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Liturgical Press

From the Heart of the Church

The Catholic Social Tradition

Judith A. Merkle, SNDdeN

From the Heart of the Church
From the Heart of the Church

ISBN: 9780814651117, 5111

Details: 288 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 06/01/2004

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The Catholic social tradition is one of thinking and acting. Within this tradition stand the social encyclicals as unique manifestations of the Church's ethical intuition and commitment to the Gospel as lived in society. From the Heart of the Church provides a view of the social encyclical tradition within a broader understanding of Catholic theology.

In From the Heart of the Church, Judith Merkle, SNDdeN, examines the social teaching of the Church since Leo XIII from the perspective of its links to the Church and its life. While the social encyclicals of the popes since Leo XIII form a key expression of the social teachings of the Church in the last century, this book also explores the roots of these teachings in the life and theology of the Church today.

Chapters in Part One: Foundations are "Social Teaching: A Message Lived or Professed?” ”The Faith to Walk,” ”Spirituality for the World,” and ”The Church in Society.” Chapters in Part Two: The Catholic Social Tradition are ”Social Teaching Before Vatican II,” ”Social Teaching of John XXIII and Paul VI,” ”Political Theology,” ”Liberation Theology,” ”Social Catholicism After Vatican II,” and "Social Teaching of John Paul II.” Part Three: The Future of the Catholic Social Tradition includes ”Communities Formed in the Heart of the Church: A Thought Experiment.”

Judith A. Merkle, SNDdeN, PhD, is associate professor of religious studies at Niagara University, New York. She writes and lectures in the area of Church and society, religious life, and Christian ethics. She is the author of Committed by Choice and A Different Touch: A Study of Vows in Religious Life published by Liturgical Press.


Judith Merkle writes not only for Catholics but for all those who are interested in a spirituality that does justice.
Theology Digest

This is a most satisfying book . . . Those looking for an excellent text for undergraduates and master's candidates need look no further.
Thomas A. Shannon, Worchester Polytechnic Institute

. . . one of the best works on the Catholic social thought that I have had the privilege to read. . . . I enthusiastically recommend From the Heart of the Church for college and seminary courses on Catholic social thought. Ordained and lay ministers would also benefit immensely from a careful perusal of it.
Catholic Studies

This book will help pastors, theologians, and laypersons come to a more informed understanding of Catholic social thinking and acting. It should also stimulate and encourage Lutheran efforts to participate in the ongoing and essential struggle for human justice in our time. That is an urgent and unavoidable task for us, as it is for all Christians.
Trinity Seminary Review

. . . capably identifies the factors of that real world that both influenced and was influenced by social Catholicism.
Louvain Studies

Her book now assumes a premier position in terms of introductory texts in this area. She has deftly combined a critical presentation of the major social documents together with a comprehensive treatment of the theological foundations of such teaching.
Catholic Library World

Judith Merkle's excellent book will prove an important seed for a future renewal of community and for a recovery of the Catholic Social Tradition in U.S. Catholicism, a renewal that will resist the colonization of church and family by what many see as the ecological, social, and spiritual bankruptcy of late modern bourgeois culture.
The Journal of Religion

A splendid analysis of the rich heritage of modern Roman Catholic social teaching! Judith Merkle's carefully-argued interpretation traces the historical development, reception, and theological underpinnings of the Church's social tradition. Such teaching, she argues, springs from the very heart of the Church's prophetic mandate to proclaim ‘Good News to the Poor' in every generation (Lk. 4:18ff.). Her lucid and insightful contribution will be welcomed by scholar and student alike.
Bill O'Neill, S.J., Georgetown University