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.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Beyond Politics II

In my last post, I encouraged us to look beyond politics as we creatively engage the task of developing Catholic Legal Theory.  Gregory Wolfe has helped clarify my thinking, giving voice to my intuitions.  He describes himself as a “conscientious objector” in the culture wars, and although I was skeptical of his claim at first, I have now come to see it.


His objection is different than many other Catholics who find it difficult to take sides in the culture wars because they think that the right (Republicans) is correct on some issues and the left (Democrats) is correct on other issues.  His objection, as I understand it, is more fundamental.  He objects to the primacy given to politics in our culture.  I will address this in posts entitled Beyond Politics III and Beyond Politcs IV.  But, first his view of religious conservatives and liberals.


In an essay with the “half-serious, half-ironic” title, “Religious Humanism:  A Manifesto,” Wolfe argues that conservatives err by emphasizing the divinity of Christ at the expense of his humanity with a tendency to “hold such a negative view of human nature that the products of culture are seen as inevitably corrupt and worthless.”  He sees the liberal error as emphasizing the humanity of Christ at the expense of his divinity, making him “nothing more than a superior social worker or popular guru.”  Liberals, he posits, have the tendency “to accommodate themselves to the dominant trends of the time  baptiz[ing] nearly everything, even things that may not be compatible with the dictates of faith.”


He suggests that it is difficult to maintain “the incarnational balance of the human and the divine” because “human beings find it difficult to live with paradox.  It is far easier to seek resolution in one direction of the other; indeed, making such a choice often seems to be the most principled option.”  I can relate to this in my own life, but that is for another day.


Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

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