God and Caesar

God and Caesar: Selected Essays on Religion, Politics, & Society

EDITED BY M. A. CASEY
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 205
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32b37k
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  • Book Info
    God and Caesar
    Book Description:

    Drawing on a deep knowledge of history and human affairs, the essays pinpoint the key issues facing Christians and non-believers in determining the future of modern democratic life

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1697-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. IX-XIV)
    Brian E. Ferme

    Although it was not totally unexpected, Alaric’s capture of Rome on 24 August 410, resonated not only in the city itself but throughout the empire. We know that three days of looting, destruction, and massacre followed, though the churches of the apostles Peter and Paul were spared. Thousands of Romans, Christians, and pagans found refuge within its walls though it was also accompanied by a vast exodus which emptied the city. We also know that Jerome lamented the disappearance during those powerfully compelling days of his friends Pammachius and Marcella, two among the anonymous dead. Caught up by the catastrophe...

  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)
    George Cardinal Pell

    Democracy in Australia has been good to the Catholic community, who spread over the entire continent, nowhere constituting even a local regional majority.

    Since 1986 Catholics have replaced Anglicans as the largest denomination, a little over one-quarter of the population. They welcomed the separation of church and state, initially as some protection against an Anglican–Protestant majority, quietly ignoring the encyclical of St. Pius X Vehementer nos of February 1906, which condemned the separation of church and state as “a supreme injustice” done to God. They realized, as in the United States, that their democracy was fundamentally directed against neither...

  5. CATHOLICISM AND DEMOCRACY
    • 1. LAW AND MORALITY
      (pp. 9-24)

      Whether and to what extent the principles of morality, and in particular religious morality, should be incorporated in the civil law is a difficult question, although for some it finds an apparently easy answer. Those who argue that religion and morality are private matters hold that they should not be incorporated into law at all. The usual justification for this position is that because each person comes by his own lights to his own estimation of the good, not only is general agreement on the principles of morality practically impossible, but the impossibility of general agreement powerfully suggests that there...

    • 2. THE CHURCH AND POLITICS
      (pp. 25-34)

      Much ink has been spilled on the relationship of religion and politics. Unfortunately there will be no breakthroughs here, only my attempt to identify some markers in this often vexed discussion and to discuss a few particular problems.

      Our Lord’s teachings have profound consequences for public life, but Jesus never (or hardly ever) delivered a political sermon. Demonstrably, Christ was not a social activist; but demonstrably, the Gospel is deeply subversive of all politics, proclaiming new attitudes to power, wealth, opportunity, and government. Christ was concerned first and foremost with God’s love and mercy for us, with the imperative of...

    • 3. CATHOLICISM & THE ARCHITECTURE OF FREEDOM
      (pp. 35-51)

      In 1894 the English prime minister Lord Rosebery appointed to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge Regius Professors of Modern History, neither of whom had published a book or would do so in their lifetimes. The first of these was Rosebery’s old tutor at Oxford, Frederick Powell. The other had been debarred from entering Cambridge in 1850 by the unrepealed religious tests against Catholics. His name was John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, better known to us as Lord Acton.

      Acton was a man of immense erudition, who became an inspiring public speaker. He is remembered today primarily for his aphorism that...

    • 4. CATHOLICISM AND DEMOCRACY
      (pp. 52-67)

      Describing Australia as a secular society has become almost a throw-away line, but the reality is different. Data from the 2001 Census showed that 68 percent (64 percent in 2006) of Australians describe themselves as Christian, and about 75 percent believe in God.¹ The Australian Community Survey indicates that two-thirds of Australians believe a spiritual life is important to them, and 70 percent have some contact with the Christian churches each year. Thirty-three percent of the population say they pray or meditate at least weekly.²

      None of this evidence is consistent with the claim that Australia is basically a secular...

    • 5. IS THERE ONLY SECULAR DEMOCRACY? IMAGINING OTHER POSSIBILITIES FOR THE THIRD MILLENNIUM
      (pp. 68-84)

      One of the great vices of our age is that we get used to things too quickly. The German philosopher Nietzsche, a master of the dubious aphorism, once remarked that what does not kill us makes us stronger. He held that this was how we know that “someone has turned out well.”¹ For most of us, however, and for most of human history, it is truer to say that what does not kill us we learn to live with. Those of a more pessimistic bent than myself are even tempted to claim that there is nothing that human beings cannot...

  6. FAITH, REASON, AND LIFE
    • 6. GOD, EVOLUTION, & CONSILIENCE
      (pp. 87-101)

      The distinguished Harvard University biologist Edward O. Wilson is highly regarded and is the recipient of many awards and fellowships. He has authored two Pulitzer Prize–winning books, On Human Nature (1978) and The Ants (1990), and his later book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge was widely read and discussed when it appeared in 1998.

      Wilson took the term consilience from an 1840 book of W. Whewell, an English philosopher of science, and used it to mean a linking of theories and facts across disciplines to create a single groundwork of explanation. The basics of his system are beguilingly simple:...

    • 7. THE ROLE OF THE BISHOP IN PROMOTING THE GOSPEL OF LIFE
      (pp. 102-125)

      Oshima is a small Japanese island, thirty-two kilometers long, cradled between the large islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. There we can confront the future. In 2005, Japan had the oldest population in the world, because the Japanese are living longer and having fewer and fewer children. Their fertility rate fell to 1.33 in 2005, down from 1.39 in 2000 and well below the rate of 2.1 children per woman necessary to keep the population stable.¹

      Oshima is the Island of the Old, with the oldest population in the oldest country. When a Western journalist visited the island in 1999,...

    • 8. THE CASE FOR GOD
      (pp. 126-145)

      Beginning in the second half of the eighteenth century science cast itself as the great antithesis of religion. For a while this looked rather convincing. What intelligent person could seriously prefer religion, with its superstitious beliefs in God, grace, the soul, and life after death, to science, with its clarity and light? From this point of view it was clearly desirable that science displace religion as the guiding force in people’s lives, so as to put existence on a completely “rational” basis—which usually meant nothing more than placing it under the dominion of reductionist materialism.

      Today science itself is...

    • 9. THEOLOGY AND THE UNIVERSITY
      (pp. 146-156)

      Newman was a university man and knew the university well, not just as a Fellow of Oriel College but also as vicar of St. Mary’s church in Oxford. He was renowned as a university preacher, with Gladstone describing him as the most powerful influence with students since Abelard.¹

      The Second Discourse in Newman’s The Idea of a University (the original lectures were delivered in 1852) makes very clear his conviction that theology is not just mystification and metaphysics, but hard knowledge. Newman preferred to speak of the circle (rather than hierarchy) of knowledge as a way of emphasizing the interdependence...

    • 10. HUMAN DIGNITY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND MORAL RESPONSIBILITY
      (pp. 157-174)

      In his 1993 encyclical Veritatis splendor Pope John Paul II claimed that the Church was facing a genuine crisis that touched the very foundations of moral theology.¹ He explained that this crisis was no longer a matter of limited and occasional dissent but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional moral doctrine.²

      It is a moot point whether the crisis has lessened or deepened in the years since Veritatis splendor was published, or indeed whether the situation remains basically as it was. Rome has spoken, but in the English-speaking world there is no evidence that the matter...

  7. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 175-182)
  8. INDEX
    (pp. 183-190)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 191-191)