Appeared in Autumn 2001, Vol. XXVI, No. 3  Download PDF here


David Blankenhom’s impressive volume, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem (New York: Basic Books, 1995), not only raises two key questions of central concern to the fate of our civilization but also answers them in a manner that flies in the face of the current liberal views on fatherlessness. The first question deals with the primary cause of fatherlessness in contemporary America. Blankenhorn rejects the basic answer offered by the mainstream progressive academic establishment, which argues that socio-economic structural factors (economic inequality for the poor and increasing socio-economic status for middle-class women) as well as various forms of discrimination (e.g. sexism, racism, homophobia, nativism) foster the breakdown of family life. The radical feminist sociologist, Judith Stacey, represents such progressivist thinking when she states that “centrists” like David Blankenhorn “have it backward when they argue that the collapse of traditional family values is at the heart of our social decay.” She continues:

The losses in real earnings and in breadwinning jobs, the persistence of low-wage work for women and the corporate greed that has accompanied global economic restructuring have wreaked far more havoc on Ozzie and Harriet land than have the combined effects of feminism, sexual revolution, gay liberation, the counterculture, narcissism and every other value flip of the past half-century.2

Similarly, as social scientist William M. Epstein argues,

Blankenhorn silently fails to refute alternative explanations for the dissolution of the U.S. family, namely, that it is not society’s moral climate but the received economic and social conditions of society-the loss of decent blue-collar jobs, the increased need for two-worker families, the intense pressures of work, unemployment, and so forth-that are powerful influences on family formation and dissolution.3

On the contrary,-for Blankenhorn, fatherlessness is on the increase precisely because of a radical change in most of American culture, fomented primarily by a new class of intellectuals, bureaucrats, therapists, and social activists with assorted vested in terests in promoting a certain type of social change. The author states:

As a cultural idea, our inherited understanding of fatherhood is under siege. Men in general, and fathers in particular, are increasingly viewed as superfluous to family life: either expendable or as part of the prob- lem… Our society is now manifestly unable to sustain, or even to find reason to believe in, fatherhood as a distinctive Domain of male activity.4

It is interesting to note here that the Blankenhorn versus Stacey/Epstein debate regarding the family in American society at-large reflects an earlier debate about the family in American urban ghetto life between social scientists Edward Banfield and William J. Wilson.5 While both Banfield and Wilson agree on the pathological character of much that transpires in such settings, they profoundly disagree over the primary factors bringing about such a condition. Banfield sees much of the problem stemming from the acceptance, on the part of a significant segment of the poor, of a then counter-cultural set of values that include present-orientedness, hedonism, sexual promiscuity, a rejection of a work ethic, and a constant recourse to violence. Wilson sees the problem, correspondingly, as essentially a socio-economic one, stressing such factors as the move from goods-producing to high technology service-producing industries that favor those who are highly formally educated, the loss of manufacturing jobs in the inner city, a labor surplus spurred on in part by a dramatic increase in the number of women in the labor force, and cyclical movements in the economy in which minorities are typically the last hired and first fired. If one agrees that Banfield has the better of the argument, then one can argue that the cultural degeneracy that once was contained in the ghetto is now dispersing itself upward throughout the American middle class, albeit in the latter case more self consciously and intentionally engineered by the new class.

My sense, as a Catholic social scientist, is that thinkers like Blankenhorn and Banfield are basically correct in their respective arguments. A Catholic social science grants primacy to the cultural over the material in the overall dialectics of social existence. Human beings are blessed, in the final analysis, with free will. Structural, economic, and biological factors do, indeed, condition but never absolutely determine thought and behavior. Simply put, in the final analysis, the two major contemporary producers of fatherlessness, i.e., out-of-wedlock childbirth and divorce, involve choice-albeit choice within contexts that might mitigate culpability somewhat.

