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Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life

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  • Posted May 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A defense of Catholic positions in political sphere

    Every two years or so, whenever the US electoral cycle gets back in full swing, there seems to be a renewed interest and controversy concerning the Catholic attitudes and positions in the electoral process. The media seems to be obsessing over the conflicts, real and imaginary, between Catholic politicians and their Church. The lay Catholics seem to be confused and torn between their support for a politician or a cause, and the official teaching of their Church. Various civil liberties groups decry the undue influence that religion has on the political process, and spend considerable time and effort at silencing those who dare to use their faith in the public square. It is partly this cacophony of voices that Charles Chaput, OFM Cap, the current Archbishop of Denver, has in mind when he chose to write "Render Unto Caesar." It is a book that had a particular relevance during the 2008 election season, but will continue to have significance for many years to come. Archbishop Chaput is very clear and exacting when it comes to stressing the importance of certain core Catholic moral beliefs in context of the political sphere, most importantly in case of value and dignity of human life. He is also a vocal defendant of the role of religion in public sphere, and supports his argument from both Christian beliefs and traditions, and from a purely secular point of view. He is also very careful to give a nuanced position on the response of bishops to catholic politicians who publicly defy the teachings of the Church and endorse and support policies that go clearly against those teachings.

    Overall, this is a very well written and informative book that would be invaluable to all Catholics in guiding them to form their own political positions.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2008

    Provocative and a must read

    Chaput is an adroit thinker and an excellent writer. His grasp of American and Catholic history and today's political issues is strong, and his arguments are skillful. This is a very readable, and very persuasive, case for the role religious faith should play in public affairs.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Excellent Clear and Courageous

    This is a refreshingly clear and simple book that lays out for Catholics how we are called to live the public dimension of our faith. In a world that is increasingly darkened by rampant secularism and a mentality of "keep your faith private," this book stands out as a light and a beacon of hope. Indeed, we are called to live our faith openly and without apology. Indeed, we are called to engage our full faculties of reason and faith in harmony with each other. Indeed, we are called to be publicly Catholic so as to contribute uniquely and positively to the public aspects of this world which we have been given by our Creator, to whom we are ultimately accountable. Archbishop Chaput's writings here are extremely useful. I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    All politicians need to read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2008

    Catholic, Christian, Compelling

    If Christians take their faith seriously, they must manifest that faith in every aspect of their life -- even in voting. This is the fundamental assumption, as applied specifically to Catholic Christians, of Archbishop Chaput's latest book. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be lived in the fullness of the New Life the Christian receives in Him. The new life of Christ implies, does it not, that human life is of extraordinary value, as intended by God from the beginning. If our politics devalues life at any stage, are those secular beliefs consistent with the faith we profess? Catholics believe that all human life is indeed precious, from conception to natural death. Human rights have no value unless the essential right to life is recognized as the foundational human right. Catholics are obligated to vote and advocate for the right to life of the unborn, the weak, the elderly, the disabled, the poor, and the sick. Party cannot trump the right to life. Union membership cannot take priority over protection of the unborn.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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