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Integralism and the Common Good (Volume 1)

Integralism and the Common Good (Volume 1)

Selected Essays from The Josias Volume 1: Family, City, and State

Edited by P. Edmund Waldstein and Peter A. Kwasniewski

356 pp

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About the Book

Wisdom, in the full sense, is a matter of knowing something that is not subject to political deliberation, that is, the First Principle and Last End of all things. It includes understanding the order of all things from that Principle and to that End—an order that we, as human beings, ought to reflect and embody in our own actions and in our common life in society. The political implications of this truth have been obscured in the modern era by the errors of liberalism, which, granting human reason a false supremacy, makes of man’s own deliberation the only measure of the good, even its originator. The result is that every society comes to be seen and treated as a conventional, contractual, artificial, collective egoism.

The authors whose writings appear in this volume—most of them first published at The Josias—share the conviction that there is urgent need to combat the errors of liberalism, both in the world and in the Catholic Church itself—for men cannot be truly happy unless their lives are integrated into the greater order that emanates from God. To overcome modern errors, a “broadening of reason” is necessary: we must draw upon the deepest sources of philosophical and theological wisdom, upon the deepest insights of human reason reflecting on the whole breadth of human experience, and upon the supernatural light of Divine Revelation.

This first volume of essays treats the main questions of practical philosophy: the principles of human action and the common goods of natural human communities, ranging from the smallest and most fundamental (the household) to the greatest and most encompassing (the political community). The second volume will be devoted to the relations of those natural communities to the supernatural Kingdom established by Christ.


“The good, the common good, the highest good—these and other concepts have once more come to permeate political discourse in the West. While this is a salutary development, there is also much confusion in the air over what they really mean. No more: This lucid and learned anthology is a fantastic one-stop primer for the perplexed layman.”


author of From Fire, by Water and The Unbroken Thread


“While the world, in its flight from reality, rushes headlong into moral and political disorder, an extraordinary renaissance of Catholic social and political thought has also been taking place. Innocuous phrases like ‘common good conservativism’ and ‘Catholic integralism’ now have a frisson about them, even enlivening geopolitical disputes about right order. In this extraordinary set of essays, we have some of the first fruits of a renaissance essential to the recovery of our sanity.”


Catholic University of America


Catholic Integralism and the Common Good collects refreshingly original essays by thinkers committed to an authentically Catholic view of our common life. It is a handbook for those eager to enter the public sphere with the intellectual resources to actualize the kingship of Christ in politics and culture. The long-heralded death of liberalism is at hand. Emerging from its grave is a new tribalism in the form of identity politics. All the more necessary, then, is this volume’s careful explication of the common good, which meets the intrinsic human desire for genuine community and a vibrant civil society ordered to our true spiritual ends.”


University of St. Thomas


“This stimulating collection of essays suggests what Catholic Social Teaching might look like today, had Pope Benedict’s “hermeneutic of continuity” been applied consistently throughout its course.”


author of Redeeming Beauty and Lost in Wonder

About the Author

EDMUND WALDSTEIN, O.Cist. is a monk of the Cistercian Abbey of Stift Heiligenkreuz in Austria, lecturer in moral theology at the Abbey’s theological college, and parish priest of Gaaden and Sulz. Born in Italy and raised in the United States and Austria, he studied at Thomas Aquinas College in California, the Hochschule Benedikt XVI in Heiligenkreuz, and the University of Vienna, where he was promoted Doctor of Theology in 2019. His research has focused on eudemonism, the common good, Catholic integralism, and theological readings of literary fiction.


PETER A. KWASNIEWSKI is a former professor of theology, philosophy, music, and art history, a composer of sacred choral music, and author and speaker on topics concerning Catholic Tradition. He has written or edited fourteen books, including, most recently, The Ecstasy of Love in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas (Emmaus Academic, 2021) and Are Canonizations Infallible? (Arouca, 2021).

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