Secularism, Catholicism, and the Future of Public Life: A Dialogue with Ambassador Douglas W. Kmiec

Secularism, Catholicism, and the Future of Public Life: A Dialogue with Ambassador Douglas W. Kmiec

Secularism, Catholicism, and the Future of Public Life: A Dialogue with Ambassador Douglas W. Kmiec

Secularism, Catholicism, and the Future of Public Life: A Dialogue with Ambassador Douglas W. Kmiec

Synopsis

How can religion contribute to democracy in a secular age? And what can the millennia-old Catholic tradition say to church-state controversies in the United States and around the world? Secularism, Catholicism, and the Future of Public Life, organized through the work of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies (www.ifacs.com), responds to these questions by presenting a dialogue between Douglas W. Kmiec, a leading scholar of American constitutional law and Catholic legal thought, and an international cast of experts from a range of fields, including legal theory, international relations, journalism, religion, and social science.

Excerpt

A preface can fulfill different functions. Typically, it can serve as an introduction to the contributions that follow, touching on each briefly. (Dr. Gary Adler’s contribution to the volume fulfills that function with precision and clarity.) a different role for a preface is to highlight the significance of a publication for a variety of audiences. This will be my emphasis here. in publishing Douglas Kmiec’s essay along with several strong commentaries, the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California has added another contribution to its library of engaging volumes on topics of vital importance to the role of religion generally and Catholicism specifically in contemporary society.

The questions engaging secularity, modernity, and civil society (within states and transnationally) are of universal significance. States and cultures of very different histories, political traditions, and religious traditions have confronted and/or will confront some version of the issues which Kmiec and his commentators discuss in this work. Moreover, the universal significance of these themes does not suffer from emphasis provided at various points in the work on the Catholic and Western history of engaging secularity. As a complement, not a critique, to the following contributions, I propose here an addendum to the meaning of secularity and then two areas of application for the religion-secularity relationship, both of which have been addressed . . .

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