Thursday, August 16, 2012

NCReg: Catholic University Looks East (1851)
Ukrainian Father Mark Morozowich is the first Eastern Catholic to lead CUA’s School of Theology.

Joseph Trabbic on Maritain

Some Critical Comments on Maritain's Political Philosophy
Finally, I cannot accept Maritain’s thesis about democracy’s privileged connection to Christianity. As I read ecclesiastical history, the Church has always been very pragmatic about her relationships with the various types of political regimes, never teaching in any binding manner that some one kind of regime in particular has its roots in the Gospel. And yet, as I argued [earlier in the review], it does appear that Maritain would have to insist that Christians are in some sense bound to promote democracy. There is not the space here sufficiently to reflect on the papal teaching of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that, in fact, was quite critical of some of the same democratic tenets held by Maritain. It is ironic that in reviewing Christianity and Democracy in 1945 the prominent Unitarian theologian James Luther Adams questioned the Catholic nature of Maritain’s political thought: “How, then, does M. Maritain, the Thomist and the Roman Catholic, manage to become here the apostle and the mentor of the democracy of the future? He does it by ignoring Roman Catholicism and by ignoring the antidemocratic heritage of pre-eighteenth-century Christianity.” No doubt there are many who would say that previous Catholic teaching on political matters has since been superseded by John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris and Vatican II’s pronouncements in Dignitatis Humanae and Gaudium et Spes. But if we apply the hermeneutic of continuity proposed by Benedict XVI, we might discover that the story is far more complex than the hermeneuts of discontinuity and rupture would have us believe.
I think there is an impulse to an equality rooted in fraternity "within Christianity," such that Christian polity leans towards becoming a republic whenever possible. Perhaps Maritain's bigger mistake was identifying democracy with the contingent historical form of the modern nation-state and not addressing the problem of scale with respect to community.

Fr. Spitzer, in his Ten Universal Principles, talks about adjudicating between competing rights claims. Evidence that there is a problem with contemporary rights theory, that there can be competing claims? Or is the problem in the identification of rights with a specific understanding of ownership?

More from TEDxPannonia

Fr. Augustine's Lecture Cancelled?

A book party of sorts for his biography of St. Augustine - it was scheduled for September 26, but there is no longer any mention of it.
There is some discussion of the relationship between Church and State in the combox for Thomas Storck's Liberalism and the Absence of Purpose. My short contribution: "...while it may be somewhat useful to think of the division between the sacred and the secular in terms of supernatural and natural (especially with respect to the limits of secular authority), this can lead to be problems if we do not consider the underlying reason why this division is apt, namely the goods themselves. The political common good is communal well-being, or the virtuous life of the community – civic friendship. All friendships are open to something higher serving as a source of unity joining friends together – in this case, the higher good is God Himself. While secular authority may not be able to directly bring about man’s salvation through the imparting of grace, a Christian polity can nonetheless promote conditions which facilitate the observance of the Christian life (for example, removing obstacles)."

Mount Athos • The Holy Mountain