Thursday, November 17, 2011
I'm not sure if this makes me a neo-con or a classical liberal or something else, but my friend and colleague Patrick Brennan already knows that I do not think that the doctrine of the Kingship of Christ--which we will celebrate this weekend--has the political implications with respect to the competence of the state that Patrick implies it does in his post. What Patrick regards as a "contingently incompetent" constitutional arrangement in our American regime seems to me an essentially sound basis for limiting the jurisidiction of the state with regard to religious doctrine and was affirmed by the teaching of the Second Vatican Council in Dignitatis Humanae that it is "completely in accord with the nature of faith that in matters religious every manner of coercion on the part of men should be excluded" (Para. 10). The state must, of course, foster religious freedom, and the coercive power of the state does extend to public order (including public morality). But (only) the temporal common good is the end of political society, a Catholic via media between the alternatives of secularism and theocracy.
* A play on John Rawls's claim that his theory of "justice as fairness" was "political, not metaphysical."