The Natural Law, Revealed Truth, Politics, & Secularization

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Return to Book Page. This is perhaps the most critical analysis that you will find as regards the distinction between the Natural Law,Revealed truth, and a false view of revealed truth that has become the bedrock of secularism. Not only should adults inform themselves of what is at stake in this matter, but this book should be read by all educators in the Catholic Church so that they may know This is perhaps the most critical analysis that you will find as regards the distinction between the Natural Law,Revealed truth, and a false view of revealed truth that has become the bedrock of secularism.

Not only should adults inform themselves of what is at stake in this matter, but this book should be read by all educators in the Catholic Church so that they may know what they truly face and how to counter the evil that is tearing at the fabric of modern society. Nook , 40 pages.

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To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. This is vital to the whole of Weber's sociology. The sorcerer enchants, and makes a living from enchantments produced by strictly following traditional formulae; the prophet disenchants, expels enchantments and the enchanted, as well as those that enchant.

He is an iconoclast. In view of this, the sharp distinction Weber establishes between the prophet, on the one side, and the priest and the sorcerer, on the other, ends up playing a crucial role in the drawing up of a desacralizing vector of the nature of prophecy. According to Giacomo Marramao's happy formulation , p. And so, it is in this precise context of the sociology of religion, amidst a profusion of topical examples with which he enjoys illustrating his essays, that Weber, in the same way that he does in the sociology of law, sends the reader back again to the Australian aborigines to call "secularization" the relinquishment of the ancestral practice of taking into consideration during lineage-chief reunions ear-marked for the formulation of new decisions with normative strength, in specific regions of Australia revelations made to sorcerers in their dreams.

The fact, says Weber, of this use falling into disuse constitutes a "secularization", although it does not constitute the main body of the process of secularization that sweeps across the West with modernization. It is worth noting, in this passage, that "secularization" is placed inside quotation marks. We stand before the secularization of juridical thought. Nothing better than an armed revolution, with its political radicalism and motivational density, to emancipate juridical and legal practices from traditional mental structures, from magically shaped thought, and thus propel the secularization of juridical norms to a superior level, to the level of the discussion of the very claim for validity of these norms.

Having achieved this crossing, such a post-traditional stage of thought is reached, itself the condition for the possibility of not only moving forward, in juridical terms, the adoption of rational procedures and techniques, but also, and principally, of rationally founding the validity of norms without having to call upon the sanctity of tradition or supra-sensitive and irrational forces.

In order to carry out, successfully, the conception of the very foundations of the validity of law, it is evidently necessary to possess some skill in abstraction, in intellectual refinement. Or rather, in Weber's sociology, theoretical rationalization signifies and implies intellectualization. The influx of political factors will not suffice, moreover, even if they possess extraordinary radicalism and the creating force of an armed revolution. With university-taught law, advances in rationality are more than just practical, like the examples cited for Australia, they are theoretical and meta-theoretical.

The more that juridical training becomes restricted to this "academic model" of producing jurists, which we all know consists of an institutionalized educational enterprise with a special inclination towards theory, or better put, towards abstract theorization, the more one can expect the constant increase of chances to rationalize law in the direction of ever increasing formalizations systematization, structurization, articulation, unification, homogenization, abstraction, universalization, etc. Without forgetting, meanwhile, as Hubert Treiber , p. This is what Weber suggests with respect to the high level of formalism and technicality found in Roman law, so much more rationalized in a logical sense than medieval law, much more immune than the latter to substantive considerations, even those religious in nature.

In Weber's work, juridical rationalization is carried out, above all else, with increasing formal rationality. At the end of the affair, nevertheless, the dominance in the process of rationalization in law is really grasped by formal rationality. As Brubaker says, in Weberian theorization formalism is to modern juridical rationality what calculability is to capitalist rationality Brubaker, , p.

Weber habitually associates theoretical-formal rationalization with the idea of sublimation, another vocabulary loan in which the term undergoes a peculiar shift of meaning. According to him, juridical concepts, like religious concepts, underwent a process of sublimation in the West. But, to get to this result, "what was really decisive, before anything else, was the complete secularization of the administration of the system of justice " EyS, p.

In other words, after drawing attention to the heart of the matter, which was the secularization-autonomization of juridical thought, and which later on he redresses with doubled emphasis, Weber recalls a previous process, a link without which he would not have arrived at the juridical system's extreme of objectivity and impersonalization turned technical-rational machine: Herein, says Weber, lies the great explanatory force.

In doing this in the field of law, there is no way of eluding the extremely direct relation existent between juridical-legal formalism that slowly takes over western law and the systematic schooling of jurists in Schools of Law. In other words, that training in theoretical-deductive thinking received in schools of higher learning dedicated to teaching Law.

The more the old model of practical training evolved in the direction of the academic model of teaching, the greater the chances of increasing and making more sophisticate the logical-formal qualities of modern law Schluchter, and ; Treiber, But extra-juridical factors also have a causal impact.

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  5. At times decisive, such as on the relation between the formalism of modern law and urban middle classes, the bourgeoisie. Chasing, throughout the history of cultures, indicators of the expansion of rationality in the legal environment, Weber observes that "where this link [to powerful groups of individuals strongly interested in the rational character of law and procedure, as happened with the middle classes in Rome at the end of the Middle Ages and the modern era] was missing, the secularization of law and distinct differentiation of rigorous juridical-formal thought could not go further.

