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American Catholics and Civic Engagement: A Distinctive Voice Margaret O'Brien Steinfels (ed.) (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004, 293pp)

Part of the American Catholics in the Public Square project sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, this collection of essays includes a surprising and perhaps naive attempt to claim that the true voice of Catholicism is antichoice.

American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon Stephen Prothero (Farrar, Straus Giroux, 2003, 364pp)

This is more a work of cultural and social history than theological narrative, but nonetheless an important examination of why America and Americans have embraced Jesus and religion so diligently.

BioEvolution: How Biotechnology is Changing our World Michael Fumento (Encounter Books, 2003, 510pp)

A refreshing look at the potential for biotechnological developments to improve and sustain life that shies away from the utopianism that mars other positive accounts.

Body and Soul: Rethinking Sexuality as Justice-Love Marvin M. Ellison & Sylvia Thorson-Smith (eds.) (The Pilgrim Press, 2003, 394pp)

This is a collection of essays by many if not most of the intellectual leaders in the field of religion and sexuality. They each examine developments in debates around sexuality since the early 1990s, and while it will certainly not be the last word on these issues, it is certainly a vital one.

Catholic Ethicists on HIV/AIDS Prevention James F. Keenan, SJ, et al. (eds.) (Continuum, 2002, 351pp)

A more than welcome addition to the canon on Catholicism and HIV/AIDS prevention, showing that the Vatican's "no condoms, ever" message does not wash with those who have to deal with the realities of HIV/AIDS.

The Catholic Revolution: New Wine, Old Wineskins and the Second Vatican Council Andrew Greeley (University of California Press, 2004, 224pp)

Greeley is one of the most prolific of Catholic authors, and this short review of the past 40 years, written from a sociological rather than a theological perspective, examines some of the reasons why the current crisis in the American church arose within a generation of Vatican II.

Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany Robert A. Krieg (Continuum, 2004, 223pp)

Amid the ongoing furor over the church's role in the Holocaust, this is an account of the influences that shaped the lives of five theologians, three who supported the regime and two who opposed it.

Celibacy in Crisis: A Secret World Revisited A.W. Richard Sipe (Routledge, 2004, 350pp)

Former cleric Sipe is one of America's foremost experts on clergy sexual abuse, and this expansive book shows why his voice is one worth heeding.

The Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis: Reform and Renewal in the Catholic Community Paul R. Dokecki (Georgetown University Press, 2004, 288pp)

Another in the long line of books with advice for the church hierarchy and the laity about how to change the church for the better.

Designing our Descendents: The Promises and Perils of Genetic Modifications Audrey R. Chapman and Mark S. Frankel (ads.) (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003, 370pp)

With so much heat and little light often shed on the debates around developments in human genetic engineering, this collection of 20 essays is much overdue, and tremendously informative.

A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science and Love Richard Dowkins (Houghton Mifflin, 2003, 265pp)

Dawkins' analysis always creates controversy and this "greatest hits" collection is no different. Whether you agree with him or not, this volume will provoke reactions and stimulate debate.

Faith-Based Initiatives and the Bush Administration: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Jo Renee Formicola, Mary C. Segers, and Paul Weber (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003, 211pp)

White the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives has been a centerpiece of Bush administration policy, it has run into significant problems when it comes to getting laws through Congress. This collection of essays gives historical and political context to the current reality of the FBI with detail, timeliness and even-handedness to spare.

Feminist Theology Natalie Watson (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004, 110pp)

One in a series of introductory guides to themes in theology from the Christian Theological Research Fellowship, this one is for those new to the field.

Global Prescriptions: Gendering Health and Human Rights Rosalind Pollack Petchesky (Zed Books, 2003, 306pp)

This will be an important and serious addition to any collection on women's rights that examines how women's NGOS impact global politics and policies through the United Nations and other fora to improve women's health and human rights.

Governance, Accountability and the Future of the Catholic Church Frances Oakley & Bruce Russett (eds.) (Continuum, 2004, 240pp)

An excellent collection of essays with advice for church leaders, from across the political spectrum. One hopes the bishops are reading.

Making Women Pay: The Hidden Costs of Fetal Rights Rachel Roth (Cornell University Press, 2000, 246pp)

A superb expose of the implications of fetal rights' laws, with vital historical information. Should be required reading for all policy- and lawmakers.

Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her Re-emergence in the Modern Church Charlene Spretnak (Macmillan, 2004, 280pp)

A powerful exploration of the sidelining of Mary at Vatican II by a "Marian Catholic" who issues a passionate call for Mary to retake Her place front and center in Catholic teachings.

The New Genetic Medicine: Theological and Ethical Reflections Thomas A. Shannon and James J. Walter (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003, 183pp)

Two leading Catholic moral theologians bring their religious perspectives to bear on some of the pressing ethical and moral considerations that confront US society and argue convincingly against didacticism and in favor of a catholic--with a small 'c'--approach.

Rethinking Celibacy: Reclaiming the Church Michael H. Crosby (Wipf and Stock, 2004, 200pp)

An updated edition of a previous volume, Crosby, a priest in Milwaukee, demands a sea change in the church's attitude towards celibacy.

Same-Sex Marriage? A Christian Ethical Analysis Marvin M. Ellison (Pilgrim Press, 2004, 198pp)

Ellison is a thoughtful and prolific writer, but few of his books could be more timely with the current furor over same-sex marriages set to keep the issue on the front pages for some time to come.

Stem Cell Research: New Frontiers in Science and Ethics Nancy E. Snow (ed.) (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004, 219pp)

This collection of essays stems from a conference sponsored by Marquette University and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and thus represents much of what is the "official" line on stem cell research. Nonetheless, the contributions are thought-provoking and the arguments need to be addressed by proponents of the research.

Voices of Choice: Physicians who Provided Abortions Before Roe v. Wade Video and discussion guide (Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, 2003)

A fascinating multimedia project that explores the motivations of doctors who helped women end unwanted pregnancies before it was legal to do so,

Whose View of Life? Embryos, Cloning and Stem Cells Jane Moienschein (Harvard University Press, 2003, 342pp)

This is a hugely informative look at the different debates around what constitutes "life." And with the debate likely to continue for some time to come, this book both seeks out and gives coherent answers to many defining questions.

The X in Sex: How the X Chromosome Controls our Lives David Bainbridge (Harvard University Press, 2003, 205pp)

Accessible and intelligent science writing do not often go together, but Bainbridge succeeds, in a book that will certainly appeal to biological determinists.
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Title Annotation:book review
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Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2004
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