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

Render Unto Caesar Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life People who take God seriously will not remain silent about their faith They will often disagree about doctrine or policy but they won t be quiet They can t be They ll act on what they believe someti

  • Title: Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life
  • Author: Charles J. Chaput
  • ISBN: 9780385522281
  • Page: 301
  • Format: Hardcover
  • People who take God seriously will not remain silent about their faith They will often disagree about doctrine or policy, but they won t be quiet They can t be They ll act on what they believe, sometimes at the cost of their reputations and careers Obviously the common good demands a respect for other people with different beliefs and a willingness to compromise whene People who take God seriously will not remain silent about their faith They will often disagree about doctrine or policy, but they won t be quiet They can t be They ll act on what they believe, sometimes at the cost of their reputations and careers Obviously the common good demands a respect for other people with different beliefs and a willingness to compromise whenever possible But for Catholics, the common good can never mean muting themselves in public debate on foundational issues of human dignity Christian faith is always personal but never private This is why any notion of tolerance that tries to reduce faith to private idiosyncrasy, or a set of opinions that we can indulge at home but need to be quiet about in public, will always fail From the IntroductionFew topics in recent years have ignited as much public debate as the balance between religion and politics Does religious thought have any place in political discourse Do religious believers have the right to turn their values into political action What does it truly mean to have a separation of church and state The very heart of these important questions is here addressed by one of the leading voices on the topic, Charles J Chaput, Archbishop of Denver.While American society has ample room for believers and nonbelievers alike, Chaput argues, our public life must be considered within the context of its Christian roots American democracy does not ask its citizens to put aside their deeply held moral and religious beliefs for the sake of public policy In fact, it requires exactly the opposite.As the nation s founders knew very well, people are fallible The majority of voters, as history has shown again and again, can be uninformed, misinformed, biased, or simply wrong Thus, to survive, American democracy depends on an engaged citizenry people of character, including religious believers, fighting for their beliefs in the public square respectfully but vigorously, and without apology Anything less is bad citizenship and a form of theft from the nation s health Or as the author suggests Good manners are not an excuse for political cowardice.American Catholics and other persons of goodwill are part of a struggle for our nation s future, says Charles J Chaput Our choices, including our political choices, matter Catholics need to take an active, vocal, and morally consistent role in public debate We can t claim to personally believe in the sanctity of the human person, and then act in our public policies as if we don t We can t separate our private convictions from our public actions without diminishing both In the words of the author, How we act works backward on our convictions, making them stronger or smothering them under a snowfall of alibis Vivid, provocative, clear, and compelling, Render unto Caesar is a call to American Catholics to serve the highest ideals of their nation by first living their Catholic faith deeply, authentically.

    One thought on “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life”

    1. Actually this book is a definite purchase. Just read this news piece, 'Just three weeks into the publication of “Render Unto Caesar,” Archbishop Charles Chaput’s new book has made the New York Times Best Seller list. The archbishop’s book is currently one place ahead of “Promises to Keep,” written by Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden. “Render Unto Caesar” is currently number 27 on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers List for the week of September 14, outp [...]

    2. The phrase "separation of church and state" is popular in political discussions involving intense moral issues of the day. Unfortunately the phrase is often interpreted in ways that are most congenial to the user's argument. Looking at the history, context, and intention of the original user of the phrase is generally ignored; instead, pundits assume a personally useful interpretation. "Separation of church and state" switches from a complex idea to a rhetorical sound bite.Archbishop Charles Cha [...]

    3. I'm a big fan of Bishop Chaput and I enjoy much of what he writes here. However I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a more in-depth treatment of what Catholic teaching means with respect to other issues other than abortion and euthanasia.Bishop Chaput is at his best when he is explaining the Catholic position on life issues and how that should inform our actions in politics. Perhaps it is because that is the one issue on which the Church's position is also clear. I would have welcomed a d [...]

