The Catholic ethic and the spirit of community


The Catholic ethic and the spirit of community

John E. Tropman

Georgetown University Press, c2002

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references (p. 267-284) and index



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.


Part I: The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Community1. The Catholic Ethic and The Protestant Ethic2. The Hidden Ethic Part II: Pillars of the Catholic Ethic3.Work and the Catholic Ethic: What Work Means4. Money and the Catholic Ethic: What Money Buys5. Family and the Catholic Ethic: All in the Family6. Fault-Forgiveness and the Catholic Ethic: I'm OK, You're OK7. Otherworldliness and the Catholic Ethic: Where Change and Achievement Can Really Matter8. Structural Features of the Catholic Ethic Part III: A Cultural and Structural History of the Catholic Ethic and Community Helping9. A Social Values Perspective on the Catholic Ethic and Community Helping10. A Social Structural Perspective on the Catholic Ethic and Community Helping Part IV: Expressions of the Catholic Ethic: Public Policy Opinion in Contemporary America11. Let the Numbers Do the Talking. Part V: The Long View: Past, Present, and Future12. Applications of the Catholic Ethic Concept: Schematics and Prismatics13. The Catholic Ethic: Questions and Conclusions

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