A Nation for All How the Catholic Vision of the Common Good Can Save America from the Politics of Division

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-06-17
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass

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On the eve of the most important presidential election in decades, A NATION FOR ALL sounds the trumpet to the tens of millions of U.S. Catholics who have refused to buy the notion that people of faith must subscribe to the narrow agenda of the far right. By shining the light of authentic Catholic teaching on pressing contemporary concerns like war, human dignity, poverty, and the looming global climate crisis, this book shows Catholics how their own faith tradition calls them to tackle a sweeping array of issues commonly left out of the faith and politics dialog. Most important, A NATION FOR ALL demonstrates how the core Catholic and Christian belief in promoting the common good can provide Americans of all faith traditions with a much-needed solution to the downward spiral of greed, materialism, and excessive individualism.

Author Biography

Chris Korzen is co-founder and executive director of Catholics United. He served as executive director of the Catholic Voting Project in 2004 and 2005 after working as an organizer with the Service Employees International Union and Pax Christi USA.

Alexia Kelley is a principal founder and executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. She has served in diverse capacities with nongovernmental organizations committed to poverty reduction, social justice, and the environment. For nearly a decade, she worked in media, outreach, and development at the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Catholic Church's national anti-poverty program.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. vii

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

1. The Common Good 1
Origins of the Common Good 3
A Catholic Vision of the Common Good 4
Restoring the Common Good 9
Challenges to the Common Good 9
Building a Culture of the Common Good 10
Rebuilding the Common Good for Our Families, Jobs, and Environment 14

2. The Catholic Social Tradition 19
Surprising or Familiar? 20
Key Themes of the Catholic Social Tradition 23
The Dignity of the Human Person 24
The Common Good 24
Solidarity 25
Subsidiarity 25
The Preferential Option for the Poor 26
The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers 26
Rights, Responsibilities, Participation 27
Universal Destination of Goods 27
Stewardship of God’s Creation 28
Peace 28
Popes and Principles 29
TheWorkers' Pope: Leo XIII 29
The Social Justice Pope: Pius XI 31
A Pope for the Common Good: John XXIII 32
Engaging the World: Vatican II 33
The Human Development Pope: Paul VI 34
The Life and Social Justice Pope: John Paul II 35
The Pope of Love and Hope: Benedict XVI 37
Living the Catholic Social Tradition 39

3. Church and State 43
The Truth About Separation 46
A Place for Faith 48
The Importance of Compromise 51
Church and State in the Catholic Tradition 53
Political Compromise and the Culture of Life 57

4. Voting Catholic 65
Catholics and the Religious Right 67
Theology and the Politics of Division 73
Voting for the Common Good 78
Inform Your Conscience 79
Use Prudence 79
Vote for the Common Good 80
Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 81

5. An Agenda for the Common Good 83
Poverty: The Root of All Problems 86
Abortion 92
The Global Climate Crisis 96
Health Care 98
War 100
Immigration 102

6. Practicing the Common Good 105
Conviction or Cowardice? 109
Civility or Destruction? 112
Compromise or Disengagement? 115
Persuasion or Coercion? 118
Faith, Politics, and the Future of America 119
Resources on Catholic Social Teaching and the Common Good 125
Election Day Checklist 137

The Authors 139

Index 141

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