By Robert Gascoigne
Western liberal societies are characterised through tales: a favorable tale of freedom of judgment of right and wrong and the popularity of neighborhood and human rights, and a adverse tale of unrestrained freedom that ends up in self-centeredness, vacuity, and the harmful compromise of human values. Can the Catholic Church play a extra significant position in helping liberal societies in telling their higher tale? Australian ethicist Robert Gascoigne thinks it may possibly. In "The Church and Secularity" he considers the which means of secularity as a shared area for all electorate and asks how the Church can give a contribution to a sensitivity to - and appreciate for - human dignity and human rights. Drawing on Augustine's "City of God" and "Vatican II's Gaudium et spes", Gascoigne translates the that means of freedom in liberal societies in the course of the lens of Augustine's "two loves," the affection of God and neighbor and the affection of self, and divulges how the 2 are hooked up to our modern adventure. "The Church and Secularity" argues that the Church can serve liberal societies in a good approach and that its personal social identification, rooted in Eucharistic groups, has to be sure up with the fight for human rights and resistance to the commodification of the human in all its kinds.
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Additional resources for The Church and Secularity: Two Stories of Liberal Society (Moral Traditions)
In considering how the Church can help liberal society tell its better story in this post-Christendom age, it is illuminating to consider Augustine’s seminal analysis of the two stories of freedom: his conception of human, and indeed cosmic, history as a dramatic narrative of the conflict between two cities—the heavenly and the earthly. ” Some contemporary writers find support in the City of God for their rejection of the secular liberal state as a site for positive Christian action. 36 Yet an equivalence of the visible Church with Augustine’s “heavenly city,” and of the state with his “earthly city,” is fundamentally flawed.
39. 40. 1. 4 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. modern “nation-state,” and Augustine’s analysis of the libido dominandi in the Roman empire “carries over—mutatis mutandis—to the tragic politics of the liberal state” (206). Augustine, City of God, trans. H. Bettenson (Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 1984) XV:1, 595. All subsequent references are to this edition. R. W. Dyson, The Pilgrim City: Social and Political Ideas in the Writings of St. Augustine of Hippo (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2001), 10–11.
2. 2 23. 24. 25. ” This gave “them a way to justify and safeguard claims to autonomy and self-direction” (348), which led in turn to the “idea of a right as a subjective power of the individual” (350), giving rise to a distinctive claim and existing prior to particular social arrangements. The key scriptural influence on this was the doctrine of the imago Dei, which was linked to the capacity for moral discernment that belongs to every human being. O’Donovan, The Desire of the Nations, 230. , 274.