Another important aside in the author’s analysis is Blankenhorn’s claim (very similar to that made by George Gilder and others) that fatherhood, as contrasted to motherhood, is a cultural invention. The meaning of fatherhood for the individual man is, as he puts it, shaped less by biology than by a cultural script…. Despite their other virtues, men are not ideally suited to responsible fatherhood. Although they have the capacity for fathering, men are inclined to sexual promiscuity and paternal waywardness…. Because fatherhood is universally problematic in human societies, cultures must mobilize to devise and enforce the father role for men, coaxing and guiding them into fatherhood through a set of legal and extra legal pressures that require them to maintain a close alliance with their children’s mother and to invest in their children…. Because men do not volunteer for fatherhood as much as they are conscripted into it by the surrounding culture, only an authoritative story of fatherhood can fuse biological and social paternity into a coherent male identity (3).

I would suggest, followinga natural law analysis, that Blan- kenhorn is wrong on this point, at least by degree. While culture is a vitally important mediator, Blankenhorn ignores the com- plimentarity between men and women and their natural inclination for union that is part of a God-given human nature and natural social order. In this regard, late in his volume under the discussion of his normative ideal, “The Good Family Man,” Blankenhorn does discuss those fathers who “display a relaxed familiarity with an ideal of gender roles that our elite discourse typically treats with grave suspicion. That ideal is complementarity, or what might be termed the recognition of difference and dependency” (217). Blankenhorn sees such complementarity, however, almost entirely as a product of a functional socialization process, while complementarity properly considered should be viewed as something that is rooted in a healthy culture and is an expression of human nature as intended by the Creator. As Pope Pius XI stated in his encyclical letter on Christian marriage, casti connubii:

[T]he sacred partnership of true marriage is con- stituted both by the will of God and the will of man. From God comes the very institution of marriage, the ends for which it was instituted, the laws that govern it, the blessings that flow from it; while man, through generous surrender of his own person made to another for the whole span of life, becomes, with the help and cooperation of God, the author of each particular marriage, with duties and blessings annexed thereto from divine institution.6

The second key question addresses the issue of the consequences of contemporary fatherlessness. Blankenhorn again dismisses the prevalent politically correct response, which is to deny that there are any social, psychological, and moral dysfunctions produced by fatherlessness as such. As argued by some radicals, the absence of adult men in the family household can actually best be viewed as a societal advance. From the anti-male perspective of many lesbians and some feminists, to paraphrase Branch Ricky, fatherlessness is an example of “addition through subtraction.” From this perspective, the only type of man needed is what Blankenhorn refers to as the “Sperm Father.” For others on the Left, fatherlessness or single-parent womanhood is simply seen as a legitimate lifestyle alternative. While some progressives may acknowledge that much recent social science research correlates or associates many negative phenomena with fatherlessness, the relationship, it is argued, is not causal, that is, it is spurious or purely accidental. Put another way, a typical claim being made by many progressives is that fatherhood is not essential given a benevolent welfare state that could serve, in essence, as a surrogate husband for the single mother, supporting her with income supplements and education, health care, job training, housing, child care, legal assistance and other such social services. Blankenhorn, in this regard, speaks of the growing acceptance in society of the “Unnecessary Father.”

Michael Lamb perhaps represents a more nuanced progressivist critique. He argues, in essence, that Blankenhorn is not completely in error but has overstated his case:

I disagree with Blankenhorn’s central conclusions that father absence causes all major social problems and that only one type of fatherhood can serve children’s and society’s needs. . . . There is little doubt that the phenomena concerned-single parenthood, fatherlessness, crime, poverty, poor school performance, and psycho-social maladjustment are interrelated, as Blankenhorn proposes and as many social scientists have shown. But evidence of co-occurrence is not sufficient to establish causality, and there remains considerable controversy on this score.7

Blankenhorn, in contrast, makes the case that fatherlessness is, without doubt, the key agent in promoting pressing social problems such as youth violence, domestic violence against women, sexual abuse against women, poverty and economic insecurity among children, the decline of character and competence in children, eating disorders, school misconduct among children, and juvenile and out-of-wedlock childbearing, to name but a few. As the author forcefully states: “Paternal disinvestment cannot be offset by either maternal investment or public investment. As a society, we will not solve our crisis of fatherlessness with prison cells, mentoring programs, antiviolence curricula, boyfriends, antistalking laws, children’s advocates, income transfers, self-esteem initiatives,or even mothers. We will solve it only with fathers” (48).

