The Origins of War: A Catholic Perspective

Georgetown University Press
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Debate rages within the Catholic Church about the ethics of war and peace, but the simple question of why wars begin is too often neglected. Catholics’ assumptions about the causes of conflict are almost always drawn uncritically from international relations theory—a field dominated by liberalism, realism, and Marxism—which is not always consistent with Catholic theology.

In The Origins of War, Matthew A. Shadle examines several sources to better understand why war happens. His retrieval of biblical literature and the teachings of figures from church tradition sets the course for the book. Shadle then explores the growing awareness of historical consciousness within the Catholic tradition—the way beliefs and actions are shaped by time, place, and culture. He examines the work of contemporary Catholic thinkers like Pope John Paul II, Jacques Maritain, John Courtney Murray, Dorothy Day, Brian Hehir, and George Weigel. In the constructive part of the book, Shadle analyzes the movement within international relations theory known as constructivism—which proposes that war is largely governed by a set of socially constructed and cultural influences. Constructivism, Shadle claims, presents a way of interpreting international politics that is highly amenable to a Catholic worldview and can provide a new direction for the Christian vocation of peacemaking.

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About the author

Matthew A. Shadle is an assistant professor of moral theology at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Georgetown University Press
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Published on
Mar 10, 2011
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781589017511
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / General
Religion / Christian Theology / Ethics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In the decade since the financial crisis of 2008, governments around the world have struggled to develop strategies to stabilize precarious markets, encourage growth, and combat mounting wealth inequality. In the United States, the recovery from that crisis has exacerbated the fears of the working and middle classes and pitted those classes against the wealthy. Although we participate every day in economic life as workers, consumers, employers, or activists, we often experience the economy as a mysterious force that we cannot control, or fully understand. Matthew Shadle argues that Catholics ought to be able to draw on their faith to help navigate and make sense of economic life, but too often the effort to get ahead or just stay afloat drowns out faith's appeal. Interrupting Capitalism proposes a new strategy for Christian economic discipleship. Rather than engage the two theological poles of continuity and rupture, Christians should interrupt capitalism: neither whole-heartedly endorsing global capitalism nor seeking to dismantle it. This means "breaking into" the economy, embracing those aspects that enhance human well-being while transforming the market in a spirit of solidarity. Shadle argues that all three of the dominant theological approaches dealing with economic life-the progressive, neoconservative, and liberationist-are theologies of continuity. A fourth approach, a communitarian one, he believes, can best embody the strategy of interrupting capitalism. The Catholic tradition, including its tradition of social teaching, provides a cultural structure that, along with their own social context, conditions how Catholics think about and engage in economic activity. Drawing on the resources of the tradition, theologians reflect on this activity, giving it a theoretical justification and offering correctives. Both the experience of ordinary Catholics and the work of theologians feed into new articulations of Catholic social teaching. Offering an overview of Catholic thought since the Second World War, Shadle begins with the experience of Catholics in Western Europe at mid-century, moving to Latin America and the United States in the 1970s and 80s, and then concluding with the phenomenon of globalization.
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From the Hardcover edition.
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