03 November 2012

"Approaches to Caesar: Modes of American Catholic Participation"

I received word on Friday afternoon that my proposed presentation for this year's colloquium at the School of Theology has been accepted.

The title of the gathering is "A Political or Apolitical Faith: The Role of Faith in Politics, Civil Discourse and Governance." 

It will take place on Friday, November 30, at Boston College, beginning at 4:00 pm.

Here is the abstract of my presentation:

Approaches to Caesar: Modes of American Catholic Participation

            In contemporary times, the participation of Catholics in the American political conversation is largely taken for granted.  While Catholics no longer must defend their participation in politics as such, they must often explain their particular political positions vis-à-vis what is commonly (and ominously) called “Church Teaching.”  Catholics of varying political persuasions possess different opinions about not only the role of their faith in their personal (and public) politics, but also the role of the Church in determining their public positions on these same matters. 
The question must be asked: how may we move beyond the labeling and identity politics that run concurrently with the expression of American Catholics’ faith?  This presentation will use the method of modeling developed by Avery Dulles and H. Richard Niebuhr to identify paradigms of political participation by American Catholics.  In doing so, the inherent strengths and weaknesses of varied approaches will be explored.  This presentation suggests that the myriad manners in which Catholics engage political issues can be understood by their underlying values and subsequently engaged by others who do not emphasize these same values.
            These models are inherently apolitical, as they describe methods and not policies.  Catholics participate in politics as (1) politicians, (2) prophets, (3) moderators, (4) outsiders and (5) partisans.  As in any model, there will be fluidity between the categories; nevertheless, these models provide an opportunity for synthesis through which the participation of American Catholics in politics may be better understood.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting, and quite topical obviously. I also like the title, which is an art in itself. I always enjoyed thinking up clever titles for my research papers. Of course, many times the title would be better than the research. Good luck!

Chris J