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Issue 03 – Christ the King 2020



This issue's letters and comments.


I am grateful for Pater Edmund Waldstein’s excellent essay critiquing the new nationalism. Not only does he illuminate its incompatibility with Catholic integralism; he astutely observes that nations themselves are often formed by imperialistic means. His description of Protestantism’s relationship with the nation, however, warrants a response.

Following Yoram Hazony, Waldstein argues that Protestant political theology is anti-imperialistic and entails sovereign independent nation-states. Implicit in Waldstein’s understanding of this political theology is the notion that it illicitly frees the nation from its obligation to order its life to God. Waldstein’s rejoinder to this position is worth quoting at length: “Any complete human community that does not give the one God the worship that is His due and submit itself to the spiritual authority He has established will inevitably tend to idolatrous totalitarianism. . . . To the lay estate is given power over temporal matters, but a power that it must submit to the judgments of the spiritual power entrusted to the clergy.” To understand where his account of Protestantism’s intrinsic anti-imperialism errs, we must first set the record straight on the Protestant understanding of Church-state relations.

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