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A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World Hardcover – March 25, 2008
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“Few elements of Catholic social teaching have been more forcefully stated, or more regularly ignored, than our calling to bring Christian teachings to bear on social, political, and economic issues. Anderson seeks to bring that message home.” (MARY ANN GLENDON, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University)
“Anderson artfully weaves theory and practice, giving us a rare specimen indeed: a practical guide for idealists.” (JOHN L. ALLEN JR., senior correspondent, National Catholic Reporter)
“Anderson has written a book brimming with insights into the transforming power of Christian faith. A Civilization of Love is both a call to personal holiness and a handbook for Catholics who are prepared to take seriously Christ’s command to his disciples to be ‘salt and light’ in the world.” (ROBERT P. GEORGE, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University)
By embracing the culture of life and standing with those most marginalized . . . Christians can change the tone and direction of our culture. Anderson demonstrates that we can come together on the centrality of loving and caring for others (San Francisco Examiner)
About the Author
As Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson is the leader of the world's largest fraternal organization of Catholic laymen. Named by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II to several Vatican commissions, Anderson is a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and the Pontifical Academy for Life, and is a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anderson begins with St. Paul's visit to Athens between 50 - 58 AD to illustrate how one person could begin to change a culture. The Greeks believed in many gods, but they had a shrine to an "unknown god." While this was primarily to make sure that they were not angering any gods that they might have forgotten, St. Paul used this as a jumping off point to begin to introduce them to the Judeo-Christian God. Anderson argues that "the responsibility of Christians in our own time remains as it was in Paul's - to radically transform culture, not by imposing values from above, but through a subtler yet more powerful process - living a vocation of love in the day-to-day reality of our lives."
Our world has become increasingly secular. A faith in God has been replaced by a faith in progress. The belief in a creator who has endowed us all with certain unalienable rights is falling by the wayside. "Human life is reduced to a meaning and purpose only in reference to this world, which is asking of this world something that it does not have the power to give." In contrast, Jesus' great commandment was to love God and one another.Read more ›
This vision of compassionate love as the catalyst for both vertical (human-God) and horizontal (human-human) relationships is as old as Christianity. Anderson draws on a diverse wealth of thinkers--for example, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Paul Ricoeur, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Robert Coles, Freud, Lao Tsu, Aquinas, and George Orwell--to argue for the vision's contemporary relevance. His defense is gracefully and judiciously written.
One of the outstanding qualities of Anderson's treatment is that he refrains from lapsing into a circle-the-wagons shrillness, a temptation into which many religious critics of modern secular culture fall. He makes it clear in his first chapter that he finds the "Whig version of history's" focus on material progress naively optimistic, and his subsequent examinations of education (Chapter 3), Christian humanism (Chapter 4), family (Chapter 5), globalization, work, and economics (Chapters 6 and 7), and right to life issues (Chapter 8) underscore his reservations about secularization.Read more ›
Yet Anderson seems to be up to something more, and that something more is evident almost immediately in the first pages of "A Civilization of Love." The polarity is only a starting point, rather than an apocalyptic call to arms - or a trumpet to sound retreat to the hills. Anderson is the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, so it is unsurprising to see him choose his title from a phrase by Pope John Paul II. Is it a throwaway? Is it an empty phrase? Is it an opposition - such as many have tried to draw - against the smaller "mustard seed" idea of the Church and Christianity of John Paul's successor, Benedict XVI?
The answer only becomes fully clear when Anderson reveals his working paradigm in his conclusion. Anderson latches on to three possible approaches of the Christian to society identified by twentieth century Protestant theologian H. Richard Niebuhr: 1) "Christ against culture," with Christ's message understood as a call to revolt against, or at least separate from, society; 2) "Christ of culture," an Enlightenment idea of Christianity as fully compatible with society, and Christ reduced merely to a great moral teacher; or 3) "Christ above culture" - the Christian message as engaged with, yet distinct from, the world. It is this last approach that Anderson embraces, and provides his thesis.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great insight on the knights of Columbus and the pope. But also how love is connected with.....
It has some exercises and honestly it makes you think of self improvements
This book is accessible for the average man, but also deep enough for a scholar.Published 15 months ago by BenedictusBooks&Media
Carl Anderson, The Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, wrote a hopeful book that is a good antidote to the current media climate of hatred, merciliness, violence, etc. Read morePublished on April 30, 2013 by James E. Egolf
This is the kind of book that I read one chapter a week. There is a frank discussion of philosophy inside and outside the Church followed by very practical tips about things we... Read morePublished on July 8, 2011 by Thereya
This was a good read. The sections discussing globalization and population control were especially interesting to me.Published on June 28, 2010 by J. Kehoe
This is a book that can literally help everyone. We need to find a way to love and live in community again. Read morePublished on August 2, 2009 by K. C. Curnow
"A Civilization of Love" by Carl Anderson,the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus,is an excellent tome about living the moral life and the promotion of social justice. Read morePublished on December 16, 2008 by Amaranth