The Global Face of Public Faith

cover art
312 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878401390 (0878401393)

October 2003
LC: 2003004567

Moral Traditions series


Table of Contents

The Global Face of Public Faith
Politics, Human Rights, and Christian Ethics
David Hollenbach, SJ

The Global Face of Public Faith addresses the hotly debated question of the role religion should play in politics in both the American and international contexts. It engages the fears that public religion threatens American democracy and could lead to a global clash of civilizations and new wars of religion. It analyzes how Christianity can attain common ground with other religious communities, thus becoming a force for peace and human rights. The separation of church from state need not mean the privatization of religion. Religious engagement in public life can strengthen civic life by encouraging active citizen participation that promotes both justice and peace. The question of religion and politics should thus become an argument about how faith becomes public, not whether it does. Religious communities, Christianity in particular, should be vigorous advocates of human rights, democratic governance, and economic development worldwide. In so doing, they will also become peacemakers.

David Hollenbach is a calm voice of reason in a chaotic world, with an eye that sees beyond national horizons to where human needs and human rights converge. He is convinced that religious traditions can find common ground—through the use of rights and rights language. The Global Face of Public Faith reinforces his commitment to confronting such issues as poverty and economic development, globalism, and interreligious dialogue. He focuses here on faith and the Catholic tradition in politics; the role of the church in American public life; and the wider issues of global challenges and ethics—in a search for a common set of moral standards and a international ethic through a commitment to universal human rights. While not denying the difficulties of forging such a consensus, he nonetheless sees the possibility for justice, and reasons for hope. And hope is something the world can always use.

David Hollenbach, SJ, holds The Margaret O'Brien Flatley Chair in Catholic Theology at Boston College and is the author of several books on ethics, including Catholicism and Liberalism and The Common Good and Christian Ethics.

James F. Keenan, SJ, Series Editor
"With a new and growing world-wide concern for both measured moral responses about what constitutes the good society set alongside fears of fundamentalist religious arguments about the relationship of fatih, politics, and human rights, Hollenbach presents us with an excellent and finely drawn work on the role of Christian ethics in this debate. When reflection on moral judgment and courage are called for, this work presents a context and a call."—Gregorianum

"These important essays show that no one has a better grasp than David Hollenbach of the significant issues involved in the role of the church and religion in a pluralistic society in the light of both the Catholic tradition and the broad contemporary debate in the United States. We are all in his debt."—Charles E. Curran

Table of Contents

Part One: Fundamental Matters

1. Faith in Public

2. Tradition, Historicity, and Truth

3. Virtues and Vices in Social Inquiry

4. Social Ethics under the Sign of the Cross

Part Two: The Church in American Public Life

5. Religion, Morality, and Politics

6. Religion and Political Life: Theoretical Issues

7. Freedom and Truth

8. The Context of Civil Society and Culture

9. Politically Active Churches and Democratic Life

Part Three: Global Challenges

10. Christian Social Ethics after the Cold War

11. Human Rights and Development: The African Challenge

12. Global Faiths, Cultures, and Global Ethics