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Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

Jacques Maritain in Perspective

Volume 21
Christianity and Democracy

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Displaying: 1-20 of 25 documents


christianity and democracy: jacques maritain in perspective
1. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Oskar Gruenwald Culture, Religion and Politics: Why Liberal Democracy Needs God
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This essay proposes that while a "Christian" democracy may be too idealistic, liberal democracy presupposes transcendent moral and spiritual norms, in particular a Judeo-Christian foundation for human dignity and human rights. A Biblical understanding of human nature as fallible and imperfect susceptible to worldly temptations, emphasizes free choice and personal responsibility, and the imperative to limit the temporal exercise of power by any man or institution. Maritain's concept of integral or Christian humanism is founded on personalism, the unique value and dignity of each human being created in the image of God, and the need for community. The major challenge for literal democracy is how to reconcile individual freedom with socio-economic-political-legal institutions and processes which require the constraint of man-made laws and the exercise of authority and power The essay condudes that perhaps the major legacy of the American founding is the notion of the priority of liberty which offers the best prospects for conjoining reason and faith, the secular and the sacred, Athens and Jerusalem, The priority of liberty also animates Maritain's vision of a "Christianly-inspired" personalistic society capable of advancing both individual human flourishing and the common good.
2. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Geoff Wells Jacques Maritain's Personalistic Society and Pluralism
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Jacques Maritain's concept of ttte personalistic society describes a democratic unity of the body politc that mitigates the tension between the material and spiritual aspects of human existence. This unity, grounded in the principles of natural law, makes possible in our terrestrial existence a communion of good living and a rectitude of life--what Maritain calls the bonum honestum. The good he envisions both facilitates and reacts the ideals of an integral Christian humanism, but it necessarily requires for its realization the infusion of Christian ideals into the body politic. It is crucial to Maritain that the process by which this infusion occurs allow for a wide participation of diverse actors, bothh religions and non-religious. But it is also crucial that they are able to converge from their different perspectives into an agreement on "Christianly inspired" practical principles that will subsequently guide public policy. This essay argues that the collective character of the moral personally represented by Maritain in this unity describes a problematic corrtext tor public dialogue that risks undermining the social and political pluralism it presupposes.
3. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Monica D. Merutiu Christian Heritage and Democracy in Europe
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The Judeo-Christian tradition has put its imprint on a fascinating and complex creation: Europe. Looking at the European stage today, one cannot help notice its struggles, challenges, and changes. The core of European unity cannot be stable and durable if the spiritual dimension is left aside, considered unimportant compared to the political and economic dimensions. In an era said to experience "pathologies of reason" and "pathologies of religion," the interdependence of reason and religion in a democratic, liberal state becomes highlty relevant. Understanding the complementarity between Christian values and the democratic ideal is the key to a genuine democracy that remains true to its goals. Maritain insisted that democracy needs virtue, and hence must not be separated from its moral dimension.
4. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Stanislaw Burdziej Christianity and Democracy: A Marriage of Reason
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Historically, modern democracy can be rightly regarded as an extension of some of the basic tenets of Christianity, with the letter's focus on individual dignity and inalienable rights of every person regardless of their ethnic or social origin. In some aspects, however, democracy remains a project directly rivaling Christianity. This essay traces the rivalry to the French Revolution which tried to replace Catholicism with the cults of Reason and Supreme Being, which shows that without recourse to traditional sources of authority, such as religion, democracy is incapable of constructing a legitimate social order While democracy continues to be the form of government most compatible with Christian doctrine, the relationship between the two is not a necessary nor an equal one. It depends on whether democracy is viewed as a technique of government, when compromise and cooperation are possible, or as an ideology, when such coexistence is increasingly difficult.
5. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Catherine E. Wilson Jacques Maritain and Eduardo Frei Montalva: The Prophetic Factor of Democracy
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Eduardo Frei Montalva, co-founder of the Christian Democratic Party and President of Chile, represented for Jacques Maritain, French neo-Thomist philosopher, an example of prophetic leadership in contemporary times. According to Maritain, modem democracy could not survive without a profound spiritual revolution of political leadership--the "prophetic factor" of democracy--which he observed in Frei as a public official, senator, and ultimately the Presient of the Republic of Chile (1964-1970). Under his famed "Revolution in Liberty," Frei endeavored to meld socio-economic reforms with an effort to build a more participatory democratic culture in his native land. Guided by Maritain's political philosophy, Frei's initiatives set into motion the possibility of a "third way" of politics in the Southern hemisphere. In the end, this revolution ended in political disappointment due to economic stagnation, social disruption, political infighting, and the impractical idealism of Christian democracy itself.
6. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Pamela W. Proietti Maritain on Human Dignity and Human Rights