But why, according to Blankenhorn, is fatherhood so indispensible? He offers two reasons:

First, fatherhood, more than any other male activity, helps men to become good men: more likely to be good citizens, and to think about the needs of others…. Second [it] is designed to supplement maternal investment in children with paternal investment in children. Paternal investment enriches children in four ways. First, it provides them with a father’s physical protection. Second, it provides them with a father’s money and other material resources. Third, and probably most important, it provides them with what might be termed paternal cultural transmission: a father’s distinctive capacity to contribute to the identity, character, and competence of his children. Fourth, and most obviously, paternal investment provides children with the day-to-day nurturing feeding them, playing with them, telling them a story that they want and need from both of their parents. In virtually all human societies, children’s well-being depends decisively upon a relatively high level of paternal investment(25).

While Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem is essential reading for the concerned and intelligent citizen of the American Republic, it is not without a major flaw. Blankenhorn does not sufficiently take into account the indispensible role that the Judeo- Christian, especially Catholic, tradition can play in American society. I state this despite two acknowledgements of Blankenhorn’s invocation of religion. First, in his discussion of the moral underpinnings of “The Good Family Man,” he states that one of its two sources “is the language of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition [which] equates masculinity with servanthood I am a good man because I serve others” (210-1). Secondly, he also calls upon the creation of “an interfaith council of religious leaders [who] could speak up and act up on behalf of marriage” (230). Nevertheless, Blankenhorn’s references in his volume to the salutary efforts of religion on the family and society are simply too fragmentary and sporadic. The truth is that fatherhood is presently undergoing the process of what Blankenhorn terms “deculturation” for no major reason other than that it is presently being divorced from the Judeo-Christian heritage. Put an other way, over the past thirty years, American civilization has witnessed a profound change in the perceived function and meaning of marriage. As recently as the mid-1960s, American society took for granted that marriage was essentially a religious and social institution where parents willingly accepted as their duty to God, society, and the family the call to bring children into the world and to raise them properly. Today, marriage is viewed increasingly as an “expressive” institution enhancing inter- and intra-personal development. Crudely put, marriage is now seen less as a series of obligations than as an arena for the exercise of “fun.” And when the fun stops, so does, predictably, the marriage. For the most part, then, fatherlessness should be viewed only as the proximate cause of many of America’s most pressing social problems. Put yet another way, ultimately the most urgent social problem confronting American civilization is not fatherlessness but Godlessness.


A major section of Blankenhorn’s volume is dedicated to explaining precisely what is the “cultural script” or dominant message about fatherhood that has been institutionalized throughout large sectors of contemporary American society and propagated by the “new class.” There are eight characters in Blankenhorn’s script, with three playing major roles (the “Unnecessary Father,” the “Old Father” and the “New Father”). The “Unnecessary Father” may “be useful in some ways … be a nice guy … but he is nonessential, peripheral, not that important”

(76). The “Old Father,” for Blankenhorn, “wields power … controls … decides . . .tells other people what to do. He has fangs. This aspect of his character generates suspicion and resentment: sometimes from his wife, frequently from his children, and, increasingly, from the larger society as well” (89). The “New Father,” conversely, represents the movement toward androgyny, “a repudiation of gendered social roles [thereby] denying fatherhood as a social activity” (117). There are five minor characters in Blankenhorn’s cultural script, all also unsatisfactory substitutes for what he terms the “Good Family Man,” yet growing in social importance. They are the “Dead Beat Dad,” the “Visiting Father,” the “Sperm Father,” the “Stepfather” and the “Nearby Guy.” For Blankenhorn, “to be a good-enough father, a man must reside with his child and sustain a parental alliance with the mother of his child. In cultural terms, these five minor fatherhood roles are understudies, almost fathers, precisely because their fatherhood is unsupported by these twin foundations” (126).

Overall, what is the meaning and purpose of fatherhood as portrayed in the present American cultural script? For the author, “each of the eight characters in this script… conveys the notion that fatherhood, as a gendered social role for men, is either unneeded or a problem to be overcome” (69).

