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Catholicism and Democracy - An Essay in the History of Political Thought


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Alasdair MacIntyre vii Introduction 1 Part I. A New Role for the Papacy: The Origins of Vatican I 5 Chapter 1. From Bossuet to Maistre: The Deconfessionalization of the State as a Political Problem 7 The Civil Constitution of the Clergy 7 The Autonomy of the Temporal Power in Relation to the Church 15 The Alliance of Church and State as a Matrix of Intolerance 22 The Inadequacy of Spiritual Constraints and the Need for Temporal Constraints 26 The French Revolution through the Lens of Political Theology 30 Chapter 2. The Collapse of Reactionary Ultramontanism 37 Napoleon's Miscalculations 37 Felicite de Lamennais on the Atheism of the Law 46 Against Political Theology 51 A Papacy Refocused on Its Spiritual Role 58 Alexis de Tocqueville and the Preservation of Gallicanism 69 Part II. A New Role for the Laity: The Origins of Vatican II 81 Chapter 3. Intolerant Secularism and Liberal Secularism 83 Auguste Comte: From Papal Infallibility to the Infallibility of Science 84 Laicism as Statism 88 Two Kinds of Laicity 95 Emile Littre's "Catholicism of Universal Suffrage" 99 Charles Peguy: The Eternal Dwelling in the Temporal 103 Chapter 4. The Political Virtues of Moderation 109 Neither Maurras nor Marx 109 The Political Role of the Laity 117 Freedom of Religion as the Cornerstone of Catholic Political Thought 127 A Degree of Disenchantment since Vatican II 132 A Positive Idea of Laicity 141 Conclusion 147 Notes 153 Index 179

About the Author

Emile Perreau-Saussine (1972-2010) was a lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. He was the author of "Alasdair MacIntyre."


"[I]mpressive."--Sylvana Tomaselli, Tablet "Catholicism and Democracy inaugurates a much-needed effort to recount the history of Catholic political ideas in the democratic age. Sadly, this fine book is also Perreau-Saussine's final work, as the professor passed away at the age of thirty-seven in 2010. It is to be hoped that its posthumous publication will inspire others to pick up the important thread that he has so brightly illuminated."--Jeffrey A. Smith, First Things "Catholicism and Democracy treats an important subject with originality and erudition, remaining indispensable reading for anyone interested in the relationship between Christianity and modern political thought."--Carolina Armenteros, Catholic Historical Review "Perreau-Saussine's work is provocative, brilliantly argued, and largely convincing... [T]he present work should go a long way toward shifting our understanding of the historical dialogue between Catholicism and democracy in modern France."--Paul Cohen, American Historical Review

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