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Some Catholic Religious Thinkers Are Anti-Liberal, but the Church Is Not

In the debate over the place of Christianity vis-à-vis secular liberal culture, let the Church speak for itself.

Pope Francis. Fotoholica Press/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Pope Francis. Fotoholica Press/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Response
March 19 2018
About the author

R. J. Snell is director of the Center on the University and Intellectual Life at the Witherspoon Institute and the author of, among other books, Authentic Cosmopolitanism (with Steve Cone, 2013), The Perspective of Love: Natural Law in a New Mode (2014), and Acedia and Its Discontents (2015). His essays on religion and culture have appeared in a variety of scholarly and popular publications.


In his essay for Mosaic about the recent debates on the Mortara affair and the role played in it by Pope Pius IX and the Catholic Church, Nathan Shields astutely situates his discussion within the larger framework of the Church’s fundamental “relation to the Western liberal political order”—a relation now under severe questioning by some Catholic anti-liberals. In so doing, Shields challenges us to come to grips with the historical and theoretical tensions at play.

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More about: Catholic Church, Catholicism, Edgaro Mortara, Jewish-Catholic relations, Liberalism