God and Caesar
Selected Essays on Religion, Politics, and Society
Cardinal George Pell
|October 2007||In Print|
|August 2012||In Print|
Many of the great questions of our day once again revolve around religion. The secular era of the past two centuries is ending in incomprehension and denial, overwhelmed by the cultural uncertainty and political conflict that have dominated the first years of the new millennium. In the face of developments such as the fall in birth rates and the rise of neo-paganism, secularism has little to say. What does remain in the United States and Europe is a vociferous hostility to religion, especially to the role it plays in public life.
The ensuing conflict continues to play itself out in politics, culture, science and the universities. New phenomena such as multiculturalism and significant Muslim minorities have both arisen in the West. But the focus of suspicion has remained squarely on Christianity and its relationship to democracy, human rights, and secular society.
Cardinal George Pell, one of the Catholic Church's leading spokesmen, has played a significant part in this drama. God and Caesar brings together a selection of his writings on Christianity, politics, and society from the last ten years. Drawing on a deep knowledge of history and human affairs, the essays pinpoint the key issues facing Christians and non-believers in determining the future of modern democratic life.
Cardinal Pell considers questions such as: Is democracy only secular? What role can the Catholic Church and its moral vision play, and have they played, in strengthening democracy? How does "religious capital" strengthen political society? What is the bishop's critical role in building a culture of life? And why is belief in God important to the health of a democratic society?
Christ's instructions to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21) remain the starting point for any reflections on Christianity and political life. God and Caesar is an indispensable text that helps illuminate what Christ's teaching means today.
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, holds degrees in theology from the Urban University in Rome and a doctorate in church history from the University of Oxford in England. His previous publications include Be Not Afraid, Catholicism and the Architecture of Freedom, and Issues of Faith and Morals. Since 2001 he has written weekly for Sydney's Sunday Telegraph. M. A. Casey is permanent fellow in sociology and politics at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family in Melbourne, Australia, and private secretary to Cardinal Pell. He is the author of Meaninglessness: The Solutions of Nietzsche, Freud and Rorty.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
"Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia, is known around the world for his straightforward public commentary on social and political issues in light of Catholic teaching. In these "Selected Essays on Religion, Politics, and Society," he analyzes the nature of responsible Christian freedom, offers a critique of aggressive secularization and speaks prophetically of the Church's role in modern democracies. . . . Christ has told us to "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Lk 20:25, RSV). "God and Caesar" takes that principle as its starting point for a provocative discussion of Christian faith and politics in our time." -- The Catholic Answer
"Cardinal Pell has been accused by his critics of being strident and authoritarian but this collection of essays suggests a different picture: he emerges as popularist, clear-minded, full of good humour and never woolly. The essays, many of which began life as addresses to academic audiences and imply a broad background reading, are punchy in style and show a commendable Australian directness. His message is very much that of Pope John Paul II." -- Dom Aidan Bellenger, The Downside Review