Bayard Inc. to Publish First In-depth Exploration of Joe Biden’s Catholicism in the Context of American Politics


Bayard Inc. to Publish First In-depth Exploration of Joe Biden’s Catholicism
in the Context of American Politics

Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States by Massimo Faggioli
Will Be Released on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021

On Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021, Bayard, Inc. will publish a groundbreaking new book by historian and theologian Massimo Faggioli, the first in-depth exploration of President Joe Biden’s Catholic faith in the context of American politics: Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States.

Elected in the midst of a global pandemic during a year of extraordinary challenges, Biden, the second Catholic president of the United States, now begins the work of rebuilding the nation and, as his campaign promised, “restoring its soul.” A noted bridge-builder throughout his political career, Biden is in a unique position to meet the challenges of a divided nation, and to face divisions in the Catholic Church as well.

For Catholics, this is a momentous occasion in U.S. public life. Biden takes office in a very different situation than the first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy. Today, Catholics play a more visible role in American public life, and the triangle of relations between the White House, the Vatican, and the U.S. Catholic Church is an essential dimension for understanding the political and religious urgency of this moment.

“For nearly 150 years, Bayard has supported society toward better understanding, better listening to each other, and building a better world together. Bayard, Inc. is very proud to publish this book, which accompanies our country as it continues to evolve through difficult times for all,” says Hugues de Foucauld, CEO of Bayard, Inc. “This book shines an essential light on how we can better live together.”

Therese Ratliff, Publisher of Bayard Books and Devotionals, adds, “The question of how to be both Catholic and American at the same time is pressing, and Joe Biden’s presidency as a Catholic will highlight the ways we connect faith and public life. In a world of sharp division and increasing incivility, becoming bridge-builders within both Church and society is more crucial than ever. At this pivotal moment, we are pleased to offer this book as a catalyst for dialogue in view of “healing the soul of our nation.”

Faggioli outlines the historical and theological context for the Biden presidency, and offers a look at the the faith that anchors the man’s life. Biden made his faith a central part of the campaign, peppering his speeches with Catholic references, quoting Pope Francis’s latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti, the popular hymn “On Eagle’s Wings,” and the prayer of St. Francis, and emphasizing the common good, a central concept of Catholic social tradition.
In this detailed yet compact book, Faggioli presents a history of Catholicism in American political life, from the virulent anti-Catholicism that faced the first Catholic to run for president, Al Smith, in 1928, through the campaigns of John F. Kennedy in 1960, John Kerry in 2004, and Biden in 2020. He unravels the current tense state of relations between the U.S. and the Vatican left behind by the departing Trump administration; explains the Catholic crisis of globalization, and illustrates Biden’s liminal position between the past and future of American Catholicism.

Faggioli sees hopeful signs in the election of Biden, “the rejection of a political culture which in Francis’s words, often consigns the fate of entire peoples to the grasp of small but powerful groups.” Just as he is the president of all Americans, “Biden will called to be the Catholic president of all Catholics— a more challenging undertaking.”

Massimo Faggioli is professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University. He is a contributing writer for Commonweal and a columnist for La Croix International. His books and essays have been published in more than ten languages.

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Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States by Massimo Faggioli

ISBN: 978-1627856164

Paperback, 176 pages, $22.95

PUB DATE: January 20, 2021


Contact: Kelly Hughes, 312-280-8126

Please, click here to view the press release.

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