A journal of academic theology

Christiane Alpers

A Catholic Boost for Democracy: Politicizing Performed Solidarities

This article examines the contribution of Catholic political theology to contemporary
discussions about a lack of solidarity in liberal constitutional democracies particularly
in Europe. John Milbank’s interpretation of this lack as indicating that secular liberalism
has seen its day and should be replaced by a Catholic political order is presented as
a viable alternative to attempts at strengthening the secular constitutional state at
the pre-political level, as well as to Habermas’s deliberative democratic solution. Yet,
reading Milbank against himself, the author argues that a Catholic political theology,
precisely because it should follow Milbank’s suggestions, cannot seek to replace the
present sociopolitical order. Instead, Catholic political theologians should discern
where the truth breaks through in this order, where people can act in surprising
solidarity with each other even if this conflicts with their political views.

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