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Catholicism

1. Brief Introduction
2. Religion and Politics Sections
3. A Short Introductory Course
4. Other Resource Materials
5. Recent Articles

See also Christianity

1. Brief Introduction:

Christianity split between East and West in 1054, and between Catholics and Protestants in 1517. In the face of the latter Protestant Reformation, Catholics launched their own Catholic Counter-Reformation at the Council of Trent (1545-63). In summoning that Council, Pope Paul III stressed that bishops reaffirm Catholic doctrine, while the emperor and some bishops emphasized the need for internal ecclesiastical reform. The Council did both. It reaffirmed Catholic doctrinal positions on Justification and on the Seven Sacraments, while providing for diocesan seminaries to train a new and, and hopefully less corrupt, clergy. The institutional model for this reform was monarchical, and the following centuries witnessed battles between the papacy and both Protestant and Catholic monarchies over the control of national Catholic churches. After significant persecution, Catholic growth in Anglo-American countries eventually proved the wisdom of at least parts of the Counter-Reformation strategy in service of Irish and other immigrants. As the British Empire and constitutional liberalism spread, so did the Catholic Church. Catholic monarchs and revolutionaries, however, wished to control the papacy.  In 1773 Catholic kings forced Pope Clement XIV to suppress his most loyal Counter-Reformation clergy, the Jesuits.

When Pope Pius VI condemned France’s Civil Constitution of the Clergy, Revolutionary troops marched into Italy and captured the pope, who died in captivity. Italian troops captured the Papal States in September 1870, leaving the church only the tiny Vatican City State. One month later, Pope Pius IX suspended the First Vatican Council, which had been meeting since the previous December. That Council declared papal infallibility at the very moment when the church seemed weakest politically. Gradually, however, the Catholic Church began to reexamine theology and scripture and, in light of new theological understandings, eventually embraced many currents of the modern world. This movement culminated in the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) in statements like The Declaration on Religious Liberty and The Church in the Modern World. Politically, the post-World War II papacy sponsored Christian Democracy, European Reunification, and eventually Ostpolitik. The election of the Polish Pope John Paul II also opened the way for greater church diplomatic and grassroots participation across the globe in the Cold War era. In general, Catholicism’s international orientation meant that it did better as an institution with the weakening of the state-based Westphalian system after World War I. In recent years, like Christianity as a whole, the Catholic Church has seen its majority shift to the developing countries of the Southern Hemisphere. This shift has already been partially reflected in church leadership positions.

2. Religion and Politics Sections:

“Religions of the Book: Historical Revelation, Scripture, Law, and Worldview” (pp. 92-95)

“Western Christianity and the Byzantine Empire” (pp. 98-101)

“The Protestant Reformation, Wars of Religion, and Secularism” (pp. 105-07)

“V. The West: Christianity, Secularization, and Immigration” (pp. 123-63)

“The Korean Peninsula: North-South Competition in the EMC Systems” (pp. 182-88)

“The Future of East Asia in the EMC Systems” (pp. 188-97)

“IX. Latin America: Indigenous Religions, Christianity, and Globalization” (pp. 260-94)

“Global Religious Dialogues and Political-Religious Alliances” (pp. 307-15)

3. A Short Introductory Course:

Reese offers a fine introduction to the ecclesiastical structure of the Catholic Church without losing sight of its spiritual core. Küng provides an excellent history of the Catholic tradition, especially in its early years. The collection of Bulman and Parrella focuses on the two major ecumenical councils of the last five hundred years, joining history with theology. Rausch discusses the theology of the church in comparison with Orthodox and Free Church traditions. Coleman and Ryan have brought together major contemporary commentators on Catholic Social Thought. Also see this site's entire entry on Catholic Social Thought in Section Five. For a one-volume treatment of ecclesiology, the theology of the Church, see McBrien (2008) below. For ecclesiology and ecumenical discussions, see Rausch (2003).

Reese, Thomas J. Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996).

Küng, Hans. The Catholic Church: A Short History (New York: The Modern Library, 2003).

Bulman, Raymond F., and Parrella, Frederick J., eds. From Trent to Vatican II: Historical and Theological Investigations (New York: Oxford, 2006).

Coleman, John A., and Ryan, William F. Globalization and Catholic Social Thought: Present Crisis, Future Hope (Toronto: Novalis, 2005).

