Struggle, Condemnation, Vindication

“This is an extraordinarily important book — arguably the most important study of the thought and influence of John Courtney Murray in 40 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, Professor of Church History, Boston College

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, Boston College

“Barry Hudock expertly narrates the intriguing and tortured history of the arguments of John Courtney Murray, S.J., for religious liberty that led directly to the council’s ‘Declaration on Religious Freedom’…. Hudock captures the intellectual fervor and the huge stakes in the battle. He lifts the curtain to reveal some of the machinations during the council to derail the effort.”

— Patrick Howell, SJ, America magazine

A lively, fast moving narrative…. Hudock does a good job of capturing the tense and at times dramatic atmosphere [of the discussion of religious freedom at the Second Vatican Council]…. 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. I can see it working well in undergraduate courses, for example.”

— William Gould, Journal of Jesuit Studies

“This book represents a substantially fresh perspective on Murray’s archival record…. It is a treasure trove of information about Murray and his opponents, especially Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, Redemptorist priest Francis Connell, and Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani. Hudock excels at reconstructing the conversations on both sides of the Catholic religious-liberty issue—before, during, and after the Second Vatican Council. It is particularly illuminating when it reviews and analyzes the personal journals and confidential correspondence of those immersed in these conversations…. A remarkably lucid introduction to the life and work of the most influential American Catholic theologian…. Overall, the book is a resounding success at offering the Murray neophyte a current, lucid, and extremely well-written overview of Murray’s life and work. It also offers the seasoned Murray scholar a fresh interpretation of Murray within the context of mid-twentieth century American Catholic theology and its impact on the proceedings of the Second Vatican Council.”

— Thomas O’Brien, Catholic Historical Review


“This book’s strength is that the reader is introduced to the highly dramatic atmosphere in which Murray lived and wrote. Anyone who thinks the Catholic Ivory Tower is a place of little or no drama is sadly mistaken and this book makes that clear. And, the accessibility of Hudock’s account ensures that a new generation of Catholics in the U.S. will more likely become familiar with Murray’s contribution to Catholic theology, and how that contribution overcame obstacles of the first order before becoming an accepted development of doctrine.”

— Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

“At fifty years from the declaration Dignitatis Humanae of Vatican II and in a time of debate on religious liberty in the United States, Barry Hudock’s book provides readers – and especially American Catholics – with a valuable contribution for the understanding not only of the issue of freedom, but also of the key role of theology and theologians for the Church and for our society at large.”

— Massimo Faggioli, University of St. Thomas and author of John XXIII: The Medicine of Mercy

“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.

“Barry Hudock breathes new life into the legacy of John Courtney Murray…. Hudock is at his best when synthesizing the complex details of theological arguments for a non-specialist audience. Making dense scholarly debate so smooth and accessible a read is no small feat. His ability to be clear and succinct is a rare gift among scholars who, when in doubt, tend to write longer and with greater density…. 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

“An interesting and readable account of the life and work of one of the most remarkable American theologians of the twentieth century…. A very good read.”

— Bernard Evans, Worship journal

BUY IT FROM LITURGICAL PRESS. Amazon. Barnes & Noble. An independent bookseller.

The story of John Courtney Murray’s work on religious freedom is a theological adventure story, and it is dramatically intertwined with the origins of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom. Struggle, Condemnation, Vindication tells that story more fully than it has ever been told before. Explore the origins and roots of his thinking, the opposition he encountered from some of more highly respected theologians and powerful churchmen of his day, and the ultimate triumph of the ideas he proposed in the midst of the most significant Catholic teaching event of the twentieth century.

America magazine published an excerpt of the book in its November america cover30, 2015 issue (and featured it on its cover) here.


190 pp., $19.95


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