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God and Caesar: Selected Essays on Religion, Politics, and Society [Paperback]

By George Cardinal Pell (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   189
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.52" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.61"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 27, 2008
Publisher   Catholic University of America Press
ISBN  081321503X  
EAN  9780813215037  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Many of the Great Questions of our day once again revolve around religion. The secular era of the past two centuries is ending in incomprehension and denial, overwhelmed by the cultural uncertainty and political conflict that have dominated the first years of the new millennium. In the face of developments such as the fall in birth rates and the rise of neo-paganism, secularism has little to say. What does remain in the United States and Europe is a vociferous hostility to religion, especially to the role it plays in public life. The ensuing conflict continues to play itself out in politics, culture, science and the universities. New phenomena such as multiculturalism and significant Muslim minorities have both arisen in the West. But the focus of suspicion has remained squarely on Christianity and its relationship to democracy, human rights, and secular society. Cardinal George Pell, one of the Catholic Church's leading spokesmen, has played a significant part in this drama. God and Caesar brings together a selection of his writings on Christianity, politics, and society from the last ten years. Drawing on a deep knowledge of history and human affairs, the essays pinpoint the key issues facing Christians and non-believers in determining the future of modern democratic life. Cardinal Pell considers questions such as: Is democracy only secular? What role can the Catholic Church and its moral vision play, and have they played, in strengthening democracy? How does "religious capital" strengthen political society? What is the bishop's critical role in building a culture of life? And why is belief in God important to the health of a democratic society? Christ's instructions to "render untoCaesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22: 21) remain the starting point for any reflections on Christianity and political life. God and Caesar is an indispensable text that helps illuminate what Christ's teaching means today.

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More About George Cardinal Pell

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, holds degrees in theology from the Urban University in Rome and a doctorate in church history from the University of Oxford in England. His previous publications include Be Not Afraid, Catholicism and the Architecture of Freedom, and Issues of Faith and Morals. Since 2001 he has written weekly for Sydney's Sunday Telegraph.

George Pell was born in 1941.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
God wins, Caesar yet to take the field  Feb 1, 2009
The ten essays in this short book are presented both as a criticism of 21st century secular life and a defence of modern Christianity, especially Catholicism. Throughout the book positions and conclusions are presented as rational outcomes of underlying fundamental philosophical argument or axiom. Hence the essays are intended to convince by appealing to cognition rather than relying on faith in a belief or direct instruction from scriptural revelation. Cardinal Pell clearly recognizes the desirability of logical reasoning in presenting religious arguments to an increasingly educated free world, but is ever ready to fall back on faith and Christian scripture when evidence fails to support Catholic teaching.

The chapter on "God, Evolution, & Consilience" is an example. Pell acknowledges evolution as fact, and counters with the statement that "God ... is an answer to the question `why is there a universe?' ". Hence there is no conflict between evolution and religion and "God is not a scientific hypothesis that might rival evolution". This position is far removed from the biblical beliefs of many Christians (and all Muslims). It introduces newish questions and predicates a God which is very different from the personal creator relied on for the past two thousand years by Christian religions. Pell does not address the latter issues.

In 2008 many millions of Australian taxpayers dollars were donated to World Youth Day in Sydney. WYD was a week long Catholic Church event which included a visit by Pope Benedict XVI. The constitution of the Australia which is George Cardinal Pell's domain does not mandate separation of Church and State (as in the USA). Consequently, non religious persons, including a significant percentage of the population who actively disagree with organized religion of all types, are forced to pay taxes to support WYD, religious indoctrination of children and forego income tax on companies owned by religious entities as well as property taxes on vast real estate holdings. The scale of these abuses is enormous and the Catholic Church sets the pace. Hence it is ironic in the extreme that Pell's book is titled "God and Caesar". My impression is that one reason for publishing this volume in 2007 was to subtly reinforce the justification for this financial scam. For example, the first five chapters (eg. Law and Morality, Church and Politics, Catholicism and Democracy) are really just skilful special pleading to reinforce the status quo. In Australia there is much rendering to God national wealth that belongs to Caesar.

In conclusion: only for believers.

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