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The Almighty and the Dollar: Reflections on Economic Justice for All.

THE ALMIGHTY AND THE DOLLAR: REFLECTIONS ON ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR ALL. Edited by Mark J. Allman. Winona, MN: Anselm Academic, 2012. Pp. 281. $27.95.

The impetus for this book was the editor's desire to mark the 25th anniversary of the US bishops' pastoral letter, Economic Justice for All (EJA). This well-conceived collection builds on EJA and does not merely summarize or reiterate its points.

The volume is divided into three parts: (1) a substantial excerpt of the original pastoral letter; (2) four essays dealing with foundational aspects of economic justice; and (3) five essays that address topics inadequately addressed in the original letter. Two additional essays completed post-publication are available online.

Those two essays are of particular interest, since they were written by principals involved in the original formulation of the letter: Rembert Weakland, chair of the episcopal drafting committee, and John Donahue who served as a consulting scholar in the writing of EJA. An essay by David Hollenbach, another academic consultant, is also included in the book.

Weakland reflects on what would have to change if a similar letter were to be written today. He accepts the challenges/ criticisms that authors in part 3 make of the pastoral's shortcomings--for example, neglect of migration and race.

Donahue presents a record of the process and some highlights of the letter, as well as reflections on the implicit ecclesiology at work in the letter's formulation. He laments the failure to sustain and develop that ecclesiology in subsequent years. He also provides extensive reference notes to writings on economic justice since EJA.

Hollenbach focuses on globalization, perhaps the most prominent economic factor emergent since EJA. He comments on current discussion among development theorists and how Catholic teaching might enter into present thinking about achieving justice for the developing world.

The remaining essays are all solid. Most have an analytic/expository style, although a few reflect a more prophetic and challenging tone, even while being appreciative of the achievement of EJA.

The book would be a fine text to include in a course in Catholic social thought. It reminds us both of the benefits of an effective teaching office and that Catholic social teaching requires ongoing reflection and evolution.


Boston College

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Title Annotation:SHORTER NOTICES
Author:Himes, Kenneth R.
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2013
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