AskDefine | Define commonweal

Dictionary Definition

commonweal n : the good of a community [syn: common good]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The common good.

Extensive Definition

This article is about the American journal. For the British newspaper of the same name, see Commonweal (United Kingdom).
Commonweal is a New York City-based American journal of opinion edited and managed by lay Catholics. Founded in 1924 by Micheal Williams (1877-1950) and the Calvert Associates, Commonweal is the oldest Catholic journal of opinion in the United States. The journal, tagged as "A Review of Religion, Politics, and Culture," is run as a not-for-profit enterprise, and managed by a nine-member board of directors.
Commonweal publishes editorials, columns, essays, and poetry, along with film, book, and theatre reviews. Although Commonweal maintains a relatively strong focus on issues of specific interest to Catholics, this focus is not exclusionary. A broad range of issues—religious, political, social, and cultural—are examined independent of any relationship to Catholicism and the Church.
Moreover, despite its distinctly Catholic character, Commonweal has consistently spurned sectarianism and religious dogmatism, in turn attracting contributors from all points of the mainstream political spectrum in the United States. Indeed, since its inception the journal has taken a decidedly liberal stance on many of the more important issues in the modern religious, cultural and political discourse in the United States. For instance, Commonweal condemned the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; criticized the tactics employed by the Irish-American Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was a Roman Catholic; supported domestic opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War; and questioned the 1968 Papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, a document spelling out the Vatican's position on abortion and contraception.
Twenty-two issues of Commonweal are released each year, with a circulation of approximately 20,000.


As of 2008, Commonweals staff includes:
  • Editor: Paul Baumann
  • Managing Editor: Patrick Jordan
  • Poetry (review): Rosemary Deen
  • Screen (review): Richard Alleva, Rand Richards Cooper
  • Stage/Media (review): Celia Wren
  • Columnists: E. J. Dionne, John Garvey, Cathleen Kaveny, Melinda Henneberger, Jo McGowan, William Pfaff, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead

Further reading

  • Rodger Van Allen, The Commonweal and American Catholicism: The Magazine, the Movement, the Meaning, Philadelphia: Fortune Press, 1974
  • Rodger Van Allen, Being Catholic: Commonweal from the Seventies to the Nineties, Loyola University Press, 1993
  • Patrick Jordan and Paul Baumann, Commonweal Confronts the Century: Liberal Convictions, Catholic Tradition, Touchstone, 1999

External links

commonweal in French: Commonweal

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ally, archduchy, archdukedom, body politic, buffer state, captive nation, chieftaincy, chieftainry, child welfare, city-state, colony, commonwealth, country, county, domain, dominion, duchy, dukedom, earldom, empery, empire, free city, grand duchy, kingdom, land, mandant, mandate, mandated territory, mandatee, mandatory, nation, nationality, polis, polity, possession, power, principality, principate, protectorate, province, public welfare, puppet government, puppet regime, realm, republic, satellite, seneschalty, settlement, social service, social welfare, social work, sovereign nation, state, sultanate, superpower, territory, toparchia, toparchy, welfare, welfare state, welfare statism, welfare work, welfarism
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