The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Community

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320 pp., 6 x 9
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ISBN: 9780878408900 (0878408908)

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ISBN: 9781589014268

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December 2001
LC: 2001040796

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The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Community
John E. Tropman

Starting where Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism left off, John E. Tropman develops the idea that there is another religious-based ethic permeating society, a Catholic ethic. Where Weber proposed that a Protestant ethic supported the development of capitalism, Tropman argues that there is a Catholic ethic as well, and that it is more caring and community-oriented.

Weber's notion of the Protestant ethic has become widely accepted, but until Tropman's work, beginning in the mid-1980s, there had been no discussion of another, religious-based ethic. He suggests that if the Protestant ethic is an "achievement" ethic, the Catholic ethic is a "helping" one. Tropman outlines a Catholic ethic that is distinctive in its sympathy and outreach toward the poor, and in its emphasis on family and community over economic success. This book fully explores the Catholic ethic and its differing focus by using both historical and survey research. It also points to the existence of other religious-based ethics.

This clearly written book, employing the tools of both sociology and religious thought, will appeal to a wide audience, including students and scholars in disciplines informed by the influence of religion on politics and on social and economic behavior.


John E. Tropman is author of a number of books, including The Catholic Ethic in American Society (Jossey Bass, 1995), a brief introduction to the concept, which won a Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award. He has a PhD in sociology and social work and is a professor of social welfare and business at the University of Michigan.


Reviews
"A lively and engaging analysis of the complex and multifaceted relationships between ethics and community. His arguments and use of theory, doctrine, history, and statistics should most certainly capture his readers' interest and prompt both reflection and discussion."—Patrick J. Welch, Saint Louis University

Table of Contents
Part I: The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Community

1. The Catholic Ethic and The Protestant Ethic
2. The Hidden Ethic

Part II: Pillars of the Catholic Ethic

3.Work and the Catholic Ethic: What Work Means
4. Money and the Catholic Ethic: What Money Buys
5. Family and the Catholic Ethic: All in the Family
6. Fault-Forgiveness and the Catholic Ethic: I'm OK, You're OK
7. Otherworldliness and the Catholic Ethic: Where Change and Achievement Can Really Matter
8. Structural Features of the Catholic Ethic

Part III: A Cultural and Structural History of the Catholic Ethic and Community Helping

9. A Social Values Perspective on the Catholic Ethic and Community Helping
10. A Social Structural Perspective on the Catholic Ethic and Community Helping

Part IV: Expressions of the Catholic Ethic: Public Policy Opinion in Contemporary America

11. Let the Numbers Do the Talking. Part V: The Long View: Past, Present, and Future
12. Applications of the Catholic Ethic Concept: Schematics and Prismatics
13. The Catholic Ethic: Questions and Conclusions