'First Things' vs. 'Communio', "Murrayites" and "MacIntyrians"; The Paradox of the "Catholic Libertarian" and Another Kind of Illiberal Catholicism -- A roundup of relevant reading in 2014

  • A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching, by Patrick J. Deneen. American Conservative 02/06/14, on the ongoing debate between the school of John Courtney Murray (as expounded by First Things' George Weigel, Michael Novak and the late Richard J. Neuhaus) and the "Communio" school of Alasdair Macintyre, David Schindler, William T. Cavanaugh, and John Medaille.

  • Opus Publicum on The Other Illiberal Catholicism. 07/04/14:
    Deneen’s portrait of illiberal Catholicism is helpful, but incomplete. Though hardly uniform in thought and orientation, the illiberal (or “radical”) Catholics Deneen mentions tend to take their bearings from the post-Second Vatican Council theology that developed in the pages of Communio and, to a more limited extent, the re-castings of St. Thomas Aquinas that occurred in various pockets of the Catholic intellectual world over the course of the 20th Century. For several reasons, these Catholic thinkers share some affinities with non-Catholics who are skeptical of liberalism, such as the Oxbridge “Radical Orthodoxy” school, though the former maintain a tighter hold on the Catholic Church’s magisterium. But beyond those mentioned by Deneen in The American Conservative is a brigade of illiberal Catholics with roots that run far deeper than intellectual trends which began to form during the latter half of the last century. These illiberal Catholics take their first bearings from the great socio-ecclesial encyclicals of the 19th and early 20th Centuries: Gregory XVI’s Mirari Vos; Blessed Pius IX’s Quanta Cura and Syllabus Errorum; Leo XIII’s Immortale Dei and Rerum Novarum; St. Pius X’s Quanta Cura and E Supremi Apostolatus; and Pius XI’s Quas Primas and Quadragesimo Anno. Rather than looking toward (post)modern academic currents for additional intellectual ammunition, these illiberal Catholics seek grounding in the timeless wisdom of the Angelic Doctor and the tradition which emerged from his teachings.

  • Integralism - a wide-ranging essay initially responding to Zmirak's charges of "illiberal Catholicism", but touching as well on on David Schindler's Critique of Liberalism; the question of religious liberty; the natura pura debate (contra Henri de Lubac); "On the Difference Between Just Being and Being Good: Why Rights Are Not the First Principles of Political Life"; and the "Integralist thesis."

  • [An] Illiberal Catholic Manifesto - being a sermon elivered by Dom Gérard, Abbot of Le Barroux, In Chartres Cathedral, Pentecost, 1985.

  • Mark DeForrest (The Imaginative Conservative) asks: Can Catholicism and Libertarianism Co-Exist? (07/06/14) and concludes:
    There is space within Catholicism to take libertarian arguments seriously, not to agree with them in every instance, but to look at them as a helpful perspective and corrective approach to understanding the dangers of government overreach at the expense of individual initiative and responsibility. By so doing, thinkers who work within the framework of Catholic social teaching can both better understand the libertarian critique of government power as well as aspects of Catholic social thought that have been eclipsed in recent decades. Just as Catholicism had nothing to fear from Aristotle or the Greek philosophers, it has nothing to fear from Friedrich Hayek and other libertarian thinkers and from the true if incomplete insights that they bring to questions involving the use of government power.
    However, Opus Publicum explains why Catholic libertarianism still gets it wrong ("their instincts are usually in the right place, but that’s no excuse for the conscious discharge of authentically Catholic social principles").

  • Michael Novak on On Being and Staying Catholic in the Modern World, an address delivered June 7, 2014 to the graduating class of St. Michael the Archangel High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

  • George Weigel pens a tribute to his friend in "American and Catholic": Michael Novak's achievement City Journal Winter 2014.

  • A City Upon a Hill: Augustine, John Winthrop and the Soul of the American Experiment Today, by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. Address at the St. Anselm Institute, University of Virginia in Charlottesville on February 18, 2014:
    MacIntyre is not exactly a sunny source of hope when it comes to liberal democracy. And I don’t think we should give up – at least not yet – on the possibilities for good that still reside in our system of public life. ...