4. Other Resource Materials:

Alberigo, Giuseppe. A Brief History of Vatican II (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2006).

Allen, John L., Jr. All the Pope’s Men: The Inside Story of How the Vatican Really Works (New York: Doubleday, 2004).

Allen, John L., Jr. Conclave: The Politics, Personalities, and Process of the Next Papal Election (New York: Doubleday Image, 2004).

Allen, John L., Jr. Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church (New York: Doubleday, 2005).

Allen, John L., Jr. Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger (New York: Continuum, 2005).

Brockey, Liam Matthew. Journey to the East: The Jesuit Mission to China, 1579-1724 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007). Review by John W. O’Malley (America, May 7, 2007).

Casanova, José, “Globalizing Catholicism and the Return to a ‘Universal’ Church,” Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber, and Piscatori, James, Transnational Religion and Fading States (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1997), 121-43.

Cunningham, Lawrence, ed. Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master: The Essential Writings (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1992).

Curry, Thomas J. Farewell to Christendom: The Future of Church and State in America (New York: Oxford, 2001).

D’Antonio, William V., Davidson, James D., Hoge, Dean R., and Gautier, Mary L. American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007). Fine summary of survey literature on the current state of American Catholic opinion. The previous three (1987, 1993, 1999) surveys are also briefly sumarized in the book. The authors focus on four generational cohorts, pre-Vatican (born -1940), Vatican (1941-60), post-Vatican (1961-78), and Millennial (1979-87).

Della Cava, Ralph, “Religious Resource Networks: Roman Catholic Philanthropy in Central and Eastern Europe,” Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber, and Piscatori, James, Transnational Religion and Fading States (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1997), 173-211.

Dulles, Avery, The Splendor of Faith: The Theological Vision of Pope John Paul II, 2nd ed. (New York: Crossroads, 2003).

Farmer, Paul. Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003). This doctor-public anthropologist writes of his experience with the lack of health care in developing countries, especially Haiti, Russia, and Chiapas (Chapter Three). For those interested in Catholicism, he discusses Liberation Theology in Chapter Five. Forward by Amartya Sen.

Hanson, Eric O. The Catholic Church in World Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987). This book covers the history and politics of the Catholic Church until just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. For a ten-point summary of the modern impact of the history of the Catholic Church, see “Conclusion: The Historical Perspective” (pp. 52-58).

Hehir, J. Bryan, “Papal Foreign Policy,” Foreign Policy 78 (Spring 1990): 26-48.

Hehir, J. Bryan, “The old church and the new Europe: charting the changes,” in Byrnes, Timothy A., and Katzenstein, Peter J., eds. Religion in an Expanding Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006). 
 
Heyer, Kristin E. Prophetic & Public: The Social Witness of U.S. Catholicism (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2006).
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Hervieu-Léger, “Faces of Catholic Transnationalism: In and Beyond France,” Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber, and Piscatori, James, Transnational Religion and Fading States (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1997), 104-20. Translated by Roger Gleason.

Hofmann, Paul. The Vatican’s Women: Female Influence at the Holy See (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002).

Ivereigh, Austen, ed. Unfinished Journey: The Church 40 Years After Vatican II (New York: Continuum, 2003).

Johnson, Elizabeth A. “Community on Earth as in Heaven: A Holy People and a Sacred Earth Together.” Santa Clara University Lecture Series, October 4, 1998.

Kohen, Arnold S. From the Place of the Dead: The Epic Struggles of Bishop Belo of East Timor (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999).

Küng, Hans. My Struggle for Freedom: Memoirs (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 2002).

Kung, Hans. Disputed Truth: Memoirs II (New York: Continuum, 2008).

Levine, Daniel H., and Stoll, David, “Bridging the Gap Between Empowerment and Power in Latin America,” Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber, and Piscatori, James, Transnational Religion and Fading States (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1997, 63-103).

Linkler, Damon. The Theocons: Secular America Under Seige (New York: Doubleday, 2006). Treatment of Conservative Catholic influence in the Republican Party.

