The Catholic Philanthropic Tradition in America

The Catholic Philanthropic Tradition in America

Mary J. Oates
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/22/1995
ISBN: 978-0-253-11359-7
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Honorable Mention in the 1996 Staley/Robeson/Ryan/St. Lawrence Research Prize competition

From their earliest days in America, Catholics organized to initiate and support charitable activities. A rapidly growing church community, although marked by widening church and ethnic differences, developed the extensive network of orphanages, hospitals, schools, and social agencies that came to represent the Catholic way of giving. But changing economic, political, and social conditions have often provoked sharp debate within the church about the obligation to give, priorities in giving, appropriate organization of religious charity, and the locus of authority over philanthropic resources. This first history of Catholic philanthropy in the United States chronicles the rich tradition of the church's charitable activities and the increasing tension between centralized control of giving and democratic participation.

Author Bio

MARY J. OATES is Professor of Economics at Regis College and author of Higher Education for Catholic Women: An Historical Anthology and The Role of the Cotton Textile Industry in the Economic Development of the American Southeast, 1900–1940.

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Table of Contents


1. American Society and Benevolent Enterprise
2. Resource Mobilization in a Working-Class Church
3. Social Needs and Mainstream Challenges
4. The Charity Consolidation Movement
5. New Strategies in Fundraising
6. Social Class and Ways of Giving
7. Parochial Schools and the Social Conscience
8. Recent Trends in Catholic Giving