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"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 Introduction Few 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.


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"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 Introduction Few 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.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    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 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 discussion with that much passion and clarity on some of the other, more murky positions of the Church. To list one example, the Church's teaching on compassion for the poor and the duty of Christians to care for the less fortunate has led it to support policies that are collectively known as the welfare state. That has been the Church's position for over a century. In that time an ample body of evidence has accumulated that instead of aiding the poor, these programs tend to have the opposite effect in practice or worse, spiritually impoverish those it attempts to aid, stealing dignity and replacing it with dependancy. What is a committed believing Catholic to do in this case? Must he support politicians and programs he believes can be empirically demonstrated to be hurting the poor? Bishop Chaput is silent on this and other matters. I suspect Bishop Chaput would argue that there is room in the Church's teaching for disagreement on what policies would best advance "social justice" but that there is none when it comes to abortion and euthanasia. In fact, he makes that point explicitly in the book. He also takes issue with certain Catholics who rationalize a vote for a pro-abortion political candidate on the basis of perceived strength in other areas like social justice. The Church views the life issues as paramount, so a favorable position on minimum wage laws doesn't outweigh an unfavorable one on abortion. In the afterword, Bishop Chaput addresses the question of "should communion be denied to prominent pro-abortion Catholic political figures." It is an interesting read, and well worth your time, even if you are not interested in the rest of the book, to thumb ahead and read the next time you are in a bookstore. Finally, one pet peeve. Like many Catholic authors, Bishop Chaput exhorts readers to be "more Catholic, not less" as the answer to our secular age. But Bishop Chaput acknowledges the sad fact that Catholic catechesis is abysmal and for adults, virtually nonexistent. How then can believing, committed Catholics become "more Catholic" when they don't know how? Perhaps the next book should address how to go about becoming a more fully formed Catholic, rather than yet another plea to do so.

  2. 4 out of 5

    booklady

    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, outpacing Sen. Biden 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, outpacing Sen. Biden’s book by one spot. During the week of August 29, “Render Unto Caesar” was the 24th best selling nonfiction book and the number five best selling hardcover nonfiction book published by Random House, according to the company’s website.' Thanks again Mary Alice! We heard all about this wonderful Archbishop at the Catholic Oklahoma Women's Conference in January.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    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. 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joseph R.

    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 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 Chaput's Render Unto Caesar is a book that avoids the simple rhetoric often found in discussions of how churches and states should relate. He looks at the history of the Catholic church from the very beginning, under Roman rule in the first centuries A.D., through to the modern day. He considers both the good and the bad results when the Catholic church had substantial input into governments and governments into the church. He looks at the impact of the Protestant Reformation on church and state relations. He especially considers the founding fathers of America, focusing on Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. He reviews the various anti-Catholic movements in America and the rise of Catholics in society and politics, culminating in John F. Kennedy's presidency, which again had good and bad facets to it. He also engages the arguments about the role of faith and of the faithful as citizens of a country. He compares Mario Cuomo's approach to Robert Casey's as ways to live faith as a high ranking politician, even quoting both of them when they spoke at Notre Dame University. Chaput's analysis is fascinating and even-handed without being indecisive. The role of the media's influence on culture is another important component of Chaput's discussion. During the Second Vatican Council, different people had different on what would change in the church. The media looked for exciting stories and dramatic conflicts rather than trying to understand and analyze the council. Chaput even discusses Stephen Colbert's use of "truthiness" as a sign (albeit a satirical commentary) of modern debates' inability to engage in meaningful discussion, and instead focus on emotional and rhetorical sound bites. Chaput has a heart-felt and intelligent discussion of the media's obsession with "wafer watches," i.e. if pro-abortion Catholic politicians would be refused communion at Mass by a priest or a bishop. The issue is not that the church is fighting with a politician, but that the integrity of the faith and the Eucharist is respected. Chaput not only discusses the varied implications of forbidding someone from communion, he gives his own opinions on how he would handle the situation. The book is fascinating and important. Our culture is too focused on sound bites and dramatic conflict. It is great to read a well-thought out, well-researched, honest, and compassionate look at the role of the faithful in political life. SAMPLE QUOTE: Why St. Thomas More is a man for all season... More personifies a life lived with courage and conviction, the same virtues that each of us is called to embrace as citizens and as Catholics. More's humanity is what draws us. He is not a plastic saint. He urgently wanted to live; but not at the cost of selling his soul. Thomas More persuades the modern heart not because he wanted to die for his beliefs, but because he didn't[emphasis in original]. He used all his skills to avoid martyrdom, but he refused to escape it when the price came down to the integrity of his faith. In More, we see what we all instinctively hunger to believe about ourselves; namely, that we too can choose the joy and freedom that flow from loving something and Someone more than our own lives. In More, we recognize the person we secretly wish we were; the person that God created us to be. [p. 164]

