Monday, November 07, 2005

Briefly: Recommended reading on 'Christianity and Democracy'

W. Lindsey Wheeler comments on my blog:

"How absurd is this:
[Citing Neuhaus]: "Democracy is a relative good, but it is superior to other orders because: 1) it is the form of government that, under the conditions of modernity, best accommodates the Christian understanding of human dignity;"

And then Chris you agree. Show me in Scripture where democracy is approved. Scripture approves only two forms of government--monarchy and mixed goverment (a republic, politeia).

I can not believe what I am reading. Why doesn't the church teach from its own Religious Divinely Inspired Writings?

Chris please Plato saw democracy as a disease of men. When their character becomes corrupt, democracy is the sign of that corruptness. Democracy breaks down righteousness and is the product of egalitarianism.

After constantly posting this Link: The Classical definition of a republic, is it all for nought?

Here is the scripture:

"...remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth (Politeias) of Israel,..." New Testament, Eph., 2.12

"But our commonwealth (Politeuma) is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,..." New Testament, Phl., 3.20

Tell me what is going on? Democracy is sign of the degeneracy of the people? Is not the Catholic Church about teaching the TRUTH? Why do you Chris continue to advocate democracy????? Why?

First, as to the distinction btw/ 'republic' and 'democracy', I refer you to I. Shawn McElhinney's post , on the oft-quoted remark by Benjamin Franklin, in which he observes that the structure of our government is moreso that of a republic than a strict democracy. I'll also wager that Fr. Neuhaus, for his talk of democray, is certainly aware of this distinction as well.

Second, there is more to Catholic tradition than an appreciation of Plato, and in matters of politics and economics (as well as other issues of morality) the Church isn't necessarily confined to a reading of the Scriptures, but the breadth of Catholic tradition over the centuries and the teaching authority of the Church.

To observe what Catholic tradition has to say with respect to constitutional democracy, I'd refer you to the many authors found on this website, among them George Weigel, Kenneth L. Grasso, Father John Courtney Murray (but of course), the relevant documents of the Second Vatican Council and papal encyclicals.

Among the readings the following might be worthwhile:

I am confident that my readers will be able to provide numerous additional recommendations on this topic as well.

* * *

Elsewhere in the comments W. Lindsey Wheeler wonders:

. . . the author does not respond and nobody else does either--why is that because we know we are promoting error? or are we too cowardly to address the situation? Or are we too high and mighty (too elitist) to respond?
I get between 12-20 commments a day on my various blogs, as well as various petitions of this or that nature. I work a vigorous day job and have much to occupy my evenings besides the internet, including a good amount of reading. Consequently, the time I do spend is particularly precious, and my friends' blogs generally receive preferential treatment. However, as my fellow readers know, if they find W. Lindsey Wheeler's comments worthy of response they are certainly invited to do so -- commenting on this blog is, of course, open to all save that they do so in civil fashion.

(A word of advice: call it the 'Fr. O'Leary Syndrome', but posting as many as 10 verbose comments in succession to a single post is a good indication that one might avail himself of a wonderful new device that is the fruit of modern technology: the blog). =)