Friday, August 17, 2007

Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought Published

Hooray! It's finally here! The full title is Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy. Some of my homies worked on the two volume set, my man big Mike and my bro-in-law, Merlin, who edited all 1192 pages and did the piece on eschatology which I was able to read before the publishing date.

Miller Time, guys.

Here's the press release Dr. Coulter sent me:

Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought Published

Scarecrow Press, a division of Rowman and Littlefield, has published the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science and Social Policy. The co-editors of this work, which took 6 years to complete, are Dr. Michael Coulter (Grove City College), Stephen M. Krason (Franciscan University of Steubenville), Richard S. Myers (Ave Maria School of Law), and Joseph A. Varacalli (Nassau Community College-S.U.N.Y.). The Encyclopedia, which is nearly 1200 pages, is published in 2 volumes and is available from the publisher’s website,

With over 800 topics from nearly 300 contributors and over 1.2 million words, the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science and Social Policy is a comprehensive introduction to Catholic social thought. It combines theoretical work on important topics and scholarly disciplines (e.g., economics, moral theology, natural law, philosophy, psychology); social science perspectives on a variety of topics (e.g., alcoholism and drug abuse, forgiveness and mercy, globalization); and treatment of practical policy implications that flow from applying the Catholic religious, moral, and intellectual tradition to contemporary issues (e.g., abortion, assisted suicide, immigration policy, school choice, torture).

“Our aim in producing this work was to produce a clear, accurate and comprehensive reference work on Catholic social teaching,” said Coulter. “We wanted to produce a single source for understanding the church documents that contain social teaching, the key figures from the early church to the present who have shaped that teaching, and significant issues ranging from abortion to war related to that social teaching.”

The book reflects a broad range of Catholic thought that is international in scope, but with an emphasis on the American situation. Its interdisciplinary approach offers insights from a variety of perspectives: theological, philosophical, historical, economical, sociological, political science, psychological, social services, and law. The work will appeal to individuals who want a clear and accurate introduction to Catholic social thought and a Catholic-informed social science and social policy.

Some of the prominent contributors include Cardinal George Pell (Sydney, Australia), Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace), Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio (Brooklyn, New York), Bishop J. Michael Miller (Congregation for Catholic Education), Father C. John McCloskey (Faith and Reason Institute), Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard Law School), James Hitchcock (St. Louis University), William E. May (John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage & Family), Father Francis Canavan SJ (Fordham), Father Joseph Koterski SJ (Fordham), Charles Rice (Notre Dame Law School), Ronald Rychlak (University of Mississippi School of Law), and Paul Vitz (Institute for the Psychological Sciences).

“This would be an excellent reference work for college, high school and even community libraries and those interested in the intersection of religion and social science would enjoy the work,” said Coulter.

Cheap Grace Indeed

Commenter M_David has this to say in response to Rod's best wishes to Andrew Sullivan on the occasion of his wedding:

I must agree with Pauli here; not about Maria, but the whole concept of how we can never reduce people to their opinions on moral issues. This is true, but in this case selectively done.

Let's see a blog post on, "Oh, the humanity of all those racists and neo-Nazis! Not to mention those gentle souls who support the rights [to] man-boy love! And those poor misunderstood Catholic bishops! We can disagree, but let's get a group hug."

Oh, wait. I'm in the wrong decade. I really meant we shouldn't reduce abortionists, their supporters, and the like to their political opinions. Heck, it's only 40 million, let's all get along. Besides, it's so hard to keep up with what sins are "in" these days.

Summary: let's talk about loving those people who are not held in such high esteem by the culture at large (HINT: this does not include homosexuals), and then I'll buy the farm. Until then, it sounds like cheap grace.

Posted by: M_David | August 17, 2007 5:10 PM

It is funny that regular Joe-conservative is often accused of pulling out the "9/11 card" to justify the war in Iraq, the horrible Patriot Act and other supposed American atrocities. But in Rod's aforementioned post we learn that it can be used to justify, at least provisionally, those "alternative lifestyles":

The humanity that unites us is more important, in the end, than what divides us. The gay writer Dan Savage and I used to go at each other hammer and tongs, but on September 12, 2001, I showed up at my desk in Manhattan and found I'd received a message from him, asking if I was OK, saying he hoped I was OK, and that I was in his thoughts. That made a big impression on me, and I was deeply grateful for it. I remember being so incandescently angry at Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson in the 9/11 aftermath, when they blamed gays and lesbians in part for 9/11, because it was such an inhuman thing to have said. I was spending those days on the streets, and on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, with gay people and everybody else in NYC, lighting candles, crying and mourning. In that most dramatic moment in our individual and collective lives, all of us seemed to understand and grasp our essential unity in our shared humanity.

Way to slam "arch-Christianists", Falwell and Robertson! Good grief, let it go, Rod! A "wise man" once said that to me about "living to be offended".

I'll let you all take the discussion from here.

Jackie Mason has a blog!

I'm a little late on the news here. But I highly recommend Jackie's blog just in case you really like to laugh. Or if you're not offended enough by my blog.

So "write that down".

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

OH YEAH!! Ya look like a bunch o' dames....

But what a great tune, huh?

Who cares if "soothing" doesn't rhyme with "grooving". After reading the wikipedia entry on The Sweet and watching this video I can't believe this band wasn't one of the many informing the movie Spinal Tap. That little wink put me in mind of the hilarious "Flower People" tune from Spinal Tap's "psychedelic phase". Fave line from the article: "This dichotomy of bubblegum A-sides and heavy rock B-sides only served to confuse their teenage fan following." We wouldn't want to have rock bands doing anything which would confuse teenagers, now would we?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Changing Public Opinion on the Iraq War

Michael Barone wrote this thoughtful post almost a week ago. Excerpt:

Now, there's additional evidence for the progress of the surge in this Associated Press report and of a turn in opinion from the Gallup/USA Today poll. Respondents were asked whether the increased number of troops was "making the situation better" or "not making much difference."

Last month the balance of opinion was decidedly negative, 22 to 51 percent. Now it is significantly less negative, 31 to 41 percent. (The number saying it was making the situation worse was a statistically identical 24 and 25 percent in the two polls. Yes, I know that that's still a negative score. But remember, as I pointed out in my column, that the median state and median congressional district as measured by 2004 voting was more Republican than the nation as a whole. That's because George W. Bush carried 31 of the 50 states and 255 of the 435 congressional districts. A couple of polls don't establish definitively that opinion on the surge is moving in a positive direction. But it's evidence that it may be. We need to keep watching.)

A few days later, he notes that several Democrats, including Dick Durbin who's fairly partisan, are making sure to acknowledge progress in Iraq even though they usually criticize things like President Bush, the Iraqi parliament, President Bush and other well-chosen targets including President Bush.

Here's my take on all of this posturing: if you want to be against the Iraq war, be against it regardless of how the "surge" is going. In a sense, someone who's against it should either not care how the war turns out OR they should hope the bad guys lose so we can come home sooner. People who predict defeat for America and, indeed, who really hope for defeat to achieve a "see, I told you so" moment have shot their credibility on speaking to the morality or immorality of the war. If they have some good explanation of why it was wrong to go into Iraq, that has been totally eclipsed by their "well, we're losing now anyway" mantra.

I'll say it straight out, I'm for the war and I hope we win. I respect you if you're against the war, but not if you hope we lose. Sorry.