The World as It Could Be
The World as It Could Be

The World as It Could Be

Catholic Social Thought for a New Generation


240 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Paperback

Paperback, $24.95 (US $24.95) (CA $27.95)

Publication Date: October 2011

ISBN 9780824526665

Price: $24.95


“A remarkable set of insights about the ordering of society that best promotes integral human development.†—Newt Gingrich

Providing insight and into the world’s most pressing concerns—those of human rights, human dignity, and world peace—bestselling author and priest Thomas D. Williams adds his reassuring voice to the panoply of issues that call to question the meaning of faith. One of the most trusted and dynamic voices from the Catholic community and the official Vatican analyst for CBS News, Father Williams helps parishioners step back from today’s controversies and understand Catholic teachings in a deeper way. Addressing the most heated debates ripped from national headlines and fervently discussed between Catholics—from abortion and capital punishment to the economy—Father Williams draws upon his years of teaching in this detailed yet accessible analysis of the moral dilemmas and political challenges that Catholics face every day. Examining these moral conflicts, and the often opposing forces of individual rights versus those of the community, Father Williams speaks to orthodox Catholics and non-Catholic observers alike in this examination of the Catholic faith, it’s influence around the world, and what it teaches millions of followers about human rights and a better world.


“The World as it Could Be offers a thoroughly understandable explanation of the richness of Catholic social thought applied to a broad range of contemporary moral challenges. Most importantly, Father Williams explains how the truth about the dignity of the human person—rooted in God’s creation of Man in His image—has shaped Catholic social teaching about the ‘new things’ challenging this dignity from Pope Leo XIII to Pope Benedict XVI. The result is a remarkable set of insights about the ordering of society that best promotes integral human development.†—Newt Gingrich

“This is an important book—a richly sourced, intelligent and engaging overview of the roots and current state of Catholic social thought. Grounded in excellent scholarship and written with admirable clarity and balance, this text will be an invaluable resource for Catholics serious about understanding the social implications of their faith for years to come.†—Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver

“This volume not only explores the riches of Catholic social teaching, but clarifies and develops important aspects of that teaching. It is essential reading for anyone interested in Catholic social thought.†—Kenneth L. Grasso, Texas State University

“Someone who knew nothing of the tradition of Catholic thought about morality and social life would find in The World as It Could Be a lucid and compelling introduction to the subject. But Fr. Williams’ book is far more than that. It is a philosophically sophisticated engagement with that great and challenging tradition by a scholar who recognizes that, for all its virtues, it is and will always be a work in progress.†—Robert P. George, professor, Princeton University

“Father Thomas Williams manages to make clear the thought of the Social Magisterium even while taking the reader through the challenging complexity of the subject matter. He emphasizes consistency at the level of principles without ignoring the way that the questions and approaches to problems evolve. This book is useful for beginners and scholars.†—Russell Hittinger, professor, University of Tulsa

“Fr. Thomas Williams is a distinguished teacher of the social doctrine of the Church. His thoughtful and expert reflections on its historical development and on possible approaches to new issues and challenges make The World as it Could Be a valuable resource for all those interested in the wisdom the Church’s social teaching offers society for the twenty-first century.†—George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

“A leading expert on the Church’s social teachings, Father Williams writes with verve and clarity on the development of doctrine in fields as diverse as the legitimate use of force, global governance, our duties to our neighbors, and the challenge of scientific advances that have run ahead of moral reflection.†—Mary Ann Glendon, professor, Harvard University

Author Biography

Thomas D. Williams is a nationally recognized Catholic priest and the Vatican analyst for CBS News. He teaches at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Atheneum and is the bestselling author of Spiritual Progress. He lives in Rome.