  • Neoconservatism and Conceptual Clarity Opus Publicum 07/28/14:
    Last week Artur Rosman published a very informative interview with Patrick Deneen at Ethika Politika entitled “The Neo-Conservative Imagination.” In it, Deneen discusses, among other things, the disconnect that exists within what he calls “neoconservative Catholics,” specifically their orthodox view on sexuality morality and their heterodox view on Catholic Social Teaching (CST). While I have no disagreement with him that there is a disconnect, I think the interview — and a lot of critical writing on what I will broadly call economic liberalism within Catholicism — could have taken more care to be conceptually clear. Let me see if I can sort it out. ...

  • Acton and Lee: A Conversation on Liberty, by Stephen Klugewicz and Veronica Mueller The Imaginative Conservative (08/02/14):
    It is interesting to note that Lord Acton corresponded with General Robert E. Lee after the conclusion of the American Civil War. Sympathetic to the Confederate cause, Lord Acton considered America’s Constitution as imperfect and “saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will.” In his letter of November 4, 1866, Lord Acton told General Lee that “secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy,” and expressed his belief that General Lee had been “fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization.”

  • Recovering the Catholic Doctrine of Private Property, Part I: On Property Rights, Subjective and Objective, Human and Natural; Part II: A Critical Examination of Catholic Social Teaching on the Question of Private Property, by W. Bradford Littlejohn. Calvinist International 08/13/14.

  • Ghosts of Colson & Neuhaus, by Rod Dreher. The American Conservative 10/01/14:
    I spent all day yesterday with a good group at the office of First Things magazine in New York City. It was a seminar put together by editor Rusty Reno to discuss the future of religion in the public square in what everybody agrees is a meaningfully different era from the one in which the ministries of the late Richard John Neuhaus and Chuck Colson rose to prominence. It was hard to be in that room today and not feel the presence of those two men, if only because their passing came at the end of a hopeful era for socially conservative Christians. ...

  • Thomas Storck on the question: What Authority Does Catholic Social Teaching Have? Ethika Politika. 09/29/14.

  • George Weigel: (HT: Truths Still Held? John Courtney Murray’s “American Proposition,” Fifty Years Later (Thank you: Rick Garnett, Mirror of Justice). 10/13/14.

  • Conservatives, America, and Natural Law, by Samuel Gregg. Public Discourse 10/22/14. On the debate between the "Murrayites" and the "MacIntyrians"; What's wrong with "The Benedict Option", and Natural Law and the American Founding:
    For conservatives, a retreat into self-imposed isolation isn’t a responsible option. We need more conservatives publicly witnessing that humans are wired to know and freely choose truth, and that this has implications for the political order.

  • Revisiting Pope Leo XIII and Reclaiming Catholic Social Doctrine, by Gregory J. Sullivan. Catholic World Report 12/01/14. A review of Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching, by Anthony Esolen. (Sophia Institute Press, Oct. 2014).

  • What’s Really at Stake in the Catholic Showdown?, by Thomas Storck. Ethika Politika 12/04/14:
    What exactly is that controversy? In a nutshell, it is over whether the liberal capitalist socio-political order is really compatible with a Catholic view of the state, of society, and even of the human person; whether the condemnations of liberalism made by so many popes and Catholic writers are suddenly out-of-date, passé, made obsolete by the triumph of the new world order represented by the Lockean polity that was fully realized in the United States; and whether, in fact, Catholics can perceive that just as communism posed a deadly threat to a Christian social order and to the very life of the Church, so the bourgeois liberalism of the capitalist world represents a threat of another sort, but in the end one that is just as dangerous.

Wherein lies the Kingdom?

The German Jesuit Alfred Delp, who was executed by the Nazis, once wrote: "Bread is important, freedom is more important, but most important of all is fidelity and faithful adoration."

