Recovering American Catholic Inculturation

Recovering American Catholic Inculturation : John England's Jacksonian Populism and Romanticist Adaptation

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In Recovering American Catholic Inculturation, McNeil follows the case of Bishop John England, who chose to govern the Diocese of Charleston with a Constitution that assigned rights and responsibilities to the church's membership. He argues that this was not a case of simple accommodation to Enlightenment rationality and autonomous individuality. Bishop England's adaptation of Catholicism should be understood as both a retrieval and an application of theoretical thinking to the practical judgment of specific contexts on the basis of reason and pragmatic esthetics. Social conflicts of interest are resolved through the allowance of an exercise of faith and reason within contexts wherein we understand and experience the truth of the situation is never final and that "good" and the "better" are not private, subjective, static nor simply progressive. Contemporary critics have often resorted more to static categories and political projections onto the earlier American experience than is warranted by a close study of the original texts of the founders of the American Republic or, particularly for this study, a personage such as John England. The study concludes that a re-embarkation on the road of inculturation is long overdue for American Catholicism. This book holds appeal for American historians, philosophers interested in the liberal tradition and autonomous individualism, epistemologists exploring rationality, aesthetics, and knowledge, Catholic theologians and Church historians, and all educated Catholics.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 270 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 27.94mm | 521.63g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739124536
  • 9780739124536

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 Life, Vision, and Response at the Margins Chapter 4 Living and Leading within a Minority Chapter 5 A Vision from the Margins Chapter 6 Dimensions and Directions in the Ecclesial Response Chapter 7 Conclusion
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Review quote

This is a distinctive interdisciplinary study of the salient meanings of Bishop John England's singular adaptation to the ethos of American culture. Lou NcNeil has crafted a fresh and honest narrative, one that takes the reader on an engaging journey through the pathways of social and political trends and historical theology and ecclesiology both past and present. This book is a significant contribution to American Catholic Studies. -- Christopher J. Kauffman, Catholic University of America It will be welcomed by students of American Catholic studies and especially by those whose assessment of the contemporary church correspond's with the author's. * The Catholic Historical Review, October 2009 * I recommend this book highly. It is well written, sensitive to practical pastoral practices and how they influence and condition thought (a la Charles Pierce), aware of the early nineteenth century republican understanding of the common good (over private interest or individualism), and familiar with the earlier historiography on John England, with which McNeil interacts throughout the text. . . . It would be useful and provacative for advanced undergraduates, graduate students in history as well as theology, and theologians and historians. It should certainly be in every college library. * American Catholic Studies, Fall 2009 * This is a work of creative scholarship that brings historical resources to a crucial debate about American Catholicism. It deserves the attention of theologians and other scholars interested in American history and religion. * Theological Studies, December 2009 * Recovering American Catholic Inculturation paints a compelling portrait of John England as a creative nineteenth-century pastoral leader who can serve as a model for today's church. -- William J. Portier, University of Dayton
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About Lou F. McNeil

Lou F. McNeil is associate professor of religious studies and theology, as well as director of the Graduate Program in Theology for Georgian Court University.
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