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Render Unto Caesar

Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life

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eBook published by Image (The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group)

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About This Book
“People who take God seriously will not remain silent about their faith. They will often disagree about doctrine or policy, but they won’t be quiet. They can’t be. They’ll act on what they believe, sometimes at the cost of their reputations and careers. Obviously the common good demands a respect for other people with different beliefs and a willingness to compromise whenever possible. But for Catholics, the common good can never mean muting themselves in public debate on foundational issues of human dignity. Christian faith is always personal but never private. This is why any notion of tolerance that tries to reduce faith to private idiosyncrasy, or a set of opinions that we can indulge at home but need to be quiet about in public, will always fail.”
—From the Introduction

Few topics in recent years have ignited as much public debate as the balance between religion and politics. Does religious thought have any place in political discourse? Do religious believers have the right to turn their values into political action? What does it truly mean to have a separation of church and state? The very heart of these important questions is here addressed by one of the leading voices on the topic, Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia.

While American society has ample room for believers and nonbelievers alike, Chaput argues, our public life must be considered within the context of its Christian roots. American democracy does not ask its citizens to put aside their deeply held moral and religious beliefs for the sake of public policy. In fact, it requires exactly the opposite.

As the nation’s founders knew very well, people are fallible. The majority of voters, as history has shown again and again, can be uninformed, misinformed, biased, or simply wrong. Thus, to survive, American democracy depends on an engaged citizenry —people of character, including religious believers, fighting for their beliefs in the public square—respectfully but vigorously, and without apology. Anything less is bad citizenship and a form of theft from the nation’s health. Or as the author suggests: Good manners are not an excuse for political cowardice.

American Catholics and other persons of goodwill are part of a struggle for our nation’s future, says Charles J. Chaput. Our choices, including our political choices, matter. Catholics need to take an active, vocal, and morally consistent role in public debate. We can’t claim to personally believe in the sanctity of the human person, and then act in our public policies as if we don’t. We can’t separate our private convictions from our public actions without diminishing both. In the words of the author, “How we act works backward on our convictions, making them stronger or smothering them under a snowfall of alibis.”

Vivid, provocative, clear, and compelling, Render unto Caesar is a call to American Catholics to serve the highest ideals of their nation by first living their Catholic faith deeply, authentically.
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“People who take God seriously will not remain silent about their faith. They will often disagree about doctrine or policy, but they won’t be quiet. They can’t be. They’ll act on what they believe, sometimes at the cost of their reputations and careers. Obviously the common good demands a respect for other people with different beliefs and a willingness to compromise whenever possible. But for Catholics, the common good can never mean muting themselves in public debate on foundational issues of human dignity. Christian faith is always personal but never private. This is why any notion of tolerance that tries to reduce faith to private idiosyncrasy, or a set of opinions that we can indulge at home but need to be quiet about in public, will always fail.”
—From the Introduction

Few topics in recent years have ignited as much public debate as the balance between religion and politics. Does religious thought have any place in political discourse? Do religious believers have the right to turn their values into political action? What does it truly mean to have a separation of church and state? The very heart of these important questions is here addressed by one of the leading voices on the topic, Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia.

While American society has ample room for believers and nonbelievers alike, Chaput argues, our public life must be considered within the context of its Christian roots. American democracy does not ask its citizens to put aside their deeply held moral and religious beliefs for the sake of public policy. In fact, it requires exactly the opposite.

As the nation’s founders knew very well, people are fallible. The majority of voters, as history has shown again and again, can be uninformed, misinformed, biased, or simply wrong. Thus, to survive, American democracy depends on an engaged citizenry —people of character, including religious believers, fighting for their beliefs in the public square—respectfully but vigorously, and without apology. Anything less is bad citizenship and a form of theft from the nation’s health. Or as the author suggests: Good manners are not an excuse for political cowardice.

American Catholics and other persons of goodwill are part of a struggle for our nation’s future, says Charles J. Chaput. Our choices, including our political choices, matter. Catholics need to take an active, vocal, and morally consistent role in public debate. We can’t claim to personally believe in the sanctity of the human person, and then act in our public policies as if we don’t. We can’t separate our private convictions from our public actions without diminishing both. In the words of the author, “How we act works backward on our convictions, making them stronger or smothering them under a snowfall of alibis.”

Vivid, provocative, clear, and compelling, Render unto Caesar is a call to American Catholics to serve the highest ideals of their nation by first living their Catholic faith deeply, authentically.
Product Details
eBook (304 pages)
Published: August 12, 2008
Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Imprint: Image
ISBN: 9780385528597
Other books byCharles J. Chaput
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    This easy-to-read, question-and-answer book by Christopher West offers a fresh, relevant, and convincing presentation of the Church's teachings on human sexuality and marriage. Rooted in Pope John Paul II's revolutionary Theology of the Body, this book is great for RCIA, Pre-Cana, and adult education classes.

    Living the Catholic Faith

    Living the Catholic Faith
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    Addressing the question of what it means to be a Christian in the new millennium, Chaput presents a sound, contemporary vision for knowing the teachings of the Church and living them out in a spirit of love and obedience. He explores ten crucial areas in which followers of Christ must be growing if they are to experience a fresh, vital relationship with God.

    A Heart on Fire

    A Heart on Fire
    Catholic Witness and the Next America
    "A genuinely Catholic life should feed the soul as well as the mind; should offer a vision of men and women made whole by the love of God, the knowledge of creation, and the reality of things unseen; should enable us to see the beauty of the world in the light of eternity; and should help us recapture the nobility of the human story and the dignity of the human person. This is the kind of witness that sets fire to the human heart." —Archbishop Charles J. Chaput   In this eBook original, Charles J. Chaput, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, offers a powerful manifesto on the need for Americans to protect religious freedom.   As he notes, principles that Americans find self-evident—the dignity of the human person, the sanctity of conscience, the separation of political and sacred authority, the distinction between secular and religious law, the idea of a civil society pre-existing and distinct from the state—are not widely shared elsewhere in the world, and in recent years seem to be in jeopardy on our own shores.   Archbishop Chaput offers a call to action for leadership both here and abroad to challenge this damaging trend. By thoughtfully interpreting and applying Catholic values to this confusing moment in history, he provides hope for an American audience hungry for courage and counsel.

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