By Robert Gascoigne

Western liberal societies are characterised by means of tales: a favorable tale of freedom of moral sense and the popularity of group and human rights, and a adverse tale of unrestrained freedom that results in self-centeredness, vacuity, and the harmful compromise of human values. Can the Catholic Church play a extra significant position in helping liberal societies in telling their larger tale? Australian ethicist Robert Gascoigne thinks it may. In "The Church and Secularity" he considers the that means of secularity as a shared house for all voters and asks how the Church can give a contribution to a sensitivity to - and recognize for - human dignity and human rights. Drawing on Augustine's "City of God" and "Vatican II's Gaudium et spes", Gascoigne translates the which means of freedom in liberal societies during the lens of Augustine's "two loves," the affection of God and neighbor and the affection of self, and divulges how the 2 are hooked up to our modern adventure. "The Church and Secularity" argues that the Church can serve liberal societies in a good manner and that its personal social id, rooted in Eucharistic groups, needs to be sure up with the fight for human rights and resistance to the commodification of the human in all its types.

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46. 8. Augustine, City of God V:26. Rowan Williams, in “Politics and the Soul: 4 A Reading of the City of God,” Milltown Studies 19/20 (1987): 55–72, notes that Augustine praised Theodosius because he was not subject to the libido dominandi; he was capable of sharing power and accepting humiliation (65). For Williams, Augustine emphasizes “consulere,” spiritual nurturing, within the context of both small and large communities, which are “essentially purposive, existing so as to nurture a particular kind of human life” (63).

However, in contrast to Milbank and Cavanaugh, Kraynak does not interpret Augustine as condemning the “earthly City” in this sense (as secular order) and rightly notes that Augustine’s “political teaching is thus a kind of moderate authoritarianism that respects the limited boundaries of the earthly city” (94). However, Kraynak builds on this to develop an Augustinian theory of contemporary politics and a critique of the “Kantian Christianity” of democracy based on human rights (152–54), arguing that the contemporary import of Augustine’s work is that it “gives sanction to all constitutionally limited governments under God, even those that are not based on human rights or social contract theory” (191).

55 The two loves have their outcomes in different expressions of freedom. The love of God and neighbor seeks its glory not in itself but in God and expresses itself in “the witness of a good conscience,” in a humility and trust that recognizes God’s Lordship, and in community between those who are entrusted with government and those who are governed. The love of self is expressed in contempt for God, by an obsession with its own glory and power, and by the libido dominandi, a lust that binds not only the ruled but also the rulers themselves who are captive to it.

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