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The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America Paperback – October 5, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Clarity Press, Inc. (October 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932863639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932863638
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,231,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

" Betty Clermont helps us recall, in excruciating detail, a history of the U.S. Catholic right and its tremendous influence in the U.S. government since Ronald Reagan began forging ties with the Vatican. In vivid scene after scene, Ms. Clermont lets the documented facts tell the story, of how the American bishops diverted our money (not theirs) away from programs promoting social justice into political action that could only make Republicans smile. A darn well written study in the abuse of power by lordly bishops who rest assured because they rest assured." --ROBERT BLAIR KAISER covered Vatican II for Time magazine. He is the author of Cardinal Mahony: A Novel.

"Betty Clermont's The Neo Catholics tracks the links of Republican politics, big money and Catholic ideologues with a muckraker's zeal. Even those who do not share Clermont's every position will be pulled along by her relentless scrutiny of how the pro-life agenda turned into a hothouse for war-mongering and the endless money-hunt." --Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II and Lead Us Not into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children

"Betty Clermont's The Neo Catholics tracks the links of Republican politics, big money and Catholic ideologues with a muckraker's zeal. Even those who do not share Clermont's every position will be pulled along by her relentless scrutiny of how the pro-life agenda turned into a hothouse for war-mongering and the endless money-hunt." --Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II and Lead Us Not into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children

Offers a well-documented thesis that you have an explosive mixture when you mix a powerful hierarchical church with political neo-conservatism's elitist view that the rich and powerful always know what is best. This is what [Clermont] chronicles early in the work, explaining that fundamentalist theological leanings and ultra-conservative political ideology combined to create a Catholic Movement which was at ease working with rightwing Protestants. This coalition virtually created Ronald Reagan and set itself up as a bulwark against the purported liberalism, relativism and moral excess of liberals in the 1960s... These players were instrumental in finding common ground with the Protestant Religious Right, which was then assimilated into what Clermont calls "a common religious discourse, political sympathy and sense of priorities." This analysis is largely ignored in other works and represents the first eye-opener for even those who think they are well attuned to the machinations of right-wing dogmatists. A second major contribution is the extraordinarily detailed description of how the Catholic hierarchy, in Rome and in the United States, became deeply involved in the past three presidential campaigns...A third topic rarely covered in detail before is the strong neo-Catholic support for--and benefits received from--President Bush's Faith-Based Initiatives, his effort to give religious charities and even local churches federal dollars for their ostensibly secular programs dealing with hunger, homelessness, addiction and other social crises... The Neo-Catholics is a fine resource for persons interested and concerned about the unsettling union of church and state which always seems poised to enter the neighborhood--any neighborhood. She uses a dazzling array of sources and the endnotes are an invitation to further reading in this area." --Barry Lynn, Director of American United for the Separation of Church and State, reviewed in Conscience Magazine, September 2010

"Betty Clermont helps us recall, in excruciating detail, a history of the U.S. Catholic right and its tremendous influence in the U.S. government since Ronald Reagan began forging ties with the Vatican. In vivid scene after scene, Ms. Clermont lets the documented facts tell the story, of how the American bishops diverted our money (not theirs) away from programs promoting social justice into political action that could only make Republicans smile. A darn well written study in the abuse of power by lordly bishops who rest assured because they rest assured." --Robert Blair Kaiser, author of Cardinal Mahony: A Novel.

"Betty Clermont's The Neo Catholics tracks the links of Republican politics, big money and Catholic ideologues with a muckraker's zeal. Even those who do not share Clermont's every position will be pulled along by her relentless scrutiny of how the pro-life agenda turned into a hothouse for war-mongering and the endless money-hunt." --Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II and Lead Us Not into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children

"Now a new book lets us place the attack on CCHD in the larger context of a conspiracy by historic conservative lay groups within the Catholic Church, their allies in the Catholic hierarchy, and conservative Catholic business elites to defeat the welfare state, strengthen corporate power, and align public policy with socially conservative, individual morality theology. Author Betty Clermont, herself a lay Catholic and former employee of the Atlanta Diocese, makes this case in the Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America. It is well worth reading..." --Mike Miller, Social Policy

From the Publisher

Catholics are 24% of the American population, almost three times the number of the second largest religious group, Southern Baptists. They are a significant force in the US educational system, with 150,000 Catholic school teachers teaching 2.7 million students.

* There is no other book which traces the history of the alliance between the GOP and the Holy See and weaves their mutual ambitions for power and money into the narrative.
* While much has been written about the neo-conservatives and the Christian fundamentalists, there is little material on the pivotal role played by individual powerful Catholics and American Catholicism in establishing this alliance
* This book addresses the profound shift in Catholic social concerns which the neo-Catholics were able to establish, and as such should be of great interest to socially concerned Catholics and their numerous organizations.
* The efforts towards beatification of Pope John Paul II will stimulate much interest in the pontiff's deeds; this work will provide a critical counterpoint to the likely deluge of eulogies.

