Review by Choice Review
The title of this new encyclopedia is not quite accurate. In substance, this work is a hefty collection of 800 entries on conservative Catholic social issues, written by 300 scholars who are proud of their fidelity to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. This is not to say that all the entries are one-sided or without merit. As the volumes' editors note in the last sentence of their introduction, "one need not be a devotee or advocate for Catholic social thinking to find this Encyclopedia of good use as a handy reference tool." The work, however, is inconsistent in the topics chosen for inclusion. It includes, for example, a number of entries on conservative Catholic philosophers and publications, but no entries on Thomas Merton, The National Catholic Reporter, Commonweal, or America: The National Catholic Weekly. Entries on theological dissenters such as Father Charles Curran and organizations such as the Catholic Theological Society of America indicate that varying from approved church teaching is not acceptable. Although the editors hope that this encyclopedia will be valuable to a wide, diverse audience, it seems destined for conservative Catholics who wish to reaffirm their beliefs. Summing Up: Optional. Graduate students through professionals/practitioners. T. Walch Hoover Presidential Library
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
The headlines of just about any newspaper these days will likely include a story or two about many important social issues, such as globalization, environmental degradation, economic justice, or the nature of the family. The role of religion in the public square is also the subject of lively debate, both in the U.S. and abroad. This new encyclopedia unabashedly presents Roman Catholic reflection on the complex realities of human existence, in society and in the international order, in the light of faith and of the Church's tradition. The more than 800 alphabetically arranged entries cover an amazing number of topics, ranging from family issues to international concerns. Although one might easily guess the Roman Catholic position on such issues as Abortion or Same-sex unions, the same may not be true for Neighborhood or School choice. Economic concerns figure prominently, with entries for Consumerism, Living wage, Poverty, and Taxation. Seemingly drawn from today's headlines are entries addressing Executive authority (of the president), Military service and Catholic moral principles, Separation of church and state, and Terrorism and the use of force. Environmental concerns are discussed in entries for Energy policy, Environmental issues, and Environmentalism. Although emphasis is on the U.S., global issues are treated in a plethora of entries, for example, Debt relief, international; Trade; and United Nations. Finally, Catholic methodological approaches to academic disciplines (e.g., Sociology: A Catholic critique) and biographical entries on important Roman Catholic activists and thinkers, as well as organizations (e.g., Augustine, St.; Greeley, Andrew M.; and Opus Dei), are included. Unquestionably, Roman Catholic reflection and thought offer a rich and articulate addition to the conversation about these issues. At the same time, it must be pointed out that this new encyclopedia does not incorporate scholarly perspectives that cannot plausibly and honestly be said to emanate from an authentic Catholic framework. Not just a reference work, it is also a position paper. This specialized perspective makes this new reference work an appropriate addition to libraries with strong collections in Roman Catholicism, theological libraries, and research-level collections.--McConnell, Christopher Copyright 2007 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Coedited and authored predominantly by more than 300 Catholic academics, this substantial work features over 800 signed, well-constructed, pointed articles and includes cross-references, indexing, and article-level bibliographies. The editors-scholars of political science, law, and sociology at various U.S. academic institutions-claim that Catholic thought on social issues is not monolithic based on official statements, perspectives from formal and informal social institutions, and other Catholic-inspired worldviews they present. Readers will have to judge for themselves whether they actually share this vision or more closely follow the blurb on the back cover that emphasizes the work's "fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church." The articles on abortion, birth control, and stem-cell research, for example, leave absolutely no room for moral ambiguity. BOTTOM LINE Gale's New Catholic Encyclopedia (2003, 2d ed.) will adequately fulfill the reference needs of most researchers of this topic, and Judith A. Dwyer's New Dictionary of Catholic Social Thought (Liturgical Pr., 1994), although somewhat narrower in scope, offers more nuanced discussion of this important dimension of Roman Catholicism. This set, while marginal for most libraries, will probably be in demand by Catholic and theologically oriented institutions.-Darby Orcutt, North Carolina State Univ. Libs., Raleigh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.