With an in-depth exploration of the five primary challenges facing the Church—theology and politics, secularization, the transition from serving as a nationalist voice of opposition, questions of justice, and accommodation to sometimes hostile civil authorities—this book will be of interest to scholars and students in religion and politics as well as Catholic Church clergy and laity. By demonstrating how national churches vary considerably in the emphasis of their teachings and in the scope and nature of their political involvement, the analyses presented in this volume engender a deeper understanding of the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the world.
Politics in the Parish is the first empirical examination of the role Catholic clergy play in shaping the political views of their congregations. Gregory Allen Smith draws from recent scholarship on political communication, and the comprehensive Notre Dame Study of Parish Life, as well as case studies he conducted in nine parishes in the mid-Atlantic region, to investigate the extent to which and the circumstances under which Catholic priests are influential in shaping the politics of their parishioners.
Smith is able to verify that clergy do exercise political influence, but he makes clear that such influence is likely to be nuanced, limited in magnitude, and exercised indirectly by shaping parishioner religious attitudes that in turn affect political behavior. He shows that the messages that priests deliver vary widely, even radically, from parish to parish and priest to priest. Consequently, he warns that scholars should exercise caution when making any global assumptions about the political influence that Catholic clergy affect upon their congregations.
—From the Introduction
Few topics in recent years have ignited as much public debate as the balance between religion and politics. Does religious thought have any place in political discourse? Do religious believers have the right to turn their values into political action? What does it truly mean to have a separation of church and state? The very heart of these important questions is here addressed by one of the leading voices on the topic, Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver.
While American society has ample room for believers and nonbelievers alike, Chaput argues, our public life must be considered within the context of its Christian roots. American democracy does not ask its citizens to put aside their deeply held moral and religious beliefs for the sake of public policy. In fact, it requires exactly the opposite.
As the nation’s founders knew very well, people are fallible. The majority of voters, as history has shown again and again, can be uninformed, misinformed, biased, or simply wrong. Thus, to survive, American democracy depends on an engaged citizenry —people of character, including religious believers, fighting for their beliefs in the public square—respectfully but vigorously, and without apology. Anything less is bad citizenship and a form of theft from the nation’s health. Or as the author suggests: Good manners are not an excuse for political cowardice.
American Catholics and other persons of goodwill are part of a struggle for our nation’s future, says Charles J. Chaput. Our choices, including our political choices, matter. Catholics need to take an active, vocal, and morally consistent role in public debate. We can’t claim to personally believe in the sanctity of the human person, and then act in our public policies as if we don’t. We can’t separate our private convictions from our public actions without diminishing both. In the words of the author, “How we act works backward on our convictions, making them stronger or smothering them under a snowfall of alibis.”
Vivid, provocative, clear, and compelling, Render unto Caesar is a call to American Catholics to serve the highest ideals of their nation by first living their Catholic faith deeply, authentically.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The breakdown of imperial China in the face of Japanese and Western encroachments
The early struggles between the ideologies and armies of Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong
China's bitter and costly war with Japan
The Chinese Communist Party’s successes during the 1950s
Mao Zedong’s turbulent and tragic Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution
Deng Xiaoping’s far-reaching reforms that resulted in the dismantling of socialism and China’s dramatic economic growth
The triumphant hosting of the 2008 summer Olympics and China’s emergence as a world power.
Spanning the years from China's defeat in the Opium Wars to its current status as a potential superpower, the fifth edition of Modernization and Revolution in China is essential reading for courses on Modern Chinese History, Chinese Politics and Modern East Asia.