No American Catholic has had greater impact on the doctrinal beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church than Fr. John Courtney Murray, SJ. With almost no power to wield and not much more fame, Murray influenced Catholic doctrine on religious freedom in a dramatic and almost unparalleled way. He did this through his careful scholarship, courage in the face of powerful opposition, and a delicate balance of faithfulness to tradition with theological creativity.
In Struggle, Condemnation, Vindication Barry Hudock tells a true-life theological adventure story, from Murray's silencing by church authorities to his ultimate vindication at the Second Vatican Council. Barry Hudock is the author of
Faith Meets World: The Gift and Challenge of Catholic Social Teaching and
The Eucharistic Prayer: A User's Guide. His articles have appeared in
America, Commonweal, Our Sunday Visitor, U.S. Catholic, and elsewhere. He works as a publisher at Liturgical Press and lives with his family in central Minnesota.
"Murray's story is fascinating, and needs to remain in our memories. We can be grateful to Hudock for telling it so well."
Grégoire Catta, SJ, The Way
This is an extraordinarily important book—arguably the most important study of the thought and influence of John Courtney Murray in forty years. Hudock elucidates how Murray's contribution to North American and world Catholicism transcends the tired political labels of our time, so that both Catholic "liberals" and "conservatives" have benefited from his forceful defense of religious liberty and freedom of conscience. A must read.
Mark Massa, SJ, Dean and Professor of Church History, School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College
"For all those interested in Murray's fundamental ideas about church-state relations, this is the new go-to primer."
Chris Staysniak, Journal of Church and State
Barry Hudock's account of the life and work of John Courtney Murray shows that the development of Catholic teaching on religious liberty cannot be reduced to abstract, numbered paragraphs in an encyclical or catechism. It is a riveting story of clashing personalities, impossible possibilities, and hope against all hope. It is the story of the Holy Spirit at work in the church.
M. Cathleen Kaveny, Darald and Juliet Libby Professor, Boston College
Barry Hudock's book offers a much-needed retrieval and a clear synthesis of the distinctive American contribution that John Courtney Murray's ideas on religious freedom made to the church and to the global community of nations. At a time when religious freedom has reemerged as a key and controversial issue within the United States and around the world, Hudock's timely study of Murray's work unquestionably demonstrates that the subject of religious freedom cannot be reduced to yard signs or sound bites. . . . A must-read for all entrusted with the power and responsibility to wrestle with the difficult task of reconciling religion and society and Church and State relations, especially theologians, bishops, political leaders, and judges.
Miguel H. Diaz, PhD, US Ambassador to the Holy See, Ret., John Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service, Loyola University, Chicago
"In Struggle, Condemnation, Vindication, Barry Hudock sets readers straight about how recently the Catholic church came to accept religious freedom at all, and the fierce battles that preceded such acceptance. He weaves several plotlines into his narrative of the months and years leading up to the passage of Dignitatis Humane, [and] concludes that `understanding the truth about God and God's revelation to humanity is sometimes a struggle,' even for `those whose job it is to discern it.' Somebody should send a copy of this book to each of the U.S. Bishops."
Marian Ronan, National Catholic Reporter
"Concerned that most younger Catholics are unfamiliar with Murray and his achievement, Hudock wants to make Murray's work better known to them and to the larger community. This is a valuable book for anyone interested in Murray, but I think it will be especially so to readers new to the man, for whom it will serve as a good introduction."
William Gould, Fordham University, Journal of Jesuit Studies
"Struggle, Condemnation, Vindication, presents an interesting and readable account of the life and work of one of the most remarkable American theologians of the twentieth century. Poignantly reminds us that religious freedom and allowing the church the freedom it needs to carry out its work require a proper understanding of the relation between church and state. Hudock also helps us appreciate the notion of the development of doctrine, a reality that Murray insisted was necessary, valuable, and aided by free and full discussion. A very good read."
Bernard Evans, Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, Worship
Fifty years after the declaration Dignitatis Humanae of Vatican II was promulgated and during a time of debate on religious liberty in the United States, Barry Hudock's book on John Courtney Murray provides readers—and especially American Catholics—with a valuable contribution for understanding not only the issue of freedom but also the key role of theology and theologians for the church and for our society at large.
Massimo Faggioli, Author of Sorting Out Catholicism: A Brief History of the New Ecclesial Movements, Director, Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship, University of St. Thomas