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Bright Promise, Failed Community: Catholics and the American Public Order [Paperback]

By Joseph A. Varacalli (Author)
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Item description for Bright Promise, Failed Community: Catholics and the American Public Order by Joseph A. Varacalli...

In Bright Promise, Failed Community, respected Catholic sociologist Joseph Varacalli describes how and why Catholic America has essentially failed to shape the American Republic in any significant way. American society has never experienced a 'Catholic moment' the closest it came was during the immediate post-World War II era nor is it now close to approximating one. Varacalli identifies as the cause of the current situation the 'failed community' of Catholic America: an ineffective and dissent-ridden set of organizational arrangements that has not succeeded in adequately communicating the social doctrine of the Church to Catholic Americans or to the key idea-generating sectors of American life. The 'bright promise' of Catholic America lies in the long and still developing tradition of social Catholicism. With a revitalized, orthodox, sophisticated community to serve as the carrier of Catholic social doctrine, Varacalli sees trends of thought that would propose viable alternatives to philosophies and ideologies that currently dominate the American public sphere-ones that would thus have a formidable impact on American society."

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Lexington Books
Pages   152
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.92" Width: 5.86" Height: 0.36"
Weight:   0.48 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2002
Publisher   Lexington Books
ISBN  0739102923  
ISBN13  9780739102923  

Availability  113 units.
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More About Joseph A. Varacalli

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JOSEPH A. VARACALLI is State University of New York Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Nassau Community College-SUNY. He is the co-founder of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists.

Joseph A. Varacalli has published or released items in the following series...

  1. American Religious Experience

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about Bright Promise, Failed Community: Catholics and the American Public Order?

Refreshing Catholic Sociology  Dec 24, 2003
Prof. Varacalli provides a refreshing alternative to the dismal and unfocused sociology of Andrew Greeley. While Greeley redefines Catholicism through opinion surveys, Varacalli assumes the objective, orthodox definition of Catholicism as the starting point of his analysis. The end result is not the fictional "folk" Catholicism of Andrew Greeley in which being Catholic becomes less a religion and more an ethnic/cultural identity, but rather a realistic appraisal and description of the crisis within the Catholic Church in the United States.

While Greeley basis his Catholic identity on a love for warm and fuzzy Catholic "stories"-- without making clear how many, if any, of the stories he views as historically true--Varacalli provides a prescription for re-evangelizing American culture with unequivocal Catholic truth. Varacalli's book helps to rehabilitate a sociology of Catholicism which too often has degenerated into vapid and imprecise liberal musings.

Sociology at Its Best!  Aug 21, 2000
Dr. Varacalli has written the most incisive and informative analysis of the state of the Catholic Church in the United States over the last forty years, especially regarding the issue of the impact of Catholic social doctrine. His sociology of knowledge framework represents the discipline at its best! I have used with great profit BRIGHT PROMISE, FAILED COMMUNITY: CATHOLICS AND THE AMERICAN PUBLIC ORDER as a required text in my American Catholics course; I will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Donald J. D'Elia, Ph.D. Professor of History State University of New York New Paltz
Catholic Social Teaching and the American Public Square  Apr 3, 2000
In this lucidly written, intellectually lively, and politically provocative volume, author Joseph A. Varacalli offers his explanation as to why the "bright promise" of Catholic Social Teaching has not been widely accepted and received favorably in the American Republic. In short, he argues that two dialectically related factors account for this rejection/indifference. They are (1) an uncongenial American value system (first Protestant, then secular) and (2) the"failed community" of Catholic America, i.e., an ineffective and dissent-ridden set of organized and institutionalized arrangements that have been unable to carry successfully the message contained within Catholic social doctrine. Varacalli's understanding of the contemporary state of the Catholic Church stands in a line of succession of analyses put forth by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Monsignor George A. Kelly and James Hitchcock. Conversely put, his analysis throws a gauntlet in the face of the dominant liberal faction that basically has controlled the United States Catholic Church since Vatican II. Whether or not one agrees with Varacalli's analysis, he has put forward a serious intellectual, moral and religious challenge to those who defend the present situation in the Catholic Church of the United States. Of note is that the volume starts off with a useful forward written by political scientist Stephen M. Krason (of Franciscan University), who along with Varacalli founded the Society of Catholic Social Scientists in 1992. Varacalli's analysis is consistent with the dual mission of the Society, namely, to integrate Catholic Social Thought into social scientific analysis and to attempt to shape the American and the international public square with an authentic Catholic presence.

Department of Sociology, Seton Hall University


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