Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Prophet of the Christian Social Manifesto: Joseph Husslein, S.J.: His Life, Work, & Social Thought

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Prophet of the Christian Social Manifesto: Joseph Husslein, S.J.: His Life, Work, & Social Thought

Article excerpt

Prophet of the Christian Social Manifesto: Joseph Husslein, S.J.: His Life, Work, & Social Thought. By Stephen A. Werner. [Marquette Studies in Theology, No. 24.] (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press. 2001. Pp. 187. $20.00 paperback.)

Joseph Husslein, S.J. (1873-1952), was a prolific writer on Catholic social thought, an editor of the Jesuit journal, America, author of devotional works, creator and editor of "A University in Print" (see ante LXXXVII [October, 2001], 688-705), and founder of the School of Social Sciences at Saint Louis University.

This slim volume sketches Husslein's life and then devotes most of the text to an exploration of his social thought. Werner clusters Husslein's writing by themes including socialism, capitalism, an alternative to capitalism that he called democratic industry, and cooperatives. Given the brevity of this publication, Werner devotes a painful amount of space to Husslein's "A Catholic Social Platform" that was adopted by the Catholic Social Guild in Great Britain. He cites all of its sixty social principles, sometimes with and too often without significant commentary or interpretation.

Husslein's publications on Catholic social thought were eclipsed by the work of other writers-including such men as John A. Ryan and Peter E. Dietz. There were many reasons for this, not the least of which was the contrast between the practical, action-oriented approach of the latter and the more theoretical and sometimes naïve Husslein. Nevertheless, Husslein's contributions warrant exploration and this book by Stephen A. Werner is a welcome addition to the literature.

Virtually everything that Husslein wrote drew upon Pope Leo XIII's profoundly influential encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891). …

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