Political Theory and Catholic Themes

Jeanne Heffernan Schindler

in Teaching the Tradition

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795307
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932894 | DOI:
Political Theory and Catholic Themes

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All that is good, beautiful, and true comes from God, and for this reason politics should be seen as part of the unity of truth. Etymologically, political philosophy is the love of wisdom in things relating to the polis. For Aristotle, politics aims at the well-being of citizens, including their moral goodness. Modern political theory emphasizes social contract theory and individual rights. The Catholic approach stresses the sociability of man and woman, made in the image and likeness of God. Life begins in the family, not with the individual, and the family is an institution to be protected and nurtured. God, who heard the cry of his people in Egypt, cares for people as members of a community. St. Paul tells Christians that they are to pray for kings and all who are in high positions. Christ came to enable us to have intimate communion with God; this is revelation, something unattainable by human reason alone. For Catholics, the foundation of political authority is the abundance of good in the world, and political leaders are supposed to promote the flourishing of all people. To pursue the common good (solidarity), smaller institutions are vital, according to the principle of subsidiarity.

Keywords: family; God; political philosophy; Genesis; community; social contract; solidarity; subsidiarity; political science

Chapter.  8931 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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