Good Intentions: A Selected Bibliography

October 23rd, 2018

The 2016 presidential election was unlike any other in American history. Polls tell us that millions of American Catholics who care about moral issues and who descended from immigrants supported Donald Trump. Why didn’t Trump’s rhetoric on immigration and his promises to close the borders trouble more American Catholics? Despite his own vulgar behavior, his unconcealed selfishness, or his still-recent support for abortion rights, why were some serious Catholics drawn to Trump? In Good Intentions Steven P. Millies uncovers the history of how American Catholics came to this. More than that, Good Intentions offers an explanation for why Catholics behaved the way they did in 2016 with some practical reflections about how to put Catholic faith to better use in American politics. Steven will discuss Good Intentions: A History of Catholic Voters' Road from Roe to Trump on Tuesday, 10/30, 6pm at the Co-op.

Catholicism and Citizenship: Political Cultures of the Church in the Twenty-First Century, by Massimo Faggioli - Faggioli is one of the most astute observers of the global Catholic church working today. As a church historian, he has an extraordinary command of the church's theological 'inside baseball,' yet his concerns always extend beyond the sanctuary walls to how Catholicism meets the world. This is the book where those two strands of his work come together.

Law's Virtues: Fostering Autonomy and Solidarity in American Society, by Cathleen Kaveny - Kaveny is my favorite sort of scholar. Her command of two vast fields of inquiry--law and theology--brings her work to a level that puts her in very rare company, and it is difficult to recommend only one of her books. Prophecy without Contempt and A Culture of Engagement also deserve attention.

American Catholicism, by John Tracy Ellis - Ellis was the dean of American Catholic historians, and the influence of his efforts to understand the role Catholics have played in the United States would be difficult to overstate. This particular book is the classic text, but all of Ellis's work really demands attention from anyone who wants to understand why American Catholics think and behave in the way they do.

Catholics and Politics: The Dynamic Tension between Faith and Power, by Kristin E. Heyer, Mark J. Rozell, and Michael A. Genovese (eds.) - The "Catholic vote" has been an elusive obsession of American political observers for decades. Generally, American Catholics behave just like other voters except when they don't. This collection of essays examined the question in 2008, shortly after the Bush 2004 campaign's Catholic outreach attempted to deploy Catholic and evangelical voters together, and its purposefully interdisciplinary perspective provides the foundation for its success.

We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition, by John Courtney Murray, SJ - American Jesuit Fr. John Courtney Murray was silenced by the Vatican after he attempted to reconcile Catholic theology with religious freedom in the 1940's and 1950's. By 1965, Murray was completely vindicated when he became the principal intellectual force behind Vatican II's Declaration on Religious Freedom and the Catholic church accepted religious pluralism. We Hold These Truths is a collection of Murray's essays on the subject, and is his best known work.

About Steven Millies: Steven P. Millies is associate professor of public theology and director of The Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He studied politics at The Catholic University of America and has written widely about Catholicism and American politics. He is the author of Joseph Bernardin: Seeking Common Ground (Liturgical Press).

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