Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Faithful Citizenship

If you were asked to give a presentation to adults on Catholics in the public square, including voting and citizenship, what sources would you consult? I've been asked to do such a thing and have some sources but wanted some feedback. Right now I am reading through its entirety JPII's Christifideles Laici ("On Christ's Lay Faithful") for an overview of what it means to be a laymen in the Church today. I know that he touches on areas of work and societal responsibilities. I also know there is the new conference of bishops document called Faithful Citizenship and I have read through some of that. I have also read the Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics and Bishop Olmstead's short book, Catholics in the Public Square. Archbishop Chaput has a page and one-half summary of what faithful citizenship means compared to the +40 pages given by the US bishops. Chaput's article is here.

Any advice on other books or what to cover. I am open to suggestions.


Civis said...

The chapter "The Flag of the World" in ORTHODOXY by Chesterton.

OUR SACRED HONOR edited by WJ Bennett--Not an endorsement of the editor so much as his selctions for this anthology.

VIRTUOUS LEADERSHIP by Alexandre Havard.

DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA by Alexis de Tocqueville

AENIED by Virgil.

Plutarch's Lives

JOHN ADAMS by David McCullough



Brian Saint-Paul said...

Hi Jared,

You might have a look at our free PDF, "How To Vote Catholic." We tried to be evenhanded in covering the various positions faithful Catholics may hold.

Here's the link:

I also like Civis' Plutarch recommendation. Throw in Procopius' Secret History for an object lesson in how not to lead.

Jared said...


Thanks for the list. You know me, I only have a week to prepare; so needless to say I can't read all that in time. I will re-read GKC and consult the Monti book again.


Thanks for the advice. I guess you got here through Maureen. I will be sure to read your document.

I was also planning on reading some pertinent chapters from the Thomas More Sourcebook, edited by Wegemer.

Ryan Hallford said...

One concrete way the Church engages society is through its social teaching. I would recommend giving the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church a gander. This is a invaluable reference as it outlines the Church's Social teaching while highlighting social encyclicals in a very organized and topical manner. In the words of the document:

"This document intends to present in a complete and systematic manner, even if by means of an overview, the Church's social teaching, which is the fruit of careful Magisterial reflection and an expression of the Church's constant commitment in fidelity to the grace of salvation wrought in Christ and in loving concern for humanity's destiny. Herein the most relevant theological, philosophical, moral, cultural and pastoral considerations of this teaching are systematically presented as they relate to social questions."

Since this is a Vatican document you can assess it free online at the Vatican website.


I recommend at least looking at the table of contents and reading the introduction if you are not familiar with this document. Another advantage of having this document online is that you can do a word search for particular topics.

Civis said...

Ryan's comment reminds me, I did an "outline" of several of the social encyclicals. Did I give that to you?

Jared said...


Re outline, no you did not.

Also, while you're at it, can you email me the outline/notes you made from jurisprudence class? I think you gave me a copy before but I don't know where it is right now.

Losing my notes for that class is one of the most frustrating things I've ever done.


Thanks for the recommendation. No, I haven't read it yet. I have, though, read a number of social encyclicals going back to Rerum Novarum (Leo XIII). I'll search some topics.

Civis said...


I was thinking of the not-for-credit version of the class. I'f I'm not mistaked the readings are on the web and the videos are about $70. We could split the cost of videos among the particpants.

Rodak said...
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