Date of Award

Summer 2007

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hughson, Thomas

Second Advisor

Dempsey, Deirdre

Third Advisor

Johnson, Mark


This dissertation seeks to delineate a Catholic American pubic theology within its current postmodern and increasingly pluralistic context. Michael and Kenneth Himes remark that public theology emerges when Christians seek to make sense of their experience as Church by reflecting upon and analyzing their engagement in the nation's public life. Citing Martin Marty who asserts that a "purely private faith is incomplete," they describe public theology as an effort "to bring the wisdom of Christian tradition into public conversation [in order] to contribute to the well being of society." This is accomplished by "a manner of theological reflection which examines the resources latent within the Christian tradition for understanding the Church's public role." It is a working contention of this dissertation that Catholic identity and mission in American society include public participation in and contribution to the public consensus which informs American legal and political tradition. As believer-citizens, Catholics are called to implement the truths of the Gospel by participating in the development of American culture and cooperating in the promotion of human rights. The prophetic vocation of Catholics includes a call to articulate those truths which are dormant in and/ or compromised by American society...



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