When this ordering of goods is no longer respected, but turned on its head, the result is not justice or concern for human suffering. The result is rather ruin and destruction even of material goods themselves. When God is regarded as a secondary matter that can be set aside temporarily or permanently on account of more important things, it is precisely these supposedly more important things that come to nothing.

It is not just the negative outcome of the Marxist experiment that proves this. The aid offered by the West to developing countries has been purely technically and materially based, and not only has left God out of the picture, but has driven men away from God. [p. 33]

* * *

Let us return to the third temptation. Its true content becomes apparent when throughout history we realize that it is constantly taking on new forms. The Christian empire attempted at an early stage to use faith in order to cement political unity. The Kingdom of Christ was not expected to take the form of a political kingdom and its splendour. The powerlessness of faith, the early powerlessness of Jesus Christ, was to be given the helping hand of political and military might. The temptation to use power to secure the faith has arisen again and again in varied forms throughout the centuries, and again and again faith has risked being suffocated in the embrace of power. The struggle for the freedom of the Church, the struggle to avoid identifying Jesus' Kingdom with any political structure, is one that has to be fought century after century. For the fusion of faith and political power comes at a price: faith becomes the servant of power and must bend to its criteria. [p. 40]

If we had to choose today, would Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary, the Son of the Father, have a chance? Do we really know Jesus at all? Do we understand him? Do we not have to perhaps make an effort, today as always, to get to know him all over again? The tempter is not so crude as to suggest to us directly that we should worship the devil. He merely suggests that we opt for a reasonable decision, that we choose to give priority to a planned and thoroughly organized world, where God may have his place as a private concern but must not interfere in our essential purposes. Soloviev attributes to the AntiChrist a book entitled The Open Way to World Peace and Welfare. This book becomes something of a new bible, whose real message is the worshiop of well-being and rational planning. [p. 41]

-- Benedict XVI (Jesus of Nazareth

The Passion narratives are the first pieces of the Gospels that were composed as a unity. In his preaching at Corinth, Paul initially wants to know nothing but the Cross, which "destroys the wisdom of the wise and wrecks the understanding of those who understand", which "is a scandal to the Jews and foolishness to the gentiles". But "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (I Cor 1:19, 23, 25).

Whoever removes the Cross and its interpretation by the New Testament from the center, in order to replace it, for example, with the social commitment of Jesus to the oppressed as a new center, no longer stands in continuity with the apostolic faith. He does not see that God's commitment to the world is most absolute precisely at this point across a chasm.

-- Hans Urs von Balthasar ("The Cross - For Us" excerpt from A Short Primer For Unsettled Laymen)

"An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America" - Joseph Bottum

An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, by Joseph Bottum. Image Books (February 11, 2014)

We live in a profoundly spiritual age--but in a very strange way, different from every other moment of our history. Huge swaths of American culture are driven by manic spiritual anxiety and relentless supernatural worry. Radicals and traditionalists, liberals and conservatives, together with politicians, artists, environmentalists, followers of food fads, and the chattering classes of television commentators: America is filled with people frantically seeking confirmation of their own essential goodness. We are a nation desperate to stand on the side of morality--to know that we are righteous and dwell in the light.

Or so Joseph Bottum argues in An Anxious Age, an account of modern America as a morality tale, formed by its spiritual disturbances. And the cause, he claims, is the most significant and least noticed historical fact of the last fifty years: the collapse of the Mainline Protestant churches that were the source of social consensus and cultural unity. Our dangerous spiritual anxieties, broken loose from the churches that once contained them, now madden everything in American life.

Updating The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber's sociological classic, An Anxious Age undertakes two case studies in contemporary social class, adrift in a nation without the religious understandings that gave it meaning. Looking at the college-educated elite he calls "The Poster Children," Bottum sees the post-Protestant heirs of the old Mainline Protestant domination of culture: dutiful descendants who claim the high social position of their Christian ancestors even while they reject their ancestors' Christianity. Turning to "The Swallows of Capistrano," the Catholics formed by the pontificate of John Paul II, Bottum evaluates the early victories--and later defeats--of the attempt to substitute Catholicism for the dying Mainline voice in public life.

