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Politics for a Pilgrim Church
A Thomistic Theory of Civic Virtue
POD; Published: 10/2/2015
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7090-2
Price: $ 36.50
279 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Presents an innovative, constructive alternative to Christian involvement in the "culture wars"

Church leaders and scholars have long wrestled with what should provide a guiding vision for Christian engagement in culture and politics. In this book Thomas Bushlack argues that a retrieval of Thomas Aquinas's understanding of civic virtue provides important resources for guiding this engagement today.

Bushlack suggests that Aquinas's vision of the pilgrim church provides a fitting model for seeking the earthly common good of the political community, and he notes the features of a Thomistic account of justice and civic virtue that remain particularly salient for the twenty-first century. The book concludes with suggestions for cultivating a Christian rhetoric of the common good as an alternative to the predominant forms of discourse fostered within the culture wars that have been so divisive.
Catholic Books Review
"Exceptionally well-written and clear in its explanations. Anyone frustrated with the seemingly interminable political gridlock and culture war rhetoric of our time may find some direction here for finding a better way."
The Review of Politics
"Moves fluidly over important intellectual terrain. . . . A fine example of contemporary Thomist political thought and a glimpse into the internal dialogue of the Catholic Church as it calibrates its ancient traditions with modern politics."
David Lantigua in Modern Theology
"In a political age characterized by the standoff between nativism and cosmopolitanism, Christians need ‘apologetic’ resources, to use Oliver O’Donovan’s expression, for making the common good intelligible within democratic society. Politics for a Pilgrim Church not only delivers such an apology with force, it also wonderfully and carefully excavates the depth of a living Catholic social tradition ordinarily constrained by worn out platitudes."
Jean Porter
— University of Notre Dame
"Thomas Bushlack's account of the civic virtues provides a much-needed bridge between classical Thomism and the moral challenges and values of democracy and civic engagement. . . . This book is an important contribution to Thomistic ethics, but it also offers a great deal to anyone who cares about justice, the public sphere, or the social witness of the church."
William Cavanaugh
— DePaul University
"A serious attempt to help a church with one foot in this world and one foot in the next to achieve balance. . . . Bushlack connects his work on Aquinas with a sensitive and holistic reading of Vatican II's ecclesiology and thereby points a way beyond a church consumed by culture wars. This book is a significant contribution to Catholic political thought, but its generous spirit will appeal to anyone interested in common goods."
Eric Gregory
— Princeton University
"Various retrievals of Aquinas have been a hallmark of modern Catholic thought, especially in discussions of natural law, virtue, and the common good. But the relation of these many Thomisms to resurgent ecumenical interest in political theology has been largely implicit. With clarity and charity, Bushlack's elegant book corrects this surprising neglect by advancing a Thomistic account of civic virtue within democratic polities. Politics for a Pilgrim Church is a needed book for today."
Stephen J. Pope
— Boston College
"This lively and compelling development of Vatican II's image of the pilgrim church couldn't come at a better time. Bushlack's ecclesially centered virtue ethics moves beyond stale polarities by creatively integrating an ethic of witness with an ethic of political responsibility. A must-read for anyone interested in contemporary Christian social ethics."