American Catholic Religious Thought: The Shaping of a Theological and Social Tradition


As American Catholics and other Americans move into the twenty-first century it might be helpful to re-assess American Catholic religious and social thought during the past two centuries. Have American Catholics produced any creative theological responses to the issues and forces that confronted them over the past two centuries? Have they added anything worthwhile to the classical European formulations? Have they developed some of their own traditions that need critiques in our own day? In his introduction to this collection of original writings, Patrick Carey argues that American Catholics, from John Carroll to John Courtney Murray, have exhibited a fresh, vigorous ability to engage the great religious and social questions of their time in creative continuity with their inherited tradition and sometimes in capitulation to the culture in which they lived. Whether they were responding to the Enlightenment or to the Romantic mood, to the slavery and capitalism, to Modernism, to Neo-Scholasticism, or to twentieth-century problems of social justice, Catholic Americans have produced a stimulating theological commentary that is worth re-examining. This book has been designed to make that tradition on American Catholic thought more accessible. Included are the writings of leading figures: John England, Orestes Brownson, Isaac Hecker, Martin John Spalding, John Ireland, John Hughes, Dorothy Day, Virgil Michel, and others. Introduced by a major interpretive essay that traces the development of Catholic religious and social thinking in American, this work provides an outstanding resource to students of American Catholicism and American history.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • John England
  • Orestes A. Brownson
  • Isaac Thomas Hecker
  • Martin John Spalding
  • John Ireland
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Milwaukee
Publication year:
  • 2004


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