Debating God's Economy: Social Justice In America On The Eve Of Vatican Ii by Craig PrentissDebating God's Economy: Social Justice In America On The Eve Of Vatican Ii by Craig Prentiss

Debating God's Economy: Social Justice In America On The Eve Of Vatican Ii

byCraig Prentiss

Paperback | February 28, 2013

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What would a divinely ordained social order look like? Pre–Vatican II Catholics, from archbishops and theologians to Catholic union workers and laborers on U.S. farms, argued repeatedly about this in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Debating God’s Economy is a history of American Catholic economic debates taking place during the generation preceding Vatican II. At that time, American society was rife with sociopolitical debates over the relative merits and dangers of Marxism, capitalism, and socialism; labor unions, class consciousness, and economic power were the watchwords of the day. This was a time of immense social change, and, especially in the light of the monumental social and economic upheavals in Russia and Europe in the early twentieth century, Catholics found themselves taking sides. Catholic subcultures across America sought to legitimize—or, in theological parlance, “sanctify”—diverse economic systems that were, at times, mutually exclusive. While until now the faithful—both scholars and nonscholars—have typically spoken of “the Catholic Social Tradition” as if it were an established prescription for curing social ills, Prentiss maintains that the tradition is better understood as a debate grounded in a common mythology that provides Catholics with a distinctive vocabulary and touchstone of authority.

Craig Prentiss is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, and editor of Religion and the Creation of Race and Ethnicity: An Introduction (2003).
Title:Debating God's Economy: Social Justice In America On The Eve Of Vatican IiFormat:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 8.98 × 6 × 0.67 inPublished:February 28, 2013Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271058765

ISBN - 13:9780271058764


Table of Contents


List of Acronyms



1. The Encyclicals

2. Sanctifying Life on the Land

3. Sanctifying Industrial Labor

4. Sanctifying American Capitalism

5. Catholics and Right-to-Work Laws

6. Industry Councils




Editorial Reviews

“This book presents an excellent history, much of it from original sources, of some of the main institutional dialogues or approaches from this time. Those in search of a readable, balanced history of this lively era of American Catholic life could hardly do better than this book.”

—Paul Sullins, Journal of Religion