Chapter

Catholic Studies and the Sacramental Imaginary

JAMES T. FISHER and MARGARET M. MCGUINNESS

in The Catholic Studies Reader

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234103
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240906 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823234103.003.0018

Series: Catholic Practice in North America

Catholic Studies and the Sacramental Imaginary

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This chapter demonstrates how the “Catholic imagination” mode of interpretation might better serve what the philosopher Charles Taylor calls the “social imaginary.” It suggests that the prevailing Catholic “imaginary” has failed to fully engage the range of social injustices found in places like the author's native Philadelphia. The author's account of Philadelphia's 2,800 wall murals—and her own engagement with these murals as sites of theological reflection and liberation praxis—represents a mode of Catholic Studies that both draws on the approaches described in this volume and models a new kind of Catholic humanism. The author's project is radically interdisciplinary as the work of a Christian ethicist drawn to works of visual art whose presence demands interpretive responses beyond the limits of “Catholic imagination” precedent, yet rooted in unfulfilled yearnings of Catholic activists in the tradition of the Catholic Worker movement, the liturgical movement, and the Catholic interracial apostolate, each of which sought an integration of faith, culture, community, and the work of social justice.

Keywords: Catholic imagination; social imaginary; social injustices; Philadelphia; wall murals; Catholic Studies; Catholic humanism; visual art; culture; faith

Chapter.  7389 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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