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  • Thumbnail for The Call of Vatican II: Judaism and Modernity, Law and law
    The Call of Vatican II: Judaism and Modernity, Law and law by Walden, Jacob Austin

    The position and relevance of organized religion is questioned in modern times, and the Catholic Church is no exception. The statements made during the historic Vatican II conference between 1962-1965 are intended to be the Church’s voice through the darkness of modern skepticism, and can be used as a guide for political action and understanding in multicultural, relativist societies. In particular, the documents Gaudium et Spes and Nostra Aetate form a basis for the treatment of outsiders and minorities, particularly in interpreting the history of the Church’s relationship with the Jewish people. Using Arendt’s concept of “rootedness” in tradition and authority, and Voegelin’s of metaxy, this paper argues that there cannot exist a virtueless, relativist civilization. The space between civic law and moral Law, the treatment of individual conscience, and of community rights within society must incorporate the analyses of Rémi Brague, the multicultural group freedoms of Charles Taylor, and the individual liberty of Alain Finkielkraut. What Vatican II calls for is most likely a democratic constitutional order, based on Western principles of the individual and society.