Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Christianity, Christendom, and Human Rights

In thinking about what Jack Balkin said, I suggest that Michael Scaperlanda, Charles Reid, and all of us ponder what the eminent philosopher Charles Taylor (who is Roman Catholic) has written.  Taylor argues that the "affirmation of universal human rights" that characterizes "modern liberal political culture" represents an "authentic development[] of the gospel . . ."  Taylor, A Catholic Modernity? 16 (Oxford, 1999).  But then Taylor goes on to make this sobering (to Catholics and other Christians) observation:

"[M]odern culture, in breaking with the structures and beliefs of Christendom, also carried certain facets of Christian life further than they ever were taken or could have been taken within Christendom.  In relation to the earlier forms of Christian culture, we have to face the humbling realization that the breakout was a necessary condition of the development."

Id.  For Taylor's elaboration of the point, with particular reference to modern liberal political culture's affirmation of universal human rights, see id. at 18-19.


Perry, Michael | Permalink

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