By James L. Heft
This booklet bargains a chain of reflections at the country of Christianity, and particularly Catholicism, on the planet at the present time. the center-piece of the amount is a lecture by way of the well known thinker Charles Taylor, from which the identify of the publication is taken. The lecture, brought at Dayton college in January of 1996, provided Taylor the chance to discuss the spiritual dimensions of his highbrow commitment--dimensions left implicity in his philosophical writing. actually, this is often the single position the place Taylor, a Roman Catholic, spells out his theological perspectives and his experience of the cultural placement of Catholicism, its historical past and trajectory. He makes use of the get together to argue opposed to the typical declare that stumbling blocks to spiritual trust in smooth tradition are epistemic--that they need to do with the triumph of the clinical worldview. the true hindrances, says Taylor, are ethical and non secular, having to do with the old mess ups of non secular institutions.
Four famous commentators on faith and society, Protestant, Catholic, have been invited to reply to Taylor's lecture: William M. Shea, George Marsden, Jean Bethke Elshtain, and Rosemary Luling-Haughton. Their chapters provide quite a few astute reflections at the tensions among faith and modernity, and particularly at the function that Catholicism can and may play in modern society. the amount concludes with Taylor's perceptive and considerate reaction to his interlocutors. A Catholic Modernity offers probably the most considerate conversations up to now in regards to the position of the Catholic Church within the sleek international, and extra mostly, in regards to the position of faith in democratic liberal societies.
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Additional info 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
Pride, elitism, and the desire to dominate play a part in this story, too, along with fear and timidity (also present in the earlier Reformers' story, but less prominent). In this critique, of course, religion is identified with the second, purist stance or else with a combination of this and the first "symbiotic" (usually labeled superstitious) stance. The third, the stance of agape/karuna, becomes invisible. That is because a transformed variant of it has, in fact, been assumed by the secularist critic.
5 My point here is not to score off neo-Nietzscheanism as some kind of antechamber to Fascism. A secular humanist might want to do this, but my perspective is rather different. I see these connections as another manifestation of our (human) inability to be content simply with an affirmation of life. The Nietzschean understanding of enhanced life, which can fully affirm itself, also in a sense takes us beyond life, and in this it is analogous with other, religious notions of enhanced life (like the New Testament's "eternal life").
It is perhaps evident in the contemporary concern to preserve life, to bring prosperity, and to reduce suffering worldwide, which is, I believe, without precedent in history. " What I was trying to gesture at with this term is the cultural revolution of the early modern period, which dethroned the supposedly higher activities of contemplation and the citizen life and put the center of gravity of goodness in ordinary living, production, and the family. It belongs to this spiritual outlook that our first concern ought to be to increase life, relieve suffering, and foster prosperity.
A Catholic Modernity?: Charles Taylor's Marianist Award Lecture, with responses by William M. Shea, Rosemary Luling Haughton, George Marsden, and Jean Bethke Elshtain by James L. Heft