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    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 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 discusses the successes and failures of the Second Vatican Council. He also writes about how Catholics can try to balance the obligations of their faith with the realities of the American political environment. I was most pleases to read Archbishop Chaput's thoughts on what we Catholics call 'the primacy of conscience.' From a man as deeply conservative as him, that was quite refreshing. But of course, are you a 'conservative' when you are pro-environmental protections, pro-poor people, anti-war, anti-death penalty, anti-violence, anti-racism? Wouldn't all of that make you a liberal...even if you are against abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell research, and gay marriage? Applying political terms like 'conservative' and 'liberal' to Catholics with regard to the teachings of the Church is deeply problematic. Voting through the lens of Catholic social and moral teachings is even more difficult since both of the major political parties in the United States support and oppose key tenets of the Church's teachings. I suppose it's a good think for a follower of Jesus to never feel quite comfortable with any political party or politician...but voting can be difficult. For Catholics, there is a hierarchy of concerns, and at the top of the list is abortion. That doesn't mean a Catholic can't vote for a pro-abortion candidate (I read a whole book on the topic two years ago, Can A Catholic Support Him: Asking the Big Question About Barack Obama by Douglas Kmiec, who is now our ambassador to Malta, so I guess his answer was yes). It does mean, however, that you are a very treacherous and slippery slope if you do. So, I loved Chaput's book. Well written, interesting, and fairly brief. Highly recommended for pro-life, anti-war, Green conservatives like me. Which means pretty much just me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    James

    Don't be put off by my three star rating (I'd give it more like a 3.7/5 I guess), because pretty much everything Archbishop Chaput says in this book is true. But I guess sometimes the truth is underwhelming. I think his message is what you'd expect: live a saintly life and be serious about your Catholic faith, stay true to your conscience, and put God before the state and especially before any political party. He deals with the issue in a more black-and-white way than I wished he would, mainly by Don't be put off by my three star rating (I'd give it more like a 3.7/5 I guess), because pretty much everything Archbishop Chaput says in this book is true. But I guess sometimes the truth is underwhelming. I think his message is what you'd expect: live a saintly life and be serious about your Catholic faith, stay true to your conscience, and put God before the state and especially before any political party. He deals with the issue in a more black-and-white way than I wished he would, mainly by mostly talking about abortion. Despite the fact that many Catholics are pro-choice, it should be obvious to any Christian that tolerating the killing of innocent human beings is antithetical to Christianity, and that that precisely what abortion does. As for other issues which may be a bit more grey (take gay marriage for example, or drugs, or contraception, or pornography), Chaput says our Catholic responsibility is to understand exactly why the Church holds the views they do, think long and hard about it, and follow your conscience in hoq our religious beliefs ought to impact our political beliefs. But he doesn't really discuss the grey areas enough for my liking. My favourite parts were where he discusses how language is often abused for political purposes. He also talks about the separation of church and state a lot. So ya, good book, would recommend, but I personally felt like I didn't learn much, but maybe I just didn't have much to learn. Or maybe I just didn't pick up on the profound stuff. Idk.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    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 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 rediscover who we are and what our mission in the world is; to reaffirm our belief in Christ and his Church; and to rekindle in public life, the fire of true Charity that can save this nation from its spiral into corruption, sin, and tyrannical materialism. I hope this call is not unanswered. I for one accept the challenge.

  8. 5 out of 5

    John Clark

    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 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 that engagement should take.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Heldt

    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. 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Harrison

    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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julie Davis

    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 Caesar This 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 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 Caesar This 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 we decide which public issues to become involved in, how we even evaluate what the media tells us about the world at large, should all be examined through a lens of Catholic faith. For me, just as important is Chaput's examination of the history of Catholics in America. He doesn't dwell on the oft-mentioned "persecuted minority" that many Catholic histories mention, but instead focuses on why history teaches us it is important to be involved in government. As Chaput says, "Christian faith is always personal but never private." It is difficult to be more eloquent than previous reviewers. What I can tell you is that, unlikely as it seems, I read this book in a dead heat in the space of a week. It captivated me with the well-stated, compelling reasoning that is Chaput's hallmark. I also really respect Chaput for his ability to be very even-handed. That is established firmly at the very beginning with the list of what the book is not, which I offer in abbreviated excerpt below. Let me explain what this book will not do. It will not endorse any political party or candidate. Both major U.S. political parties have plenty of good people in their ranks. Neither party fully represents a Catholic way of thinking about social issues. One of the lessons we need to learn from the last fifty years is that a preferred American "Catholic" party doesn't exist. ... This book will not feed anyone's nostalgia for a Catholic golden age. The past usually looks better as it fades in the rearview mirror. ... After listening to some ten thousand personal confessions over thirty-seven years of priesthood, I'm very confident that the details of daily life change over time but human nature doesn't. ... This book will not be an academic study or a work of formal scholarship. ... On the other hand, this book certainly does claim to be a statement of common sense amply supported by history, public record, and fact. ... Finally, this book doesn't offer any grand theory. It does offer thoughts based on my nineteen years as an American Catholic bishop and my interest in our common history. I believe that our nation's public life, like Christianity itself is meant for everyone, and everyone has a duty to contribute to it. The American experiment depends on the active involvement of all its citizens, not just lobbyists, experts, think tanks, and the mass media. for Catholics, politics--the pursuit of justice and the common good--is part of the history of salvation. No one is a minor actor in that drama. Each person is important ... ... Ultimately I believe that all of us who call ourselves American and Catholic need to recover what it really means to be "Catholic." "We also need to find again the courage to be Catholic Christians first--not in opposition to our country, but to serve its best ideals.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Abe