Sweeping across American intellectual and cultural history, An Anxious Age traces the course of national religion and warns about the strange angels and even stranger demons with which we now wrestle. Insightful and contrarian, wise and unexpected, An Anxious Age ranks among the great modern accounts of American culture.

Interviews and Presentations

Reviews and Discussion

  • An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, by Michael Parker. The Presbyterian Outlook 08/08/14.
  • The Puritans Among Us, by Mary Eberstadt. National Review 04/21/14:
    An Anxious Age abounds in logic and clarification (and for that reason among others, it was derelict of the book’s publisher to omit footnotes and an index, both of which would have helped to signal its scholarly nature). Even so, it is the book’s metaphors that will haunt the reader after he puts it down. Who else would describe Protestantism in the United States as “our cultural Mississippi, rolling through the center of the American landscape”? Likely no one — but the image brings to vivid and unexpected life a thousand Pew Research reports on declining attendance and the rise in “nones.” Similarly, the author’s unspooling of the story of the swallows of San Juan Capistrano as a metaphor for explaining what has happened to Catholicism in America is not only arresting but convincing, succeeding both as religious sociology and as literary trope.
  • Book Review: An Anxious Age by Geraldo Russo. Washington Times 04/01/14. "As Tocqueville and others have recognized, American religion and American exceptionalism have proceeded together. Now that they have been sundered, other choices present themselves. “An Anxious Age” explains how we can make the best of what confronts us."

  • The Rise of Secular Religion, by David P. Goldman. The American Interest 03/17/14:
    This is a work of deep pessimism, albeit mitigated by faith in divine intervention, and its author reveals his innermost thoughts only in parable. It is a work of great importance that should be read, re-read and debated by the literate public, believers and non-believers alike. It is to be hoped that its dark tone will not discourage those who are more likely to seek encouragement than instruction.
  • An Anxious Author, by Greg Forster. The Public Discourse 03/31/14:
    Joseph Bottum’s An Anxious Age is a bad book with a good book trapped inside it, struggling to get out. Bottum offers insightful observations that challenge prevailing assumptions about the nature and history of secular progressivism in America. Unfortunately, his main arguments are underdeveloped and disorganized, and the book’s appeal is limited by its prejudice against Protestantism. But the greatest disappointment is Bottum’s failure to practice the Christian virtue of hope.
    • American Hope: Don’t Conflate Political Culture and Christianity, by Joseph Bottum. [Reply to Greg Forster] The Public Discourse 04/10/14. "... a forced smile and a Mrs. Rogers optimism about Americanist politics: I just don’t feel enough anxiety to fake it. A calm hope in Christ Jesus and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin seems enough to be going on with."

  • Rise of the Poster Children, by Geoffrey Kabaservice. The University Bookman Spring 2014:
    An Anxious Age incorporates a number of separately published articles and essays, and sometimes the seams are visible. The reader most likely will not mind the digressions and set pieces that don’t relate to the overall argument, however, since the writing is so marvelous. Bottum’s chapter on John Paul II positively glitters, and his conclusion that the Pope was “the freest man in the twentieth century” is both satisfying and earned. His side-by-side profile of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen and William F. Buckley Jr. says more about both men in a dozen pages than some books manage to convey, and effectively underscores Bottum’s argument that today’s Catholic intellectuals are at a disadvantage without the culture that could be taken for granted in the past. The book’s detours into figures such as Rauschenbusch, Max Weber, James Pike, and Avery Dulles are also fascinating.
  • An Anxious Age—and an Antagonistic Future?, by Christopher White. Catholic World Report April 13, 2014:
    Bottum’s work is primarily descriptive in nature and does not offer any hard predictions for what the future might hold from here. There is indeed the possibility that we might hope to begin toreintegrate the public square with a religious language where the poster children of post-Protestant America are convinced by the Catholic converts—or are at least hospitable to their convictions. But that remains unresolved. Considering the widespread skepticism and even hostility in which religious expression is viewed in America, it’s seemingly unlikely. And if this, indeed, the future that awaits us, it’s highly probably that this anxious age in which we live will give rise to an antagonistic one to follow.
  • The End of Exceptionalism, by Eric Jackson. Thoughts and Ideas 3/28/14:
    As his book makes clear, Protestantism is gone, and—at present at least—Catholicism cannot fill the gap. America may have been exceptional in her religious composition, but it takes a considerable act of faith to see how she can remain so. Bottum is to be commended for the gentle way he leads the reader to this regrettable realization.
  • The Social Gospel Paradox Divest This:
    for those who embraced the message of the Social Gospel, simply fighting against bigotry or corruption was not enough. Rather, one had to incorporate into one’s belief system the existence of superhuman evil in the universe organized around the six social sins ["bigotry, arrogance of power, corruption of justice for personal gain, mob madness and violence, militarism and class contempt"]. In other words, during an era when rationalism was banishing Satan from set of beliefs one could hold as a person of reason, the Social Gospel provided those same reasoned men and women a new set of spirits (really demons) in which to believe.

