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Church, State, and Society: An Introduction to Catholic Social Doctrine (Catholic Moral Thought) Paperback – February 18, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. Brian Benestad is professor of theology at the University of Scranton and the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles published on Catholic social doctrine. He is editor of Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly.
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Product Details

  • Series: Catholic Moral Thought
  • Paperback: 500 pages
  • Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press (February 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813218012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813218014
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #491,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By James H. Toner on August 26, 2011
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Professor J. Brian Benestad, who teaches theology at the University of Scranton, has written a valuable book. The book is valuable because it is encyclopedic, orthodox, and well researched. Church, State, and Society is both companion to and expansion of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Quite effectively, Professor Benestad examines Catholic Social Doctribe (CSD) by analyzing it in four sections: the human person, the political community, and the common good; the Church, the family, and the Catholic University (and liberal education); the universal destination of goods and private property; and the international community and just war. I read the book from its beginning through its appendix (an astute commentary about Pope Benedict's encyclical Caritas in Veritate), but some may wish to read and study only certain chapters. Benestad is, I think, at his best in defending authentic liberal education; his defense extended even to his expressed concern about (and fair criticism of) a certain priest's rather limited understanding of the college experience as "practical" (see chapter 8). Benestad insists, sensibly, upon college learning as necessarily concerned with what we might call the "great conversation," not only about making a living but also making a life.
The text is too rich for me, in this space, to comment on many details, but I see as the central theme of the book Professor Benestad's conviction that what matters above all is our discernment of, and then commitment to, the theological and cardinal virtues which, he tells us, his students so rarely understand, at least when they matriculate.
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As someone who has been interested in Catholic social teaching for over 30 years I found this work to be of great interest. There has been a paucity of fresh material in recent years and Brian Benestad has gone a long way in bridging this gap. It covers the topic extensively and logically. His style is also very "reader friendly" especially for those who may not have a good background in the basis and relevance of Catholic social teaching to the modern world. I commend this work to anyone interested in the history, application and development of Catholic social teaching.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Achilles on December 15, 2011
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This excellent book could go a long way to clearing up much confusion in this dark age. The author successfully weaves the tapestry of Catholic Social Doctrine using the appropriate threads of the Great encyclicals from wise Popes as well as the ancient wisdom of Aristotle and Aquinas amongst many others. Mother Church when clothed by those who would weave Her garment of the invisible threads of liberation theology borrowed from Marx, Darwin, Freud and all others interested in rebuilding the Tower of Babel in our lifetime, is shamefully ill clad.

Would that our clergy will pick up this exceptional exposition of the True intentions of Mother Church's social teaching as we try to follow Christ's two most important commandments, love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul, and your neighbor as yourself. Dr. Benestad goes back to the 4 cardinal virtues and the 3 theological virtues. Sadly, access to a true understanding of these virtues has been obscured by modern thinking that encourages us to hold contradictory philosophies in our minds. Notions of justice have been so badly distorted in part by being reduced to a material dialectic that fulfills some deluded desire for lowest common denominator equality. Not until "Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other" (Ps. 85:14) will we have true justice and things in their proper order.

Fr. Schall write of the roots of "social justice" and explains that the term is redundant and irrelevant for those that know their history and that understand the virtue of justice. Justice is giving the other his due and is social in its roots. What is now called "social justice" is merely ideology rooted in worldly things, and as Dr.
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It's a good book. It's written clearly. It's an easy and informative read. I benefit from the time spent reading it.
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By Nathan on January 18, 2015
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Arrived on time and as expected.
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