Review: 'On Wings of Faith and Reason: The Christian Difference in Culture and Science' and 'The Person and the Polis'
Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics
Each of these two books is a collection of lectures given as part of the annual John Cardinal Henry Newman Lecture Series of the Institute for Psychological Sciences (in Arlington, Virginia). They include not only essays on moral philosophy but also popular pieces (with a neoconservative slant) and examples of moral theology. What unites these varied contributions? As Craig Steven Titus makes clear in his introductions to both volumes, these essays all aim to renew the academy and American culture with a Catholic vision of humanity.
What is especially interesting about these two books is the mode of argument they both employ, which moves from pure philosophy toward a distinctively Christian and Catholic ethic. The order of essays in The Person and the Polis is particularly instructive. Although the earlier essays occasionally refer to specifically Catholic or Christian sources, they do so in a way that gives the impression that the author does not have to rely on these sources to make his argument. The articles by Robert George, Daniel Robinson, and Hadley Arkes, for example, make barely a reference to theology or Catholicism. In addition, one hears in these essays a tone of impatience—if not resentment—toward contemporary institutions and people for their failure to see and respond to the principles set forth, which are presented as accessible to anyone with good sense.
Society of Christian Ethics
Ryan, Mark, "Review: 'On Wings of Faith and Reason: The Christian Difference in Culture and Science' and 'The Person and the Polis'" (2011). Religious Studies Faculty Publications. 118.