    Rauschenbusch’s critics pointed out that a world in which man was responsible for aligning his soul against supernatural evil left little room for God and Christ. And while the original Social Gospel followers (all pious men and women) were able to deflect this criticism, it turns out that their children found it a bit easier to orient their faith around the fight against the Social Devil rather than belief in more traditional deities. And for their grandchildren and great grandchildren, it became easier and easier to abandon this or that doctrine – even the foundational beliefs of Christianity – so long as churches remained dedicated to the battle against bigotry, militarism and the other “genuine” spiritual evils in the world.

    An irony that Bottum points out is that it was the very choice to put politics (or, more accurately, a human-based and ultimately politicized re-definition of religion) before doctrine that eliminated Mainliners role in both the religious and political realm. For as church leaders have themselves bemoaned in recent decades, when was the last time you heard a Presbyterian minister on the Sunday morning talk shows proving moral guidance on the issues of the day?

  • Reviewed by Matt McCullough 9Marks 3/25/14:
    Two lessons seem especially important. First, those of us who hold a traditional Christian view of human sexuality and marriage must get comfortable being dismissed as bigots. If Bottum is right about the post-Protestant “redeemed personality,” there is a tremendous psychological reward for identifying bigotry and very little social cost to condemning it. In this climate, there is no incentive to consider the nuance by which one can love a person and disapprove of their behavior, disapprove even because you love them and want to see them flourish.

    Second, we’ve got to be willing to accept our status as outcasts from the power centers of American society before we’ll be of any use to American society. According to Bottum, Protestant Christianity was most influential in public life when Protestants were more interested in theological faithfulness than public usefulness. As he puts it, “religion actually works to ground the American experiment because we take religion more seriously than the American experiment” (291). The decline of Mainline Protestantism is a powerful cautionary tale. If we assume the gospel while we aim for cultural renewal—if we redefine it in the name of cultural relevance—we’ll end up irrelevant anyway.

  • A conservative who was right about Occupy, by Nathan Schneider. WagingNonviolence.com. 02/15/14:
    That a critic like Bottum, most at home in conservative quarters, credits Occupy for inspiring his book is to me a reminder of why the movement caught hold of me and so many others so fiercely at the outset: it had the potential to recenter our politics and our discourse and our spectrum. Its failures were less failures of aspiration than of accomplishment — that it wasn’t diverse enough, or empowering enough, or transformative enough to live up to its own transcendental ambitions.

Recent Articles on Religion and Liberty, Catholicism and Liberalism

A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching, by Patrick J. Deneen. The American Conservative February 6, 2004. "The most interesting Roman split is over liberal democracy itself."

* * *

Illiberal Catholicism, by John Zmirack. Aleteia. 12/31/13. "Catholics used to be open to the lessons of freedom from the American experience. Are we forgetting those lessons?"

* * *

Unsustainable Liberalism, by Patrick J. Deneen. First Things

* * *

Murry's Mistake, by Michael Baxter. America 09/23/13. "The political divisions a theologian failed to foresee."

