Review by Choice Review
This conservative response to the US Catholic bishops' pastoral letter on the US economy, Economic Justice for All (1986), reflects the position of the Lay Commission on Catholic Social Teaching and the US Economy, a group of relatively conservative Catholics headed by Michael Novak and former Treasury Secretary William Simon. The group was organized to respond to perceived deficiencies in the bishops' deliberations, and it had a recognizable impact on the later editions of the pastoral letter. All the essays criticize the bishops along the same basic lines: they were too influenced by Marxist thought; they failed to see that capitalism and the generation of new wealth, not socialist redistribution of wealth, is the true solution to poverty; they underemphasized the importance of liberty; and they overemphasized the social causes of poverty while neglecting its individual causes. Examples of the individual causes cited in this book are the growth of single-parent families and the link between individual virtue and the creation of wealth. The essays are well written and less strident in tone than previous conservative critiques, although there is a paucity of evidence for several assertions. The opening essay by Novak and Simon provides a good summary and introduction. Recommended. -G. E. Paul, Gustavus Adolphus College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.