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Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

2006

Jurisprudence

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The Decreasing Ontological Density Of The State In Catholic Social Doctrine, Patrick Mckinley Brennan Nov 2006

The Decreasing Ontological Density Of The State In Catholic Social Doctrine, Patrick Mckinley Brennan

Working Paper Series

Over the last century-plus, Catholic social thought has gradually reduced the ontological density of the state, to the point that the state now appears to have only a tentative grasp on the natural law basis of its legitimacy. During the first part of the twentieth century, Catholic social doctrine tended to view the legitimate state as a participant in the divine rule; although draped in a sacred mantle, the state was subject to the limits imposed by the divine and natural law. In response to the totalitarian states’ transgressing of those limits at mid-century, Catholic thinkers reduced the scope and ...