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Extra info for American Catholic Religious Thought: The Shaping Of A Theological & Social Tradition (Marquette Studies in Theology)

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Ireland, The Church and Modern Society, 409. 54 American Catholic Religious Thought they do reveal an openness in his thought to the theological implications of change and evolution. Some of these implications would be developed in a more systematic fashion by John Zahm. The inevitable evolution of man and his “consciousness” of justice are hallmarks of Americanist optimism. Slowly ... but ceaselessly, humanity was moving forward, gaining age by age in consciousness of rights; this consciousness being ever quickened by the influence of the Christian religion, and in particular by its teachings on the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

The liberals, in the midst of their conflict with the conservatives, led a movement to reconcile Catholicism and American ideals. These men wanted Catholicism to shed its foreign cultural identifications, to enter into the spirit of American institutions, to be a leader in the advancement of research and modern scientific learning, to become the visible foundation of American democracy, to further America’s role in leading the world toward greater liberty and justice, and to cooperate with other religious bodies in solving the contemporary social and economic problems.

Transcendentalism, the Brook Farm experience, Fruitlands, Valle Crucis, and other American religious and social quests proved to Hecker that leading Americans, those on the cutting edge of the future, were articulating the inadequacies of Protestantism and reflecting the needs of modern persons for more spiritually satisfying experiences and answers to the basic problems of humankind. To Hecker the Holy Spirit was working within individual persons and within American culture leading them and it toward the revelations of the Holy Spirit within the Catholic Church.

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