What's Left?

What's Left? : Liberal American Catholics

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From the editor's Preface: 'Liberal American Catholics share a common cultural context of pluralism and an eager embrace of both the documents and the elusive 'spirit' of Vatican II. If conservative was an appropriate term to describe those who thought that the council had gone far enough (perhaps too far) in its attempts to reform the church, then liberal is an appropriate term to describe those who think that the council did not go far enough. If conservative describes Catholics who are often oriented to the past and who accept traditional religious authority, then liberal can describe those Catholics who are oriented to the future and whose energies are attached to an array of ideas that challenge conventional definitions of religious authority even as they embrace Vatican II's definition of the church as the 'people of God".'Unlike those who believe that Catholicism has been defined and must be guarded against the temptations of the world, liberal Catholics believe that we must continually define and re-define Catholicism in the modern world, embracing many of its values, responding positively to its challenges.
At the same time, liberal Catholics are a new group within the church: they look back at pre-conciliar Catholicism and recognise its power to shape their religious imaginations even as they attempt to broaden its definitions of accepted beliefs and behaviours. This book is an attempt to provide, in some detail, the substance of this liberal sensibility and to show some of the directions it has taken in American Catholicism in the thirty or so years since the second Vatican council'.'It looks at a highly diverse group of American Catholics who describe themselves in progressive terms and asks what they do to warrant that description. "What's Left?" explores the mental universe of a liberal American Catholics in order to illuminate their dreams for the future. I hope that this book also helps its contributors and readers to understand themselves as they try on various adjectives qualifying or expanding what it means to be Catholic in the modern world'.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 312 pages
  • 155.2 x 233.9 x 22.9mm | 527.51g
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253213320
  • 9780253213327

Review quote

This book was originally envisioned as the mirror-image of Being Right (1995), a volume edited by Weaver and Scott Appleby focusing on conservative Catholicism. Instead of adopting the mixed insider/outsider methodology used in Being Right, however, What's Left? employs a thoroughly in-house approach in which self-identified liberal Catholics examine various facets of liberal Catholicism. Contemporary left-wing Catholicism is somewhat fragmented, bound together as much by a common sense of dissent as by any shared program of action. Rather than trying to impose an artificial orderliness on that reality, this book explores some of the most prominent threads of leftist Catholic aspiration and dissent. Fourteen essays are grouped in six sections dealing with feminist theology and practice; personal sexual morality; academic theology; liturgy, ministry and spirituality; race and ethnicity; and public Catholicism. Some essays are relatively broad in purview, such as the Mary Ann Hinsdale and John Boyle piece Academic Theology; others are much more precisely focused, such as Bernard Cooke's on the organization Call to Action. Overall, the essays cover the subject well. David O'Brien's concluding essay provides a fine summary of the history and present state of the Catholic Left. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate students through faculty and researchers, and professionals and practitioners.D. Jacobsen, Messiah College, Choice, October 2000
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About Mary Jo Weaver

Biographical Statement: Mary Jo Weaver is Professor of Religious Studiesat Indiana University. In addition to her early work on Roman Catholicmodernism, she has published two editions of a textbook, Introduction toChristianity, and two books on feminism and American Catholicism, NewCatholic Women and Springs of Water in a Dry Land. She is the co-editor(with R. Scott Appleby) of a companion volume to this book, Being Right: Conservative Catholics in America.
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Table of contents

Preface; Acknowledgements Introduction/ Mary Jo Weaver I. Feminist Theology and Practice 1. Catholic Women Theologians of the Left/ Susan Ross 2. Women-Church: An American Catholic Feminist Movement/ Rosemary Ruether II. Personal Sexual Morality 3. Abandoning Suspicion: The Catholic Left and Sexuality/ Gene Burns 4. Resisting Catholic Sexual Teaching: Pro-Choice Advocacy and Homosexual Support Groups/ Mary Jo Weaver III. Academic Theology 5. Academic Theology: Why We Are Not What We Were/ Mary Ann Hinsdale and John Boyle IV. Liturgy, Ministry, and Spirituality 6. Progressive Approaches to Ministry/ Bernard Cooke 7. Call to Action: Engine of Lay Ministry/ Bernard Cooke 8. Worship in the Spirit: A Renewed Vision of Liturgy and Spirituality/ Bernard Cooke and Diana Hayes 9. A Ministry of Justice: The 25-Year Pilgrimage of NARW/ Anne E. Patrick V. Race and Ethnicity 10. Catholicism in the United States and the Problem of Diversity: The View from History/ John T. McGreevy 11. Strategies on the Left: Catholics and Race/ Gary Riebe Estrella 12. Representation and Reconstruction of Power: The Rise of PADRES and LasHermanas/ Tim Matovina 13. The Black Catholic Congress Movement: A Progressive Aspect of African American Catholicism/ Diana Hayes VI. Public Catholicism 14. What Happened to the Catholic Left?/ David O'Brien List of Contributors; Index
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