By E. Kennedy
During this review of secularism and its background, Kennedy lines, via a sequence of highbrow biographies of major eu thinkers comparable to Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Dostoyevsky, and Solzhenitsyn, simply how the Western international replaced from spiritual to secular.
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Extra info for Secularism and Its Opponents from Augustine to Solzhenitsyn
Unlike Augustine, he does not think that the religious need do manual labor, because concupiscence or lust can be curbed by other means. If manual labor is undertaken, it is by “supererogation” or beyond the call of duty. As for the laity, Thomas saw them as living according to their station in life, like St. Louis, who strove for perfect detachment from material things yet lived amid regalia. Poverty, like celibacy, was an evangelical counsel, not a commandment. 23 Thomas would never deny the possibility of lay sanctity or clerical sin.
Wherefore if the prince’s authority is not just but usurped, or if he commands what is unjust, his subjects are not bound to obey him, except perhaps accidentally, in order to avoid scandal or danger. 29 While Aquinas stresses the end of politics, he has little to say about its origin. ” Aquinas not only views spiritual welfare or happiness as the goal of politics but, like the eighteenth-century philosophes, takes into account the physical components of human welfare—geography, climate, diet, health, and population.
Did the clerical role in the coronation of kings suggest that kings were beholden to the church and ultimately to the pope? Could popes dissolve the subjects of their obligation of obedience to their rulers? Could popes dissolve kings of their marital bonds? Thomas, with his customary balance, first opted for obedience to rulers for the sake of peace. 27 Thomas wrote at a time when secular law was pushing forward with alarming strides. ” Such sayings, accompanied by the prestige of the Roman Empire, inspired kings to take a more aggressive approach to their feudal, contractual subjects when it was to their advantage.