an Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought.

I mentioned this project before, but I wanted to alert people to a forthcoming Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought. Here. I am one of 4 co-editors of this volume. My co-editors are Michael Coulter, Steve Krason, and Joe Varacalli. We have been working on this for over 5 years and we just received the page-proofs; publication is due this summer.

The encyclopedia is large (it should be about 1200 pages) and includes approximately 850 entries from over 300 contributors. Most of the contributors are members of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists and/or the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. Father Araujo SJ is one of the contributors along with my Ave Maria colleagues Jane Adolphe, Howard Bromberg, Joe Falvey, Bruce Frohnen, Patrick Quirk, Steve Safranek, and Jim Sonne. Other contributors include Cardinal Pell, Archbishop Michael Miller, Mary Ann Glendon, Father Canavan SJ, Bill May, Mark Latkovic, David Gregory, Father Joe Koterski SJ, and many, many others. I hope that people will take a close look at the volume.

I hope this volume will be that much-needed remedy to what appears to be a burgeoning reversion back into Neo-Scholastic modes of perceiving the distinction between nature and grace, faith and social life. The tendency to separate magisterial directives on doctrine and so-called “prudential judgments” into neat, tidy categories is re-emerging even among Catholics of goodwill who do not perceive the manner in which grace saturates nature. Their misrepresentation of how grace affects and perfects nature holds implications for culture, economics and politics. Unfortunately, many prominent American Catholics have relocated the workings of socio-economics to the sphere of “pure nature”, sanctioning a disavowal and rejection of magisterial directives on these matters in the name of “empirical” or “prudential judgment”. Of course, this measure simply works to reaffirm that Neo-Scholastic surrender of nature (politics, science, economics) to the purely secular sphere. At the same time, magisterial pronouncements on aspects of this sphere are minimized and marginalized, while magisterial pronouncements on “faith” are given total adherence. Rather than make the distinction between the binomials of faith and reason, grace and nature, doctrine and social analysis, these Catholics simply divorce the complements, tearing apart the theological and sociological syntheses achieved by the likes of Henri de Lubac, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

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