The issue now arises as to what are the vested philosophical, emotional, material, political, and social status interests of the new class, that is, “those credentialed authorities on whom modem societies increasingly rely to name the problems, interpret the facts, define the options, and set the agenda for public action” (66), in promoting this “deculturation” of fatherhood?’ Blankenhorn stresses the first two forms of interest. Some feminists, for instance, want to destroy all forms of patriarchy, while others, in their promotion of androgyny (the alleged blending of male and female characteristics) are in rebellion against the authority represented by the prototypical “Old Father” of the 1950s. A debunking sociological analysis also uncovers the vested material, political, and social status interests of this “new class,” the assorted lawyers, therapists, family professionals, social workers, psychiatrists, academics and government employees who profit by the decomposition of the traditional nuclear family. Scholars Allan C. Carlson and Bryce J. Christensen argue that the weakening of the traditional family is actually a clever political strategy to institutionalize socialism in America as the host of newly created social pathologies will be slated to be “solved” by an ever-expanding welfare state.9

For David Blankenhorn, there is only one acceptable form of fatherhood: the “Good Family Man.” He notes, however, that “as a cultural model, he is largely missing from our current scholarly and expert discourse on fatherhood. . . . Despite [his] cultural imperceptibility, millions of men in the United States are Good Family Men . . . yet their ranks are rapidly thinning” (201). Blan- kenhom describes his normative deal as follows:

[T]he Good Family Man is neither a resurgent Old Father nor a
New Father in waiting. He wields authority. He believes that he is doing men’s work in his family. He assumes that his fatherhood is necessary,and irreplaceable. At the same time, he knows that his wife also wields authority. He knows that her work in the family, while not identical to his, is equally important and irreplaceable. He aspires to the ideals of paternal tenderness and compassionate marriage. He believes that men who lead are men who serve (202).


Toward the end of his volume, Blankenhorn addresses the issue of the appropriate strategy for reversing the cultural shift toward fatherlessness or, conversely put, for igniting a social movement in favor of the “Good Family Man.” As he correctly notes about the prospects of a such a social movement,

[It] cannot draw its main strength from Washing- ton politicians, Hollywood scriptwriters, Madison Avenue advertising firms, or the conferences of professional scholars. Cultural elites can help or hinder social change, but their views, mercifully, are not all that matters. For fatherhood, the seed- beds of renewal must be local and immediate. The real shift must occur from the bottom up, around kitchen tables, less a reflection of elite fashion than a revolt against it (225).

Blankenhorn offers the reader “a dozen modest proposals . . . to encourage and give voice to such a movement” (226).

He self-consciously acknowledges that “as responses to the trend of fatherlessness, they are limited, speculative, and fragmentary. Taken together, they do not constitute a blueprint. They are not intended as twelve new answers [but] might at least point us in a certain direction” (234).

Some of Blankenhorn’s proposals are symbolic, others much more concrete. Some involve government direction, others the initiatives of a local concerned citizenry. All appear quite consistent with Catholic social thought, in both method and content. (Let me point out, in passing, that the Catholic concept of “subsidiarity” in no way precludes, under certain situations, the intervention of government.) Blankenhorn’s first proposal is that every man in the United States should pledge publicly “to live [his] life according to the principle that every child deserves a father; that marriage is the pathway to effective fatherhood; that part of being a good man means being a good father; and that America needs more good men” (226). Second, he suggests that “the president of the United States, acting through the White House Domestic Policy Council, should issue a brief annual report to the nation on the state of fatherhood,” (226) the family equivalent of annual reports on the nation’s leading economic indicators. Third, “a few good men should start creating Father’s Clubs in their local communities” (227). Fourth, the United States Congress could provide valuable financial and legal assistance in the creation of “Safe Zones”-the cultural equivalent of economic Enterprise Zones-dedicated to reducing violent crime and the proportion of children who live in father-absent homes in the nation’s local urban neighborhoods (2289). His fifth suggestion is to “turn public housing develop- ments into reasonably hospitable environments for raising children” (230) by, in part, giving “priority in public housing to married couples” (229). Sixth, “a few good community organizers, veterans of the civil rights and poor people’s movement … could build the infrastructure for a broad new populist movement to empower families and strengthen community life” (230). Seventh, “an interfaith council of religious leaders could speak up …for marriage in the public square, seeking to spark a national discussion about whether and how we might wish to change from a divorce culture to a marriage culture” (230-1). Eighth, “the U.S. Congress should pass, and the president should support, a resolution stating that the first question of policy makers regarding all proposed domestic legislation is whether it will strengthen or weaken the institution of marriage” (231). Ninth, “local and county officials from across the nation should follow the example of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners in Minnesota [which] drafted a ‘vision statement’ [calling for a] community ‘where healthy family structure is nurtured and fewer children are born out of wedlock”’ (232). Tenth, “state legislatures across the nation should support fatherhood by regulating sperm banks” (233). Eleventh, “a few well-known professional athletes should organize a public service campaign on the importance of fatherhood” (233). And finally, twelfth, “a few prominent family scholars could write new textbooks for high school students about marriage and parenthood” (233).


