This outstanding collection of essays sets out to explore the possibilities for a renewed catholic social conscience in the aftermath of three related-but contrasting-crises namely the demise of european communism, the recent and ongoing international economic collapse and the devastating blow to catholic credibility in the public sphere represented by the widespread and senior coverup of clergy child sex-abuse. Interdisciplinary in nature, the essays seek to reground theological thinking in a fresh way, to draw out traditions that have been lost in the midst of political and cultural struggle and to focus on specific instances of social need. In doing this they tease out emerging tensions between ecclesiastical rhetoric and the Church's institutional capacity, and skills to match words to deeds; the essays also reflect on specific instances of public engagement and theology which have both helped and hindered advocacy for a common good. Hopeful in tone, the collection is mission-centred comprising contributions from those who are leading figures in all of their fields. Catholic Social Conscience will be of particular interest to all Christians who have believed that the Catholic Social Teaching tradition, up to now, had something to offer the Christian community as a whole by way of resources to navigate the call to civic and social action. It will appeal to Catholic parish council members, charity workers, activists, catechists, religious, seminarians, and academics. Indeed, it should inspire those seeking to reflect on the future of Catholic social thought and action in an era when the traction of the social encyclical tradition in the face of economic crisis, and the legitimacy of the Church's frontline figures in the aftermath of the abuse crisis, has never been more important, contested nor more under pressure.
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