New York: Sheed and Ward, 1955. 12mo. (7 1/2 inches tall), original oatmeal cloth, original dust jacket. Bookseller's ticket. Mild tanning to endpapers, ink mark across original price on inner flap of the dust jacket. A near-fine copy. Item #782
"WEALTH IS A GIFT OF GOD, AND THEREFORE NOT TO BE CONDEMNED. BUT MEN MUST NOT SEEK IT SO EAGERLY AS TO FORGET TO STORE UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN" Early printing of this influential consideration of the relationship between Capitalism and Christianity by a leader of Italy's Christian Democrats. Catholicism, Protestantism and Capitalism is an early expression of the Christian Democratic tradition, birthed in the aftermath of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum. "In 1901, two years before his death Leo resolved a bitter dispute among Catholics by allowing the legitimacy of the term 'Christian Democracy'" (John O'Malley). The Christian Democratic parties of Western Europe grew of out of trade unionism, founded by "bold and perspicacious Catholics in the 1890s who gave a new direction to Catholic social action by rejecting the traditional Catholic social medieval philosophy, which favored a hierarchical society, inequality of classes, and patronage of workers by the upper classes" (Thomas Bokenkotter). But the papacy did not endorse the Christian Democrats until the 1960s until they were embraced by Pope Paul VI, who "harbored a deep sympathy for the Christian Democratic movement, which had yet to receive strong papal support" (John O'Malley). The book consists of seven sections: I. The Terms of the Problem, II. The Essence of Capitalism, III. Instruments of Capitalism, IV. The State and Capitalism, V. Catholicism and Capitalism, VI. The Rise of Capitalism, VII. Protestantism and Capitalism. Fanfani traces Capitalism's envelopment of the modern State and its collision—and fundamental incompatibility—with Catholicism: "Wealth is a gift of God, and therefore not be condemned. But men must not seek it so eagerly as to forget to lay up treasure in heaven, and they must walk carefully, for 'the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choketh up the word.'" Fanfani was first published in English by Sheed and Ward in May 1935, when it came to the attention of Peter Maurin, who added Catholicism, Protestantism and Capitalism to the list of books he recommended to the early Catholic Workers. Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church.