Michael Novak: "Writing from Left to Right: My Journey from Liberal to Conservative"

Writing from Left to Right: My Journey from Liberal to Conservative
Image Books. September 2013.
Engagingly, writing as if to old friends and foes, Michael Novak shows how Providence (not deliberate choice) placed him in the middle of many crucial events of his time: a month in wartime Vietnam, the student riots of the 1960s, the Reagan revolution, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Bill Clinton's welfare reform, and the struggles for human rights in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also spent fascinating days, sometimes longer, with inspiring leaders like Sargent Shriver, Bobby Kennedy, George McGovern, Jack Kemp, Václav Havel, President Reagan, Lady Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II, who helped shape—and reshape—his political views.

Yet through it all, as Novak’s sharply etched memoir shows, his focus on helping the poor and defending universal human rights remained constant; he gradually came to see building small businesses and envy-free democracies as the only realistic way to build free societies. Without economic growth from the bottom up, democracies are not stable. Without protections for liberties of conscience and economic creativity, democracies will fail. Free societies need three liberties in one: economic liberty, political liberty, and liberty of spirit.

Novak’s writing throughout is warm, fast paced, and often very beautiful. His narrative power is memorable.



Also of Interest

PAPAL ECONOMICS: The Catholic Church on Democratic Capitalism, from Rerum Novarum to Caritas in Veritate, by Maciej Zieba.
Intercollegiate Studies Institute. July 31, 2013.

Maciej Zieba, OP, a close associate of Pope John Paul II, is the author of The Surprising Pope: Understanding the Thought of John Paul II. He was a key player in the Polish Solidarity movement and is the director of the European Solidarity Center and the founder of the Tertio Millennio Institute in Poland. Father Zieba has lectured extensively on economics and theology. Reviews

  • Popes on Economics, by Michael P. Orsi. First Things 10/23/13. "There exists a great deal of confusion regarding the popes’ social encyclicals. The problem is threefold: they span over one hundred years in changing political and social milieus; the language that is used is inconsistent; and, finally, there are competing tensions contained in the documents. This book navigates the reader through the confusion."
  • Toward a More Human State of Economics, by Gabriel Torretta, O.P. Catholic World Report 10/16/13.

Dr. Samuel Gregg

Samuel Gregg
Dr. Samuel Gregg is director of research at the Acton Institute. He has written and spoken extensively on questions of political economy, economic history, ethics in finance, and natural law theory. He has an MA in political philosophy from the University of Melbourne, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in moral philosophy and political economy from the University of Oxford, where he worked under the supervision of Professor John Finnis. - Staff Profile (The Acton Institute).

Natural Law, Natural Rights and American Constitutionalism

Natural Law, Natural Rights and American Constitutionalism - brought to you by the Witherspoon Institute, "to create an online archive containing the seminal documents of these traditions with educational resources" -- made possible through the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and with direction from scholars associated with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.

Jacques Maritain (1882–1973)

Jacques Maritain
Jacques Maritain (1882–1973), French philosopher and political thinker, was one of the principal exponents of Thomism in the twentieth century and an influential interpreter of the thought of St Thomas Aquinas.

Relevant Readings

About Maritain:

By Maritain:

Dr. Gregory M. A. Gronbacher

Gregory M. A. Gronbacher
Dr. Gregory M. A. Gronbacher is the director of the Center for Economic Personalism, the academic research division of the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, MI. He holds a Ph. D. in philosophy from the Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy in Dublin, Ireland, where he also was a lecturer. Dr. Gronbacher researches and lectures on the synthesis of free market economic science and Christian personalism as well as political and social philosophy and Catholic social thought.

