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Believing ScholarsTen Catholic Intellectuals$
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James L. Heft

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780823225255

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823225255.001.0001

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A Catholic Modernity?

A Catholic Modernity?

(p.10) Chapter 1 A Catholic Modernity?
Believing Scholars

Charles Taylor

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses the state of Christianity, and especially Catholicism, in the modern world. The lecture, delivered at University of Dayon in January 1996, offered Charles Taylor the opportunity to speak about the religious dimensions of his intellectual commitment—dimensions left implicity in his philosophical writing. This chapter elaborates Taylor's theological views and his sense of the cultural placement of Catholicism, its history and trajectory. It argues against the common claim that obstacles to religious belief in modern culture are epistemic and that they have to do with the triumph of the scientific worldview. It follows that the real obstacles are moral and spiritual, having to do with the historic failures of religious institutions. The chapter also offers a picture of modern culture in which the denial of transcendence can put the most valuable gains of modernity in danger, the primacy of rights and the affirmation of life.

Keywords:   affirmation of life, Charles Taylor, Catholicism, religious belief, primacy of rights

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