Macy, Gary. "Diversity as Tradition," The Santa Clara Lecture, Vol. 14 (November 8, 2007). Macy (p. 29-30) argues that "the ecclesiastical structure created during the Gregorian Reform has run its course." "We are free, if we so choose, to honor the longer tradition of a lay church, a church that values all vocations, all ordines rather than placing all authority and all duties on one ordo, the priesthood." (p. 31)

Macy, Gary. The Hidden History of Women's Ordination: Female Clergy in the Medieval West (New York: Oxford, 2008).

Manuel, Paul Christopher, Reardon, Lawrence C., and Wilcox, eds. The Catholic Church and the Nation-State: Comparative Perspectives (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2006).

McBrien, Richard P. The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism (New York: HarperCollins, 2008). This is an excellent one-volume treatment of ecclesiology, the theology of the Church.

Noonan, John T., Jr., A Church That Can and Cannot Change: The Development of Catholic Moral Teaching (Notre Dame, In.: University of Notre Dame Press).

Philpott, Daniel, “The Catholic Wave,” Larry Diamond, Marc F. Plattner, and Philip J. Costopoulos, eds., World Religions and Democracy. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 2005), 102-16.

Ratzinger, Joseph. Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1998).

Rausch, Thomas P., Towards A Truly Catholic Church: An Ecclesiology for the Millennium (Collegeville, Mn.: Michael Glazer, 2003). A fine popular comparative ecclesiology, excellent background for ecumenical discussions with Protestants.

Steinfels, Peter, A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America, with a new afterword and agenda (New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2004). Very balanced presentation of the problematic of “irreversible decline or thoroughgoing transformation.” U.S. Catholicism facing twin transitions of leadership from Vatican II to later generational and clergy to lay leadership. Afterword with fourteen recommendations.

Vallier, Ivan, “The Catholic Church as a Transnational Organization,” in Keohane, Robert O. and Nye, Joseph F., Jr., eds. Transnational Relations and World Politics (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972).

WEBSITES:

BBC’s site on Christianity.

Site for Vatican correspondent John L. Allen's "All Things Catholic : Daily News and Updates".

The official Vatican website.

5. Recent Articles (a. Catholic Theology; b. Internal Catholic Issues; c. Catholic Transnationalism; d. Vatican and Papal External Initiatives):

a. Catholic Theology

See the voluminous media coverage during March and April 2005 at the time of the papal transition from John Paul II to Benedict XVI. The Tablet (April 9, 2005): 22-23 has a very useful summary of the most important encyclicals of John Paul II and a list of all his foreign trips with their dates. See entries on various regions and countries for trips of Benedict XVI to, for example, Germany, Turkey, Latin America, the United States, and Australia. Note than on February 28, 2008, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone met with new Cuban leader Raul Castro to mark the tenth anniversary of John XXIII's visit to the island. Both leaders expressed hope for better relations, but no new concrete promises or policies were broached.

"Saved by Hope: Insights from Pope Benedict's new encyclical," America, January 21, 2008, article by theologian Gerald O'Collins, S.J. Fine appreciation of  encyclical on Hope by Benedict XVI.

"Catholic theology since Vatican II," article by theologian Roger Haight, S.J., America, March 17, 2008, summarizing theological changes, from "The Turn to Experience" (Rahner), to "Historical and Political Theology" (Schillebeeckx, Metz, and Tracy),  to Liberation Theology (Gutierrez, Segundo, Sobrino, Ellacuria), to Developing Theologies (Johnson, Copeland, Aquino, Espin, Phan), to Bilateral Dialogues (ecumenical theologians), to Inculturation in Africa and Asia, to Comparative Theology (Dulles, Knitter, Clooney), to "Cosmologically Sensitive Theology" (Toolan, Haught, Edwards). He gives eleven lessons from this development and asks about future developments in terms of the relationship of the Creed to the contemporary West (its inculturation) and the role of Catholic spirituality in the global human dialogue.

b. Internal Catholic Issues

"The Triumph of Evangelical Catholicism," National Catholic Reporter article by John L. Allen, Jr., August 31, 2007. Allen comments on "twin blows for traditional Catholic identity": a papal law allowing priests to celebrate the Latin mass without the permission of the local bishop; and CDF declaration that the church of Christ "subsists in" the visible Catholic Church in a way it does not in Protestant "ecclesial communities" which may only have "elements" of the church. Allen states that evangelical Catholicism is marked by emphasis on central authority, the centrality of key doctrines, and Catholic exclusivity and missionary outreach.