Relevant Articles / Interviews

Relevant Articles

The 'Finn-Gronbacher Debate' 1998-2001

Eugene McCarraher

Eugene McCarraher
Dr. Eugene McCarraher [Academic Homepage] is Assistant Professor of Humanities and History at Villanova University and a 2006 fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies. He received his Ph.D. in American History from Rutgers University, where he studied with Jackson Lears. He is the author of Christian Critics: Religion and the Impasse in Modern American Social Thought. He has taught at Rutgers, the University of Delaware, and Princeton. In addition to articles for scholarly journals, he writes essays and reviews for Commonweal, Books and Culture, and In These Times. His current project is a cultural history of corporate business entitled The Enchantments of Mammon: Corporate Capitalism and the American Moral Imagination, which will be published in 2006.

Published Works (Relevant to the Discussion):

Articles about Eugene McCarraher


Articles by Eugene McCarraher

About McCarraher

David Schindler

David Schindler
David Schindler is Gagnon professor of fundamental theology at the John Paul II Institute for the Study of Marriage and the Family in Washington, D.C., and editor of the North American edition of Communio, the international theological review. See also: David Schindler (Biographical entry in First Principles' journal by Jeremy Beer).

David Schindler v. Neoconservatism: A Symposium

PLEASE NOTE: As with my other websites, my references are by and large limited to what's available on the web -- regretfully, Communio hasn't yet followed the norm of other Catholic periodicals in making their contents available online to the general public (free or by subscription).

As representative of the "Augustinian Thomists" I appreciate Dr. Schindler's contributions to the debate, but as he is generally published in Communio he falls among those authors who aren't as accessible online. Fortunately, David of the Catholic blog la nouvelle théologie provides a list of "must-read" Communio articles from Dr. Schindler and company (including an exchange btw. Schindler and Weigel).

    Schindler, David L. "Editorial: On Being Catholic in America." 14, no. 3 (1987): 213-14.
    ---. "Is America Bourgeois?" 14, no. 3 (1987): 262-90.
    ---. "Once Again: George Weigel, Catholicism and American Culture." 15, no. 1 (1988): 92-121.
    ---. "The Church's 'Worldly' Mission: Neoconservatism and American Culture." 18, no. 3 (1991): 365-97.
    ---. "Response to Mark Lowery." 18, no. 3 (1991): 450-72.
    ---. "Religious Freedom, Truth, and American Liberalism: Another Look at John Courtney Murray." 21, no. 4 (1994): 696-741.
    ---. "Christological Aesthetics and Evangelium Vitae: Toward a Definition of Liberalism." 22, no. 2 (1995): 193-224.
    ---. "Christology and the Imago Dei: Interpreting Gaudium et Spes." 23, no. 1 (1996): 156-84.
    ---. "Modernity, Postmodernity, and the Problem of Atheism." 24, no. 3 (1997): 563-79.
    ---. "Reorienting the Church on the Eve of the Millennium: John Paul II's 'New Evangelization.'" 24, no. 4 (1997): 728-79.
    ---. "Luigi Giussani on the 'Religious Sense' and the Cultural Situation of Our Time." 25, no. 1 (1998): 141-150.
    ---. "'The Religious Sense' and American Culture." 25, no. 4 (1998): 679-699.
    ---. "Beauty, Transcendence, and the Face of the Other: Religion and Culture in America." 26, no. 4 (1999): 915 NC.
    ---. "Homelessness and the Modern Condition: The Family, Community, and the Global Economy." 27, no. 3 (2000): 411-30.
    ---. "Toward a Culture of Life: The Eucharist, the 'Restoration' of Creation, and the 'Worldy' Task of the Laity." 29, no. 4 (2002): 679-690.
    Weigel, George. "Is America Bourgeois?: A Response to David Schindler." 15, no. 1 (1988): 77-91.
    ---. "Response to Mark Lowery." 18, no. 3 (1991): 439-449.
    Lowery, Mark. "The Schindler/Weigel Debate: An Appraisal." 18, no. 3 (1991): 425-38.
    Wendell Berry, Lorenzo Albacete, Eric Perl, V. Bradley Lewis, and John Berkman. "A Conversation with Wendell Berry." 27, no. 1 (2000): 59-82.