    4. Loved this book. Essentially, Archbishop Chaput lays out the obligations of a Catholic citizen in the United States, and--in no uncertain terms--exhorts Catholics to take their faith into the public and political marketplace. I found virtually nothing to disagree with in this work; it is well written, interesting, and full of lots of totally stealable quotes from smart people like George Orwell and Thomas More. Archbishop Chaput goes over the history of Catholics and politics in America, and dis [...]

    5. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?---MT 16:26 I think it profits neither the man, nor the world. Render Unto Caesar makes it clear to me that my suspicion is correct on that point. Archbishop Chaput lays out the foundations of Catholicism in America, the historical Catholic stuggle to be accepted in America and the achievement of material success and consequent decline of authentic Catholic culture in the nation. This is a call to Catholics to redisc [...]

    6. The title of this book is really well chosen. Jesus's response to the Pharisees has always been a mystery to me. This book provides some useful discussion about this interaction, and provides a good platform for the reader to contemplate its meaning, but it is telling that I am still not clear on what Jesus meant after reading this book. Chaput preaches a strong sermon about the need for Catholics to engage, rather than retreat from, the world, but even so it seems like he isn't sure what form t [...]

    7. I think Archbishop Chaput helped clarify my role as a Catholic in the public square. This is something that has troubled me since my conversion in 2000. I suggest that others read this book and we all pray for clarity as we discern our political voice in our times of turmoil and rampant secularism.

    8. Highly recommend to anyone who trying to figure out what candidate they would like to vote for, not only for Catholics, but a good moral primer non the less.

    9. For the June discussion at the Elements of Faith (Catholic women's book club). Having reread the book, my original review still holds true, as follows, including the speed with which I read it:A Tasty Salad of Politics, American History, and Catholicism: Render Unto CaesarThis is a brilliant book. Overall it is an examination of how to be Catholic and involved in political life. In the United States, this actually applies to each and every Catholic. How we weigh which candidates to vote for, how [...]

    10. Reading this book is like sitting down with a bishop and discussing politics, which is something most of us don't get to do every day. It's not focused on the 2008 elections as some of the ads might imply, rather it's more like an overview of how the Catholic Church has influenced politics over the course of the last 50 years.In the past, around the time of JFK, before abortion was a national issue, Catholics tended to be loyal to the Democratic party. However, as Archbishop Chaput points out, p [...]

    11. 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 de [...]

    12. I love this book. Lately, my interest in politics has sky-rocketed, so I was excited to read this. It is a very honest, historical take on American values and politics from a Catholic perspective . . . it answers a very simple question: How can we, as Catholic Americans, positively shape our country? Actually, it more so answers WHY we should attempt to have a voice in American politics, not in spite of Catholic values, but because of them.Chaput answers this question well, although I wish he pr [...]

    13. In this book the Archbishop of Denver makes no apologies for wanting Catholics to integrate their faith with their actions in the polling booth. He's not advocating for a theocracy--just consistency on an individual level. Extra points to him for this passage:"The sooner Catholics feel at home in any political party, the sooner that party takes them for granted and then ignores their concerns. Party loyalty for the sake of habit, or family tradition, or ethnic or class interest is a form of trib [...]

    14. This was a great book that talked about how Catholics can participate in the public square as citizens by living their Catholic faith to the fullest and honestly. We Catholics are called to follow the Gospel and the teachings of Christ and His Church fully so that society may be impacted by our moral, ethical, and socially responsible behavior as guided by Christ and his bride the Church. It gives Catholics a very good idea of where we fit into the plan from a citizen's perspective.I highly reco [...]

    15. This book is a very easy read. The first chapter is excellent, gives you a little insight into why it is so important to be accounted for. Then there's a couple of chapters on the history of Church and State. And then there is a brilliant chapter on the power and poverty of languages. It's a book that you need to have a pencil with you to underline some great quotes, pearls of wisdom, ways of explaining things. Excellent. I have recommended to alot of people and they have equally enjoyed it. Alt [...]

