Catholic Conservativism

By Mark Edwards

One of our friends at the USIH blog, Raymond Haberski, author of God and War: American Civil Religion since 1945, recently posted a historiographical question that I thought (with his permission) was good for us to consider.  You can find his full post here.  His opening question is below: 

What studies have followed Patrick Allitt's excellent 1993 book, Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics? I admire the work of Kristin Heyer who continues to write very interesting stuff on the prophetic witness of the Catholic Church since the mid-1980s. And there are collections of books, many of them filled with essays on law and natural law, on Catholic critiques of liberalism. But has there been a book that takes the straight-up intellectual history approach of Allitt's volume to the period after 1983?

And, if we can't identify such studies, why not?  Are Catholic conservatives being neglected in the rush to profile evangelical conservative personalities and institutions?

I've also been meaning to put a plug in for USIH's Annual Meeting at the Graduate Center in New York, November 1-2.  As you can see from the conference progam, organizers have assembled an all-star lineup with a number of promising panels and plenary addresses on the subject of religion.


Peter S. Fredrick at: September 3, 2012 at 10:44 PM said...

What interests me, having first-hand experience, is the splintering that has occurred since the 1960's, and the emergence of traditionalists, who express varying degrees of conservatism. I wonder how the "sedevacantists" feel about the current Pope? Another interesting thing I heard about is the link with the bishops of Vietnam, who at a crucial point were given approval to ordain bishops outside of Vatican approval, due to their missionary status. Traditionalist movements have relied on this legal gray area.

Anonymous at: September 4, 2012 at 12:11 AM said...

As a 'Catholic Conservative' I think that part of it is that the 'Catholic Liberals' are so well documented and represented. As a result people lazily assume that all Catholics are represented by the 'Catholic Liberals'.

That said the liberal/conservative fault line in Catholicism is very quirky and doesn't easily line up with the widely understood political/cultural version. That makes it very difficult to really document

pjhayesphd at: September 4, 2012 at 9:45 AM said...

One of the challenges of "documenting" a movement is the ability one has in getting access to the documents. Well, you don't have to look far, but you do have to look. For starters, Notre Dame and Catholic University have great collections, but they are not strictly "left" or "right." However, the Franciscan University of Steubenville has an enormous trove of what might be considered "conservative Catholic" material thanks in part to the large number of faculty who self-identified as such or were members of organizations (think Fellowship of Catholic Scholars) who proclaimed themselves as being a haven for more "traditional" Catholics. To my knowledge, no one has tapped that resource to create a picture of what a "conservative Catholic" movement might look like. But someone should.

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