Being Right: Conservative Catholics in America

Weaver, Mary Jo, and R. Appleby, Scott, eds. Being Right: Conservative Catholics in America. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995.

In the introduction to Being Right, "Who are the Conservative Catholics?", Mary Jo Weaver highlights two issues of particular concern to conservative Catholics: the implementation of the Second Vatican Council and the reception of Humanae Vitae. She also emphasizes that most conservative Catholics regard their outlooks and practices as "normative," and thus in little need of explanation. The first section of the volume, "Contexts," contains four essays describing the historical and ecclesiastical settings in which divisions between conservative and liberal Catholics developed. Joseph A. Komonchak outlines three versions of Catholic interpretation of the Second Vatican Council: "traditionalist," "progressive," and "reformist." R. Scott Appleby chronicles how Americanism was "decoupled" from modernism during the course of the twentieth century and points out that conservative and liberal Catholics share some common ground in their acceptance of American political principles. Benedict M. Ashley, O. P. identifies the Second Vatican Council's endorsement of theological "pluralism" as the greatest cause of divisions between conservative and liberals. Finally, Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J. argues that conservative and liberal categories do not apply well to Hispanic Catholics and suggests that their experience provides a perspective transcending the conservative-liberal dichotomy. In the second section, "Insider Perspectives," James A. Sullivan writes about Catholics United for the Faith, George Weigel describes the origins and goals of the neoconservative movement, Helen Hull Hitchcock discusses Women for Faith and Family, and James Hitchcock treats the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. The final part of the book, "Outsider Perspectives," consists of essays by scholars from a variety of disciplines on conservative Catholic movements and institutions. Sandra L. Zimdars-Swartz addresses the Marian revival, William D. Dinges describes the Traditionalist movement, Michael W. Cuneo chronicles the rise of Catholic pro-life militancy, and Mary Jo Weaver discusses alternative Catholic colleges. In the epilogue, "What Difference Do They Make?", R. Scott Appleby identifies traits common to conservative Catholics, distinguishes between "world-renouncers" and those who could potentially serve as "world-transformers "and suggests that the future survival of conservative Catholicism depends on the efforts of the "world-transformers."

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