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As the democratic West seeks to defend its ideals against religious and secular fundamentalism and to export these democratic values to underdeveloped nations, Cardinal Pell argues that it weakens its own political and social architecture by becoming more secular and divorced from the Christian values upon which it was founded. Drawing heavily from the work of Pope John Paul II, the archbishop of Sydney, Australia, warns against the idea of supporting human rights by separating these rights from both the natural law and from the innate human dignity that is Christianity's core contribution to political thought. It is the secularists' "primacy of conscience," he writes, that conflicts with the Christian "primacy of Truth" and that poses the greatest threat to modern democracies. Not only is Christianity compatible with modern science and political thought, his thinking follows, but it is essential to obtaining a complete understanding of both those fields. Though some of his views on specific issues may inspire debate, readers of any political or religious background should enjoy this erudite and unabashedly rational exploration of the role of religion in all aspects of modern life. Recommended for all libraries.