University of Notre Dame

Whose Liberalism, Which Christianity?

June 16, 2023

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Jonathan Chaplin*


The papers in this intriguing Symposium all face the perplexing challenge of negotiating a way through the thicket of divergent definitions of both “liberalism” and “Christianity.”  At a time when “Christianity” is thought to be, for some, fundamentally at odds with “liberalism,” or for others, liberalism’s enthusiastic cheerleader, we cannot avoid delving into the finer grain of these complex traditions.  The clarificatory challenge in regard to “liberalism” has been lent greater urgency of late because of the comprehensive nature of assaults on “liberalism” by, especially, Catholic integralism.  Christians who seek at least partially to defend liberalism against such assaults (as I do) then also inevitably run into the question of what form(s) of Christianity they think is most serviceable to that task.  My response explores some elements of these challenges.

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©2023 Jonathan Chaplin.  Individuals and nonprofit institutions may reproduce and distribute copies of this Response in any format at or below cost, for educational purposes, so long as each copy identifies the author, provides a citation to the Notre Dame Law Review, and includes this provision in the copyright notice.

*Fellow of Wesley House, Cambridge, England.