A lecture on the failure of secularism and the role of faith and reason in renewing the foundations of democracy
with George WEIGEL, Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C.
Presented by Crossroads Cultural Center, World Youth Alliance and American Bible Society
Mr. George Weigel is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the author of many books, including a well-known biography of Pope John Paul II. He has been an outspoken critic of the secularistic and nihilistic trends in contemporary culture. The topic of his talk will be closely related to a recent article of his in National Affairs entitled "The Handwriting on the Wall." In that piece Mr. Weigel discusses the ongoing crisis of what he calls "the Western secular project." His diagnosis of our current social and cultural situation is quite insightful. What is especially refreshing is his willingness to engage in general and crucial philosophical questions, such as the way in which cultural trends affect social and economic matters, the nature and scope of reason, and the metaphysical foundations of freedom and democracy. In his article Mr. Weigel cites a sentence by historian Russel Hittinger, who said that Pope Leo XIII was driven to "diagnose historical contingencies in the light of first principles." This same sentence could be applied to Mr. Weigel himself. Near the end of “The Handwriting on the Wall," Mr. Weigel correctly calls for a revival of the Biblical image of humanity and a rediscovery of the arts of reason as necessary conditions to rebuild the foundations of democracy. This calls to mind a 1987 speech (see "Other Documents") in which Msgr. Luigi Giussani pointed out that what moves our humanity is ultimately the religious sense, which in fact coincides with what the Bible calls the "heart" and is also, in the words Archbishop Montini, the man who would become Pope Paul VI, the highest point of reason. Giussani went on to say that the religious sense is the source of all desires and values, and makes it possible for people to come together freely and start new movements that renew the life of society. Twenty five years later it remains true that even the best cultural and political projects are destined to remain abstract and ineffective unless they start from the religious sense, and value the movements and works it generates.The event is open to the public and free of charge.
About this EventDate: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: American Bible Society
1865 Broadway at 61st Street
New York, NY
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About the SpeakerGeorge Weigel
Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center