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The Dialectics of Secularization

Joseph Ratzinger and Jürgen Habermas (Ignatius Press: Jan 10, 2007), 85 pages.

Two of the worlds great contemporary thinkers — theologian and churchman Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, and Jürgen Habermas, philosopher and Neo-Marxist social critic — discuss and debate aspects of secularization, and the role of reason and religion in a free society. These insightful essays are the result of a remarkable dialogue between the two men, sponsored by the Catholic Academy of Bavaria, a little over a year before Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope. Jürgen Habermas has surprised many observers with his call for “the secular society to acquire a new understanding of religious convictions”, as Florian Schuller, director of the Catholic Academy of Bavaria, describes it his foreword. Habermas discusses whether secular reason provides sufficient grounds for a democratic constitutional state. Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI argues for the necessity of certain moral principles for maintaining a free state, and for the importance of genuine reason and authentic religion, rather than what he calls “pathologies of reason and religion”, in order to uphold the states moral foundations. Both men insist that proponents of secular reason and religious conviction should learn from each other, even as they differ over the particular ways that mutual learning should occur. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

    • Foreword   Florian Schuller     7
    • Pre-political Foundations of the Democratic Constitutional State?     19
    • The justification of the secular constitutional state on the basis of the sources of practical reason     24
    • How is the solidarity of the citizens of the state reproduced?     29
    • When the societal bond breaks…     35
    • Excursus     40
    • Secularization as a twofold and complementary learning process     43
    • How should believing and unbelieving citizens treat one another?     48
    • That Which Holds the World Together: The Pre-political Moral Foundations of a Free State     53
    • Power and law     58
    • New forms of power and new questions about how these are to be mastered     62
    • Presuppositions of the law: Law-nature-reason     67
    • The intercultural dimension and its consequences     73
    • Conclusions     77
    • The Authors of this Book     81