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date: 16 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores Catholic teaching on life in the political realm. It explores first how the contours of debate were set in the early Church. Augustine’s notion of the two cities’ provided a basic foundation for later Latin Catholic thought, presenting the city of God on pilgrimage towards the heavenly city—and yet united already to it as Christ’s body. The city of man is founded on humanity’s turn away from right desire for God, and it is from within the city of God that we learn to view the relative integrity and value of all other human social order. The middle sections of the chapter explore the development of this vision in the medieval period. Later sections examine transformations across the Reformation period, ending with a treatment of these questions at Vatican II and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Keywords: Aquinas, Augustine, city, freedom, Hobbes, liberty, kingdom, politics, power, state

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