A Catholic Modernity?: Charles Taylor's Marianist Award by James L. Heft

By James L. Heft

This publication bargains a sequence of reflections at the country of Christianity, and particularly Catholicism, on this planet this present day. the center piece of the amount is a lecture through the popular thinker Charles Taylor, from which the identify of the ebook is taken. The lecture, introduced at Dayton collage in January of 1996, provided Taylor the chance to discuss the non secular dimensions of his highbrow commitment--dimensions left implicity in his philosophical writing. actually, this can be the one position the place Taylor, a Roman Catholic, spells out his theological perspectives and his experience of the cultural placement of Catholicism, its background and trajectory. He makes use of the party to argue opposed to the typical declare that stumbling blocks to non secular trust in smooth tradition are epistemic--that they need to do with the triumph of the clinical worldview. the genuine hindrances, says Taylor, are ethical and religious, having to do with the historical disasters of non secular institutions.

Four recognized commentators on faith and society, Protestant, Catholic, have been invited to answer Taylor's lecture: William M. Shea, George Marsden, Jean Bethke Elshtain, and Rosemary Luling-Haughton. Their chapters provide numerous astute reflections at the tensions among faith and modernity, and specifically at the position that Catholicism can and may play in modern society. the quantity concludes with Taylor's perceptive and considerate reaction to his interlocutors. A Catholic Modernity offers some of the most considerate conversations so far concerning the position of the Catholic Church within the smooth international, and extra quite often, concerning the position of faith in democratic liberal societies.

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Additional resources for A Catholic Modernity?: Charles Taylor's Marianist Award Lecture, with responses by William M. Shea, Rosemary Luling Haughton, George Marsden, and Jean Bethke Elshtain

Sample text

Here we have the alternatives presented in the past by Catholic integralists and by anti-Catholic secularists and Protestants. Neither group, it must be said, lacked evidence to support its judgment that Catholic participation in modern life is impossible. 11 When my professor friend and the socialist editor spoke, they touched a sore point in my own psyche, sensitive as I always am to that "amused contempt and pity" mentioned by Michael Lacey. 12 He enunciates a version of the Catholic principle: "Catholic" means universality through wholeness, a wholeness constituted by complementarity rather than identity of parts.

In the end, the question becomes a maximum one: how to have the greatest degree of philanthropic action with the minimum hope in mankind. A figure like Dr. Rieu in Camus' La Peste stands as a possible solution to this problem. But that is fiction. What is possible in real life? I said earlier that just having appropriate beliefs is no solution to these dilemmas, and the transformation of high ideals into brutal practice was demonstrated lavishly in Christendom, well before modern humanism came on the scene.

Our picture of the world has safely located all evil outside us. The very energy and hatred with which we combat evil prove its exteriority to us. We must never relent but, on the contrary, double our energy, vie with each other in indignation and denunciation. Another tragic irony nests here. The stronger the sense of (often CHARLES TAYLOR 33 correctly identified) injustice, the more powerfully this pattern can become entrenched. We become centers of hatred, generators of new modes of injustice on a greater scale, but we started with the most exquisite sense of wrong, the greatest passion for justice and equality and peace.

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