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Catholics in the American CenturyRecasting Narratives of U.S. History$
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R. Scott Appleby and Kathleen Sprows Cummings

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451409

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451409.001.0001

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The Catholic Moment in American Social Thought

The Catholic Moment in American Social Thought

(p.135) Chapter 6 The Catholic Moment in American Social Thought
Catholics in the American Century

Wilfred M. Mcclay

Cornell University Press

This chapter traces the role of Catholic social thought within the contemporary alliance between Protestant and Catholic social conservatives. Drawing on Fr. Richard John Neuhaus' hope that Catholicism might serve as a guiding public philosophy, the chapter shows how this Catholic moment is rendered brief—disabled by the sexual abuse crisis, a Democratic Party committed to a pro-choice position on abortion, and a powerful libertarian strain within the Republican Party. Still, at one point, the fate of the most important piece of social legislation since the 1960s—President Obama's healthcare bill—seemed to lie in the hands of the Catholics, with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Michigan congressman Bart Stupak deciding how to balance competing claims about the bill's effect on the public funding of abortions.

Keywords:   Catholic moment, Catholic social thought, Protestant–Catholic alliance, pro-choice, abortion, Obama healthcare bill

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