    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 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, party loyalty is a cop-out--political parties ignore the concerns of those who are going to be loyal anyway. And so it's not surprising that the Democrats left us. Rather than playing those kinds of political games, Chaput encourages us to improve our country simply by being the best Catholics we can be. Have the courage to stand up for what's right; you're doing a disservice to both the country and your faith if you are too scared or shy to speak the truth. Don't give up on America, it was started as a great country and can be great once again if we Catholics remind it of the great principles it was founded on: that all people were created by a power greater that the government with rights no politician can redefine or take away, and the church should be free from interference by the state. Chaput consistently stands up for the sanctity of life while keeping the perspective that neither of the main parties defend it perfectly. I think the book continued to get better toward the end; I liked chapter 11 the best. It's hard to choose a specific quote because it does have more of a conversational feel instead of providing lighting flashes of insight. But it is well worth reading and I finished it with a little bit more optimistic view of our country and what we can do to change it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bojan Tunguz

    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 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 decry the undue influence that religion has on the political process, and spend considerable time and effort at silencing those who dare to use their faith in the public square. It is partly this cacophony of voices that Charles Chaput, OFM Cap, the current Archbishop of Denver, has in mind when he chose to write "Render Unto Caesar." It is a book that had a particular relevance during the 2008 election season, but will continue to have significance for many years to come. Archbishop Chaput is very clear and exacting when it comes to stressing the importance of certain core Catholic moral beliefs in context of the political sphere, most importantly in case of value and dignity of human life. He is also a vocal defendant of the role of religion in public sphere, and supports his argument from both Christian beliefs and traditions, and from a purely secular point of view. He is also very careful to give a nuanced position on the response of bishops to catholic politicians who publicly defy the teachings of the Church and endorse and support policies that go clearly against those teachings. Overall, this is a very well written and informative book that would be invaluable to all Catholics in guiding them to form their own political positions.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    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 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 recommend that every practicing Catholic . . . and even lapsed Catholics . . . read this book to understand that just because we are Catholic does not negate our role in participating in civil life in an educated and responsible way.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    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 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 provided more logistics as to how to influence public discourse . . . granted, his meandering through American history through a Catholic lens is necessary to fire up the reader, to show why and how our Catholic background matters.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    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 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. Although it does refer to the States alot - which is entirelly understandable - it is still very appropriate to any Western country.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jason Lewis

    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 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 excellent read when one wants to know how to answer political questions with a religious themed answer to help guide yourself or others on the issues at hand today.

  18. 4 out of 5

    William Van

    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 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 emphasis. Perhaps the newest edition will fit the conclusions to the analytic chapters.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    Part 3 - DONE! Best Chapter - Chapter 8 - Talks about Stephen Colbert and "truthiness". I suppose Catholic scholars would like this book. Part 2...I 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 1...I am reading this becase my 17 year old has to read it as part of the summer reading program for hs high school! Part 3 - DONE! Best Chapter - Chapter 8 - Talks about Stephen Colbert and "truthiness". I suppose Catholic scholars would like this book. Part 2...I 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 1...I am reading this becase my 17 year old has to read it as part of the summer reading program for hs high school!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    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. 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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    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. 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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dayna

    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.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Strukel

    I read this book several years ago, but decided to revisit and I think it's an excellent read for Catholics or really any Christians, especially in an election year. It's part history, part catechism and part bishop's commentary. It came out before the 2008 election but much of what he says still holds true. He certainly convicted me on a number of points. I underlined a ton and will likely revisit this one again and again. I read this book several years ago, but decided to revisit and I think it's an excellent read for Catholics or really any Christians, especially in an election year. It's part history, part catechism and part bishop's commentary. It came out before the 2008 election but much of what he says still holds true. He certainly convicted me on a number of points. I underlined a ton and will likely revisit this one again and again.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Cann

    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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    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 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

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    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. 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.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    John

    A great overview of American Catholic history and how it relates to modern politics, but too much time was spent setting the table, and not enough effort was put in to answering the question, "How can we serve our nation by living our Catholic beliefs in political life?" A great overview of American Catholic history and how it relates to modern politics, but too much time was spent setting the table, and not enough effort was put in to answering the question, "How can we serve our nation by living our Catholic beliefs in political life?"

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    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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