    16. Chaput places a large emphasis on maintaining religious beliefs while still achieving public and political actions one is desiring through the secular world. This often brings up my argument of separation of church and state meaning to keep the state out of the church, not the church out of the state. With so much controversy involving such ideas, he gives good guidelines as to how one should approach many of the issues today, and includes how past political leaders also did the same.An excellen [...]

    17. This book is written at a practical level - no degree in theology is needed. After a thorough history, the Archbishop addresses the many weaknesses of the laity and the clergy in applying the faith to their politics. The author has a sound respect for the US Constitution, but in a few places seems to accept government largesse in education and wealth redistribution. The lessons of the removal of crucifixes from classrooms and the colossal failure of LBJ's War on Poverty do not receive proper emp [...]

    18. I found this book to be very insightful and a very good collection of advice for someone who works in government to maintain focus on their values and prioritize these aspects of life. It also provided some excellent background on a wide variety of other issues relating to religion and government, especially in the realm of international relations. While I do not agree with all of the author's deductions and analysis, I think that this is about as good a summary as I've seen.

    19. Part 3 - DONE! Best Chapter - Chapter 8 - Talks about Stephen Colbert and "truthiness". I suppose Catholic scholars would like this book.Part 2I am having a very hard time getting through this - I am impressed my teenager made it through - of course, he didn't have a choice- it was assigned. Now he has to write a paper on it!Part 1I am reading this becase my 17 year old has to read it as part of the summer reading program for hs high school!

    20. Well written, easy to read with historical background and sound arguments to support his opinion. It is very convincing in his premise that all Catholics must exercise their right to vote. In exercising that right, all people should seek to know the truth and vote for what is right. I don't agree with all of his conclusions, but I did enjoy reading his defense. The new edition has a new preface.

    21. This is a book, by Denver's Bishop Chaput, about the role of faith in politics. Let me save you some very dry reading (think a slightly hopped up Catechism) - the state has a duty to stay out of church matters, but the church is an integral voice in our government.Chaput has some good American history and nice anecdotes to back up his points, but this is redundant. Feels like this started as an article that was forced to be turned into a book.

    22. I had high expectations because I've read several AMAZING essays from Chaput, but it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. It may be my fault but I couldn't discern a clear "intention" in what he was trying to do. A few sections were excellent, but the main thing that drew me to him in his other writings: his unapologetic and hard-hitting defense of unpopular truth, didn't seem as on display in large portions of the book.

    23. Archbishop Chaput does a nice job making a case for why we cannot leave our faith out of our daily lives and political opinions. He tackles some of the pressing issues in our culture today with honesty, truth and direction for those struggling to understand how to be Catholic and part of our modern culture. Chaput has an excellent use of great sources to support all of his ideas. A timely read for me.

    24. Great book. As a catholic, this book has helped but into perspective the relationship between my faith and my politics. Bishop Chaput does an excellent job in detailing the history of Catholics and politics and how that history has lead us to today's crisis in faith and politics. If you are wondering what place your faith has in making political decisions, I highly recommend reading this book

    25. a priest I had only corresponded with suggested I read this book, and I am glad he did. Bishop Chaput makes the case for the involvement of people of faith in the public square, but he goes beyond that to make the case that we cannot be people o9f faith unless we engage with the issues of our day from the perspective of our beliefs.

    26. An inspiring and informative book.I'd advising anyone to read it, particularly those who have concerns regarding Separation of Church and State as apposed to separation of faith in politics.I'll probably read this book again.

    27. The book is fantastic. I think all Catholic Americans should read it, because he explains what patriotism is and should be, as well as making a good argument as to why we should become informed about the world around us and to prompt us into action and service.

    28. This was an excellent book. Chaput really puts forth a very Catholic understanding of the current situation of American politics and, more importantly, gives insightful commentary on public participation by the lay faithful.

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