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December 2008 marked the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, arguably the single most important and influential document endorsed by the United Nations. Jacques Maritain was a primary author of the religious liberty clauses of the 1948 Declaration, and the most prominent Christian philosopher ofthe twentieth century. Maritain developed a radical critique of prevailing Westem political and social thought. A persuasive critic of secular humanism and legal positivism, Maritain sought a cultural renewal of Christian Europe by means of rediscovering an integral Christian humanism. This essay explores the central ideas in Maritain's philosophical defense of universal human rights. Maritain placed the philosophical foundation of human rights in natural law, and assumed the existence of a "natural spirituality of intelligence" grasped by a connatural, pre-philosophic intuition. Yet Pope Benedict XVI challenges the central philosophical assumptions at the foundation of Maritain's defense of human rights.
jacques maritain: a retrospective
7. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Michael Novak A Salute to Jacques Maritain
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As in the nineteenth century so in the twentieth, a number of laymen and women have appeared in the firmament of intellect and the arts to place the entire body of Christians in their debt. Of these, no one has been more influential in different spheres than Jacques Maritain. In political and social thought, no Christian has ever written a more profound defense of the democratic idea and its component parts, such as the dignity of the person; the sharp distinction between society and the state; the role of practical wisdom; the common good; the transcendent anchoring of human rights; transcendent judgment upon societies; and the interplay of goodness and evil in human individuals and institutions. To read him is to be forced to look, through such distinctions, from many angles of vision at once. And all for the sake of unity: To distinguish in order to unite," is a most suitable motto for his life's work. Maritain focused on the real content of democracy understood as all those common experiences, ways of looking at things, forms of consciousness, habits, and convictions that entire peoples acquire slowly, underlining the importance of Christian renewal for the transcendent grounding of human dignity and human rights as "the soul of democracy."
8. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Jacques Maritain Christianity and Democracy
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In this engaging APSA address, Jacques Maritain outlines the essential relationship between Christianity and democracy. In Maritain's view, it is the Gospel or the Christian leaven which has awakened the secular, temporal consciousness to supreme moral principles and the real content of democracy understood as the earthly pursuit of Gospel truths conceming the transcendent origins and destiny of man and society. Christianity teaches the inalienable dignity of every human being fashioned in the image of God, the inviolability of conscience, the unity of the human race, the natural equality of all men, children of the same God and redeemed by the same Christ, the dignity of labor and the dignity of the poor, the primacy of inner values and good will over external values, universal brotherhood, love, and justbe. Maritain distinguishes between the procedural aspects and the substantive content of democracy, but anchors the Gospel vision in the free exercise of rational and moral faculties as key to democratic self-government. He cautions that without a superior moral law by virtue of which men are bound in conscience toward what is just and good, the rule of the majority runs the risk of being raised to the supreme rule of good and evil, and democracy is liable to tum to totalitahanism, that is, to self-destruction. Maritain concludes that what has been gained for the secular consciousness, if it does not veer to barbarism, is the sense of freedom consonant with the vocation of our nature.
9. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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On 10 December 1948, the General Assembly ofthe United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a truly historic document, the full text of which is reproduced here. Following this historic act, the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories." Jacques Maritain was actively involved in the drafting of the Declaration, especially its clauses regarding freedom of conscience and religious expression.
review essay
10. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Jesse J. Thomas Overlapping Magisterial Science and Religion
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book reviews
11. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Mitchell Langbert Anderson, Brian C. Democratic Capitalism and Its Discontents
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12. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Clinton E. Stockwell Carroll R., M. Daniel. Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible
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13. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
John M. Cobin Claar, Victor V, & Robin J. Klay. Economics in Christian Perspective: Theory, Policy and Life Choices
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14. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Joseph M. Dondelinger Cohen, Daniel. Globalization and Its Enemies
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15. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Judd W. Patton Hutchinson, Robert J. The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible
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16. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Lee Anne Peck Prendergast, Catherine. Buying Into English: Language and Investment in the New Capitalist World
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17. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Jack T. Hanford Rieff, Philip. Charisma: The Gift of Grace, and How It Has Been Taken Away From Us
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18. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
George B. Palermo, M.D. Samons, Loren J. II. What's Wrong With Democracy: From Athenian Practice to American Worship
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19. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
Theodor Damian Soulen, R. Kendall & Linda Woodhead, eds. God and Human Dignity
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20. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1/2
William R. Clough Stueber, Karsten R. Rediscovering Empathy: Agency, Folk Psychology and the Human Sciences
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