Tracey Rowland

Tracey Rowland
Dr. Tracy Rowland is the Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family based in Melbourne, and a Permanent Fellow of the Institute of Political Philosophy and Continental Theology. She holds degrees in Law, Politics and Philosophy from the Universities of Queensland and Melbourne and a Doctorate from the Divinity School of the University of Cambridge. She is a member of the editorial board of the international Catholic journal, Communio, and a member of the Commission for Australian Catholic women. Her current research interests include Theological Anthropology, The Philosophy of Language and it relevance to the New Evangelisation, The Thomist Tradition, Theological Critiques of the Political Philosophy of Liberalism, Genealogies of Modernity and Post-Modernity, Communio Ecclisiology and interpretations of Vatican II.

Relevant Articles / Interviews

Thomas Storck

Thomas Storck

Mr. Storck has taught history at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, and philosophy at Mt. Aloysius College in Cresson, Pennsylvania and Catonsville Community College in Catonsville, Maryland. He holds an undergraduate degree in English literature from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and an M.A. from St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico, with additional studies in history at Bluffton College and in economics at the USDA Graduate School in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Storck served as a contributing editor for Caelum et Terra from 1991 until the magazine closed in 1996 and the New Oxford Review from 1996 to 2006. Since 1998 he has been a member of the editorial board of The Chesterton Review.

He is the author of three books, The Catholic Milieu (Christendom Press, 1987), Foundations of a Catholic Political Order (Four Faces Press, 1998) and Christendom and the West (Four Faces Press, 2000).

Political foundations of the social order

America and Americanism

Thomas Storck has written extensively on economics and distributism -- you can find some of his writings on our page devoted to the Libertarian-Distributist debate. For a full list of Storck's writings on distributism and economic matters see ThomasStorck.org.

Joseph A. Varacalli

Joseph A. Varacalli
Dr. Varacalli is Professor of Sociology and newly appointed Director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Nassau Community College. In 1992, he co-founded (with Stephen M. Krason) the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. He is the author of Bright Promise, Failed Community: Catholics and the American Public Order (2001) and The Catholic Experience in America (The American Religious Experience) (2005).


Published Works (Relevant to the Discussion):

Relevant Articles

George Weigel

George Weigel
George Weigel is Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II.

An online archive of Michael Novak's writings can be found here.

Relevant Articles / Interviews

Michael Novak

Michael Novak
Michael Novak holds the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute. His research focuses on the three systems of the free society--the free polity, the free economy, and the culture of liberty--and their springs in religion and philosophy. Twice the U.S. ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, and once to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. He directs social and political studies for the AEI and is the author of twenty-five influential books published in every major Western language (as well as Bengali, Korean, Japanese). He is the recipient of the 1994 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion; the Antony Fisher Prize for The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism presented by Margaret Thatcher; the Weber Award for contributions to Catholic Social Thought in Essen, Germany; the Cezanne Medal from the City of Provence, and the Catholic Culture Medal of Bassano del Grappa in Italy; the highest civilian award from the Slovak Republic in 1996; the Masaryk Medal, presented by Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic, in 2000.

An online archive of Michael Novak's writings can be found here.

Relevant Articles / Interviews

Understanding Novak: Introductory Resources

On Democracy, Religion & 'The American Experiment'

Michael Novak on the "Hunger for Liberty" -- an interview with Zenit.org. May 11, 2005.

  1. Part 1: On the Need for Morality to Safeguard Freedom
  2. Part 2: The Clash of Civilizations
  3. Part 3: On Europe's Lost Desire for Freedom

On Economics & Social Thought

See Also:

Relevant Writings

John Courtney Murray, SJ (1904-1967)

John Courtney Murray, SJ (1904-1967)
John Courtney Murray (September 12, 1904 – August 16, 1967), was an American Jesuit priest and theologian, who was especially known for his efforts to reconcile Catholicism and religious pluralism, particularly focusing on the relationship between religious freedom and the institutions of a democratically structured modern state.

During the Second Vatican Council, he played a key role in persuading the assembly of the Catholic bishops to adopt the Council's ground-breaking Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae.

Articles by John Courtney Murray

Excerpts from Books

On the thought of John Courtney Murray