It is a useful exercise to try to place Blankenhorn and his thesis about fatherlessness in what Jameshunter,10 among others, has termed the overall “culture war” taking place today in America between the remnants of the Judeo-Christian heritage and an ascendant secularism. Speaking very broadly, three major camps in the war can be identified, although in fairness it must be pointed out that important distinctions within each camp can be discerned.

What gives articulation to the first and progressive camp, led by Marxists and feminists, is an outright hostility to the traditional nuclear family. From this Marxist-feminist synthesis comes the proposition that a fundamental conflict between husband and wife and between husband and children is merely a microcosm of the broader class conflict allegedly endemic to all societies allowing private property to exist. Men are seen here as economic, emotional and sexual predators constantly attempting to exploit their “property.” As such, marriage and family are seen as, at worst, institutions to be destroyed, at best, institutions to be thoroughly transformed.

The second Judeo-Christian and natural law camp proposes that the traditional nuclear family is the basic cell upon which civilization rests. Furthermore, the relationship that normally exists between husband and wife and between parents and children is organic, supportive, and complimentary.

Between these two endpoints, one can posit a broad center that ranges from neo-liberals to neo-conservatives. Moreover, this center has been self-consciously “carved out” in the attempt to bring about compromise between the two endpoints, in other words, essentially to preserve the system from any counter-cultural revolution, whether from the Left or Right. The compromisers from the Left are the “neo-liberals”; the compromisers from the Right are the “neo-conservatives.” A neo-liberal has been defined by one wit as a “liberal with common sense,” while a little further down the road toward sanity and ultimate realism, a neo-conservative has been defined as a “liberal mugged by reality.” It might well be said that the neo-liberals evince far too little common sense while the neo-conservatives, for their part, have been insufficiently mugged by reality. This broad center is basically characterized by two intellectual positions: 1) its begrudging acknowledgement that liberal civilization is being derailed, and 2) its unwillingness to see anything in the past or anything other than liberal civilization as a normative ideal to be institutionalized, even in an updated form. I place Blankenhorn in this center, although perhaps, leaning a tad in the direction of the Judeo-Christian/natural law coalition. The single most important missing ingredient in Blankenhorn’s worldview is, again, his insufficient acknowledgement of the indispensable role of the Judeo-Christian heritage in supporting and undergirding American civilization and family life.


In an otherwise flattering review of Fatherless America, Chester E. Finn, Jr. states:

[E]ven Blankenhorn seems to pull his punches when it comes to the what-should-be-done part of his otherwise excellent book. While his recommendations are unimpeachable, they are also bland and almost comically lacking in force…. If we were to get truly serious about fatherlessness, we would not only be paying attention to reform- ing welfare and ‘restigmatizing’ illegitimacy, we would also be devising ways to make divorce and separation scarce, at least in cases where marriage produces children…. It means actually making divorce more difficult, painful, or embarrassing to obtain; punishing desertion; and stigmatizing separation.11

