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Catholics, Politics, and Public Policy: Beyond Left and Right [Paperback]

By Clarke E. Cochran (Author) & David Carroll Cochran (Author)
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Item Number 118800  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   210
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.49"
Weight:   0.71 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 30, 2003
Publisher   Orbis Books
ISBN  1570754578  
EAN  9781570754579  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Catholic voters heading for the polls are often confused about their vote. The authors of Catholics, Politics, and Public Policy offer a balanced and non ideological review of contemporary issues in the light of Catholic social teaching. The issues include welfare reform and education reform; health care policy and the care of the elderly; war and nuclear weapons; criminal justice and law enforcement; environmental protection and protecting the sanctity of life. By laying out the core principles of Catholic social teaching that apply to each issue Catholics, Politics, And Public Policy affords citizens and policy makers alike a way to assess and engage " the Catholic vote."

Publishers Description
Political scientists show how principles of Catholic social teaching can guide judgments about contemporary political issues.

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More About Clarke E. Cochran & David Carroll Cochran

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Clarke E. Cochran is Vice-President of Mission Integration, at Covenant Health System, in Lubbock, Texas. He is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Texas Tech University, where he specializes in religion and politics, political philosophy, and health care policy. Dr. Cochran received his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1971. He is the author of five books and numerous journal articles. He won the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Cochran held the position of Research Fellow in the Erasmus Institute at the University of Notre Dame (1998-1999) and the Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies at Nazareth College (Spring 2001). His current research interests include religious institutions and health care policy and Catholic social theory and health care reform.

Clarke E. Cochran currently resides in Lubbock, in the state of Texas. Clarke E. Cochran was born in 1945.

Clarke E. Cochran has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Enduring Questions in American Political Life (Paperback)

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General   [22730  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General   [5549  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Catholic Politics  May 11, 2004
This book provides a framework for political analysis by Catholics who may be confused and perplexed by the current American political scene. This book is aimed toward liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, libertarians and Catholics of all other political persuasions. The one short-coming I saw in the book is the lack of a concluding chapter - but that is probably the authors' intention. The authors intend to give a framework for decision-making by Catholics, but give very few answers beyond those few "unambiguous teachings on particular moral questions (abortion, theft, and living wage, for example)." [pg x]

What was very surprising for a person who believes himself well-informed about political issues was the authors' ability to show how policies that seem not to be related are in fact closely interrelated. A just economy fairly addressing issues of poverty, healthcare, and education lead to secure families spanning across the generations, racial and ethnic pluralism, and protecting the environment and the sanctity of life.

As an example on why being a Catholic is being neither a Republic nor Democrat, liberal or conservative, consider Chapter 9, "Consistently Defending the Sanctity of Human Life." Republicans and conservatives generally defend the sanctity of the life of the unborn ardently, while Democrats and liberals generally object to the death penalty while defending the right to choose. The Catholic response to these issues is consistent - life is sacred regardless whether it is the beginning of life in the womb or the end of life as an octogenarian - and everywhere in between. Period. End of the story for abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, and physician assisted suicide.

This book was written before the United States and the "coalition forces" invaded Iraq, but gives a structure for a Catholic to analyze that action - and the analysis, at least in my opinion, is not favorable. The "just war" doctrine has been a fundamental position for Catholics since articulated by Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theoligicae. As the authors say [pg. 199], "Fighting a war against terrorism is just, but there are still significant moral limits in how we go about fighting it." Have we crossed those limits by invading Iraq which, after we have failed to find weapons of mass destruction and have found information that Saddam Hussein did not participate in the 9/11/2001 attacks, shows no signs that it imposed an imminent danger to the United States? Have we crossed those limits with the prisoner abuse recently making the news, which seems to have derived directly from the President's and Defense Secretary's decisions to hold prisoners of war without regard to the Geneva Convention, and American citizens without regard to the due process of law? As the authors also say: "The threat of terrorism does justify more vigilance, including considerable inconveniences and even some loss of privacy for Americans, but these must be balanced against civil liberties."

As stated, my biggest complaint is that there is no conclusion to this book. The authors do not tell us what to think, or in most cases what they think. They do not give us answers to the questions:

Is it right for a politician who passionately believes that abortion is wrong and in the sanctity of life to also believe it wrong to criminalize abortion? Should a bishop announce that he should be denied the sacraments?

Is it right for an economy to adopt the requirements for a just economy (fair wage, universal healthcare, environmental protection) and therefore put it at a disadvantage against other economies that fail to adopt these measures?

One thing that the book does appear to make clear is that there are no bellwether issues. A single issue candidate ("I want to outlaw abortion") must be weighed with the other issues that are important to Catholics. "You cannot navigate by one star alone." [pg 7] This book is an important read for Catholics and others who want to understand political issues from the perspective of Jesus' second commandment - to love your neighbor. As the authors say, "As followers of Christ and citizens of a democratic regime, we bear responsibility for justice and the common good." [pg 4]


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