William T. Cavanaugh teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota. Much of his work focuses on how worship is a political act. His book, Torture and Eucharist, written out of his experiences living in Chile, examines how the state and the church came into conflict under Pinochet’s long reign of terror. The state’s method of torture is a type of liturgical action, built around myths of state power and meant to create a docile and individualized society. He argues that the Eucharist is the church’s response to such state power. Jesus was tortured and the church sprang out of God’s refusal to allow the state to have the final word. The myth that religion causes violence, not the state, is another target of Cavanaugh’s research.
Cavanaugh has written extensively about how church worship practices have meaningful alternatives to globalization and consumerism. His latest book, Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire, lucidly examines the pathologies of free -market capitalism, arguing that the Eucharist should shape Christians into the type of people who know how to consume rightly. His other book, is Theopolitical Imagination.
On this page you will find samples of Cavanaugh’s writings that would typically only be available to those with access to a research library. In addition we have provided links to several audio lectures available on the internet.
Articles by William Cavanaugh available for reading:
(for further reading see the unofficial archive set up at Catholic Anarchy as well as Cavanaugh’s homepage)
Grounded: Creation and Economic Crisis (at Ekklesia Project gathering, Chicago, 2009)