"Pope names 23 new cardinals, Indian archbishop the only Asian," Asia Focus, October 26, 2007. An Asian outlook on the October 2007 appointments to cardinal.

"Pope Embraces 4 Rebel Bishops," New York Times, January 25, 2009. Pope revoked excommunication of four traditionalist bishops of Society of St. Pius X. One turned out to be a Holocaust denier and Benedict then reaffirmed the Holocaust and expressed solidarity with Jews. For that part of the story, see New York Times, January 29, 2009.

"The man at the center of the storms," National Catholic Reporter, October 30, 2009. John Allen on Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rode, head of Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. He directs two highly controversial investigations, into American women religious and into the Legionaries of Christ.

c. Catholic Transnationalism

"Sant'Egidio: Linking friendship and service in world-changing ways," National Catholic Reporter, May 16, 2008. Cover story on fortieth anniversary of this Catholic NGO.

d. Vatican and Papal External Initiatives

“Pope Seeks Forgiveness for Errors of the Church Over 2,000 Years,” New York Times, March 13, 2000. Coverage of millennial ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica. There is also an op-ed on the event by Gustav Niebuhr in the previous day’s New York Times.

“The Pope’s real enemy. Cross Purposes,” op-ed by Damon Linker, The New Republic, November 13, 2006. Criticism of Benedict XVI’s analysis of religion and European secularism.

"Catholic efforts bolster U.N. resolution," National Catholic Reporter, January 11, 2008. The efforts of the Vatican and Catholic countries in support of global death penalty moritorium. The principal nongovernmental organization was the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, composed of 64 organizations throughout the world, founded in Rome in 2002 under the auspices of Sant'Egidio. Eight of the ten nations coauthoring the resolution were majority Catholic nations. The Vatican and the Philippines rejected Egypt's attempt to add a "killer" antiabortion amendment. The resolution does not, however, compel those nations practicing capital punishment to desist. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called it "further evidence of a trend towards ultimately abolishing the death penalty."

"Vatican Opens New Dialogue With Muslims," New York Times, March 6, 2008. Vatican response to letter from 138 Muslim scholars (see this site's entry on Islam). The first meeting, a seminar called "Love of God, Love of Neighbor" took place in Rome in November.

"Catholic theology since Vatican II," article by theologian Roger Haight, S.J., America, March 17, 2008, summarizing theological changes, from "The Turn to Experience" (Rahner), to "Historical and Political Theology" (Schillebeeckx, Metz, and Tracy),  to Liberation Theology (Gutierrez, Segundo, Sobrino, Ellacuria), to Developing Theologies (Johnson, Copeland, Aquino, Espin, Phan), to Bilateral Dialogues (ecumenical theologians), to Inculturation in Africa and Asia, to Comparative Theology (Dulles, Knitter, Clooney), to "Cosmologically Sensitive Theology" (Toolan, Haught, Edwards). He gives eleven lessons from this development and asks about future developments in terms of the relationship of the Creed to the contemporary West (its inculturation) and the role of Catholic spirituality in the global human dialogue.

"Vatican Dismisses bin Laden Accusation of 'Crusade'", New York Times, March 21, 2008. Rejection of charge in audiotape addressed to "the intelligent ones in the European Union" and posted that week.

"Novelty in Continuity: Pope Benedict's Interpretation of Vatican II," America, February 2, 2009. Article by Church historian Joseph A. Komonchak on Pope Benedict's December 22, 2005 comments on the 40th anniversary of the close of Vatican II. The issue of discontinuity-reform is central to the interpretation of the Council.

"Pope Urges Angolans to Help the Poor, Respect Rights and Embrace Democracy," New York Times, March 21, 2009. Benedict visits Angola and Cameroon, March 17-23. See also the summary by John L. Allen, Jr. in National Catholic Reporter, April 3, 2009.

"U.S. Bishops and Vatican View Obama Differently," New York Times, July 10, 2009. The issues surrounding the June 29th encyclical Caritas in Veritate (see Catholic Social Thought), the G8 meeting in Italy, and Obama's visit with the Pope. At the time, Cardinal Georges Cottier, John Paul's theologian, defended the president by giving interviews on Obama's speeches at Notre Dame (May 17) and Cairo's Al-Azhar University (June 4).

List of other Religions

November 12, 2009.