Customer Reviews

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The book by Clermont is well-written, scholarly and heavily footnoted.
William Hughes
This is a book that should be read by anyone who genuinely fears for the future of this nation, and realizes that voting--or NOT doing so--has consequences.
Karl logan
This book will help them understand this, particularly in contemporary America.
Proctor S. Burress, Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Karl logan on May 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've been paying attention to politics and current events at all in the last ten years, You've undoubtedly asked yourself at least a few of these questions:

* How in the name of God did America--once renowned as the bastion of Truth, Liberty, and Hope--fall so low into the pit of the Machiavellian NeoConservative pit of extreme political cynicism, lies-promulgated-as-Truth, and aggressive belligerence toward the rest of the world? How and why does a propaganda outlet like Fox "News" manage to consistently lie, mislead, spin, and distort "Truth", and why do Americans consistently surrender their intellectual curiosity and march in lockstep to the mendacious pipers?

* How in the name of God did traits like Morality and Integrity in both our political and religious leader become merely convenient slogans, but personal inconveniences which seems to be required of the common-man populace, yet not of they who would promulgate them most fiercely?

* How in the name of God could a nation once as forward-looking, technologically-progressive, and scientifically cutting-edge be seemingly marching backward into a fundamentalist-inspired, ideological darkness of conservative religiosity?

What if the answers to all of these questions was, ironically, "In the name of God"?

Betty Clermont writes a concise, well-researched manuscript which, quite frankly, will both horrify and anger you in both the scope of, and clarity by which she documents the origins and growth of the Vatican's inextricable involvement and entanglement in what are most surely the darkest instances and episodes of our nation's past 40 years, from the twilight of the Viet Nam war to the present day.

The format of the book is one of its strongest points.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
It's no secret the deeply religious tend to lean conservative. "The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America" analyzes the religious right and its powerful influence on American politics. 'Neo-Catholics' tends to bring together the ideas of orthodox Catholicism, some Protestant branches, and more and Betty Clermont discusses its influences, and how it shifted from having many liberal views in the early 1980s to being an icon of the Conservative right in America. "The Neo-Catholics" is an intriguing read that offers much insight in the twist of politics and religion.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Proctor S. Burress, Jr. on December 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ms Clermont has made a monumental effort from neither an apologetics nor formal academic perspective to capture what her Roman Catholic communion is about today. Her research appears to be meticulous and will be seen as daunting by casual readers. Many hours would be needed to check her facts and references and it should be done. The book title alone should motivate serious scholars to validate her study and assertions. This work portends serious and calamitous changes to the American experiment. For those here... 100 years from now... may well say, who said we would not, could not return to a previous and more backward age? All in the name of religious freedom!

This is a work for general students of religion, students of contemporary religio-political culture and religious historians. All should be disciplined and serious inquirers. Lutherans and others "swimming the Tiber" may wish to keep their swimsuits dry...for a time. Why? Because, if such a swim is seen as a devotional exercise to reach a religious center of perfection and doctrinal purity, they risk crashing on the historical rocks of fragmentation and human aggrandisement. This book will help them understand this, particularly in contemporary America.

As a source, Ms Clermont's work may suggest to many readers that the idea of one great undivided and universal Western religious tradition guided by a magisterium is indeed mythic. Sadly Latourette, Wilkens, Pelikan and others did not clearly tell us so. Apparently, such would have contravened their hopes not the facts. And the rest of us...in good faith...have always over looked all the splits of the orthodoxies in history. Such is exemplar of childish faith. Some of us need to put away "childish things" and work the problem as adults.
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Betty Clermont shows how the Neo-Cons, like the late Leon Strauss, a patron Saint of the Movement, taught that the masses need "to be led" and "pacified" by an elite. The populace, he insisted, require "strong leaders" to tell them what's good for them. Clermont explains how an Inner Sanctum, (a cabal of reactionaries), at the Vatican, bought into, and, implemented, Strauss' Neocon ideas. She argues that some of this clique belonged to that shadowy "P2 Masonic" outfit. They also had ties to the now defunct "Banco Ambrosiano," along with a "global network of anti-communists." The book charges that the Church in the U.S. abandoned its Social Justice agenda and its First Amendment duty to stay out of politics, and instead adopted a "Neo-Con" ideology. Under the guise of championing "Family Values," the book further claims that, via Right Wing intriguers at the Vatican, it has covertly supported the likes of arch-Free-Market looney, Ronald "The Deregulator" Reagan and that warmonger and congenital doofus--Dubya. This book may cause some of the faithful in the U.S. to question their allegiance to the Church and to its Right Wing politics, especially as their unemployment insurance runs out! Think--No more greenbacks in the collection plate! (Unemployment insurance! Isn't that an idea that came from those cursed Liberals?) The book by Clermont is well-written, scholarly and heavily footnoted. I highly recommend it.

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