The inadequacy and insufficiency of David Blankenhorn’s proposals for addressing fatherlessness in America provides me the opportunity to bring up the issue of a radical Catholic countercultural or restorationist critique of American civilization. The kinds of reform suggested by Finn presuppose a religious-cultural revolution that can only be led satisfactorily by a Catholic vision. Such a critique would downplay the argument made by scholars like Rev. John Courtney Murray, who assert that the roots of the American Republic were effectively grounded in the principles of the natural law.12 Conversely put, it would accentuate the argument made by scholars like John Rao that American civilization is, at bottom, a Protestant idea whose cultural focal point is much more the value of individualism than anything akin to the natural law.13 Early in its history, individualism in American life was both contained and given centrifugal direction toward the idea of a Good Society primarily by a Protestant Biblical and, secondarily, by a deist Republican, vision. As Robert Bellah, among others, has noted, individualism in American society has now become privatized, and I would add, selfish, as the value of individualism is primarily used in the American middle classes to promote success in the sphere of work (“utilitarian individualism”) and in the spheres of inter- and intra-personal development (“expressive individualism”).14 Part and parcel of this movement, whose ultimate endpoint is the idea of “autonomous individualism,” is the ascendancy of moral relativism in both belief and practice. Put another way, the claim of a Catholic restorationist critique is that our present-day unfettered individualism and relativism is the logical result of the internal contradictions of Protestantism in American civilization working themselves out in history. I have spoken elsewhere of “the pyrrhic victory of individualism in American civilization: the exhaustion of an inadequate idea.”15

If my analysis is correct that is, that American civilization is ultimately based on an individualism that will inevitably selfdestruct over time-then the refoim needed to right America over the long haul is systematic and structural, not ameliorist and incremental. Put another way, unless one is accepting of temporary and insufficient solutions, what is required of America is not the patching of a moral cavity but the reconstruction entailed in a root canal. I am also obviously suggesting that the only viable grounds of systematically restructuring American civilization is along the principles of Catholic social doctrine with its positing of an objective moral order, in which such eternal principles as subsidiarity and personalism replace those of Statism and individualism. American civilization can only be saved and can only establish its longterm viability by conversion to the immutable and eternally valid principles of the natural law under the authoritative guidance of the Vicar of Christ.


1 This paper was first presented to the group Americans United for the Pope for their Outstanding Catholic Lecture Series held at the Monsignor Delaney Knights of Columbus Hall, Plainedge, New york, April 10, 1997.

2 Judith Stacey, “Dan quayle’s Revenge: The New Family Values Crusaders,” in Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Social Issues, ed. Kurth Finsterbusch and George McKenna (Guilford, CT: Dushkin, 1996), 24.

3 William M. Epstein, book review of Fatherless America in Society 33.6 (September-October, 1996): 90.

4 David Blankenhorn, Fatherless america: Confronting our Most Urgent Social Problem (New york: Basic Books), 2.All future references will be cited parenthetically in the text according to page number.

5 Edward Banfield, The Unheavenly City Revisited (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1974) and William J.wilson, The Truly Disadvantaged (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).

6 Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii (Boston, Daughters of St. Paul, 1930).

7 Michael E. Lamb, book review of Fatherless America in Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58.2 (May, 1996): 526-27.

8 For a useful discussion of the vested interests of the “new class” regarding family life in American society, see Brigitte Berger and Peter L. Berger, The War over the Family (Garden City, (New york: Anchor Books, 1984). For an analysis of how secular society has attacked the traditional nuclear family, see Joseph A. Varacalli, “Secular Sociology’s War Against Familiaris Consortia and the Traditional Family: Whither Catholic Higher Education and Catholic Sociology?” in The Church and the Universal Catechism, ed. Rev. Anthony J. Mastroeni (Steubenville, Ohio: Franciscanuniversity press, 1992).

9 See Allan C. Carlson, Family Questions: Reflections on the American Social Crisis (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1990) and Bryce J. Christensen, Utopia Against the Family: The Problems and Politics of the American Family (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1990). See also my review essay on their volumes in Faith & reason 18.2 (1992).

10 James D. Hunter, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America (New york: Basic Books, 1991), and Before the Shooting Begins: Searching for Democracy in America’s culture War (New York: The Free Press, 1994). Also see my review essay on Hunter’s volumes, “The Contemporary Culture War in America: Whither Natural Law, Catholic Style?” Faith & Reason 21.4 (1995).

11 Chester E. Finn, Jr., book review of Fatherless America in commentary 99.4 (1995): 62.

12 Rev. John Courtney Murray, S.J., We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition (New york:Image Books, 1964).

13 John Rao, Americanism and the Collapse of the Church in the United States (St. Paul, MN: Remnant Publications, 1984).

14 Robert N. Bellah,, Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American life (New york: Harper & row, 1985).

15 See J. Varacalli, Bright Promise, Failed Community: Catholics and the American Public Order (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2001), ch. 3.