    The intrinsic interests of the stratum of jurists and their intellectual habits are one thing, quite another the economic and organizational interests of the business classes and their way of life.

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    Both constellations of interests and manners, when dealing with questioning factors that led to the increasing formal rationalization of modern law, came together, according to Weber, in order to drive the process in the same direction. Which explains why, in the aforementioned passage, he attributes the fine-tuning of juridical-formal thought in modern western culture to the decisive influence of bourgeois strata. And, because increased formalization and objectivity of inter-individual relations are of interest to the bourgeoisie, Weber does not fail to take into consideration the influence of the urban middle class and its ethos on the secularization of a series of juridical norms that regulate and sanction contractual relations and that are valid for everyone.

    Before drawing the commentary of this passage to a close, this quick observation must be made: When he finds it. A perfect blend of formal rationality and substantive rationality is found, according to Weber, in modern natural law Habermas, ; Treiber, It encompasses, harmoniously, technicalities, conceptual clarity and precision, formal logic and deductive rigor, coherent structuring and the ability to be systematic, intellectual sophistication and skilled abstraction, reaching nothing less than the superior rational plane of justification by principles.

    But it also includes value. This is what Weber implies when he identifies, discreetly, a certain religious implication in the imposition of jusnaturalism, depicting it as a "doctrine endowed with a distinct force", which means: Which means, the sum total of norms whose validity stems not by virtue of a legitimate legislator [which would be procedural legitimation], but by virtue of purely imminent qualities. Weber calls this "growing secularization of thought". This is what he wrote, in the context of the discussion of natural law, about the theme of secularization, while also referring to it by name: It so happens that the legitimizing tonus of natural law, made to last, ends up lasting little.

    It does not manage to cross the XIX century. The fact is that the secularizing trend also advances over metajuridical axiomatics to take "something more" from it that Weber cannot quite put a name to, but in this case calls it a "distinct force" in order to avoid the word "charisma". As a consequence of this, throughout the XIX century natural law loses strength as a fundamental reference of Kulturmenschen.

    The Natural Law, Politics, Revealed Truth, and Secularization

    It has lost, in every case, the capacity to serve as a foundation for law". In other words, it has lost a lot. And it is in this context that Weber returns to the thematization of the question of religious law: In consequence of this, the advance of juridical positivism is unstoppable. What does this mean? Disenchantment; pure and simple disenchantment. What could be more disenchanted in the field of normative spheres than the utilitarian-instrumental rationality of juridical positivism? Entzauberung , could also mean, why not?

    It was already possible in Weber's time to ascertain this divesting of charisma, this raising of the veil. Even the aura, that almost belongs to the supra-sensitive order which swept over the metajuridical axioms of natural law, ends up crumbling. It melts into the air, the Manifest would say. For this reason, at the end of the sociology of law, precisely in the last paragraph, Weber again insists upon the theme of desacralization to remember that the "inevitable fate" of law in modern times [ sein unvermeidliches Schicksal ], a result in which technical and economical progress also played a part, is to be "a law whose technical content is ever greater".

    Well, this fate of law and of laws, to which is applied the redundant term "inevitable", does not resemble the worst in Max Weber's eyes. The laws, no longer considered sacred or given, can from now be legitimately modified, reformulated and even switched. They are, with everything that this implies about generically human maturity and emancipation, able to be reviewed. In the final paragraph of the sociology of law, Weber employs the adjective umzuschaffend to characterize the form that is able to be "re-modeled", "re-formulated", "re-configured" and "trans-formable", and that constitutes the contemporary juridical apparatus.

    And so we have arrived at the peak of law's disenchantment. It is better this way. The Weberian narrative of juridical rationalization does not forfeit a happy ending, quite unlike the petrified " iron cage " thematized at the end of The Protestant Ethic , whose main thread is the rationalization of the conduct of life. As is known, Habermas disagrees profoundly that we should resign ourselves to this Weberian full stop, entirely dominated by juridical positivism which is nothing more than a colonization in toto , a post-natural law, of the juridical sphere by technical-instrumental-formal rationality, a rationality of means.

    Law as a means and not as a value. In the short period of a century, in a few decades, the concept of law repeats in smaller scale the process of desacralization and the reduction of transcendence which is in itself the engendering of modernity. The rationalization of law mapped out in its irregular trajectory the destiny of the forms of domination and their founding, and our destiny depends on this today.

    Religious rationalization, for its part, did the same: And our destiny in "this world" of course also depends on this. On top of this, to round off, Weber shows us that both rationalizing processes bury themselves in western history, prompting us to discover another of those cases that he so enjoyed identifying in history, a case quite unique to its species, of elective affinities cf. Including everything that this crossing implies in terms of consequences, predictable or not, desirable or not.

    Keeping an eye on the "new theocrats", whose presence Gore Vidal never tires of reminding us of, insistent as they are upon a return to a religious point of view over our republics and our public lives, a point of view that desecularizes, I really hope that the analytical effort to which I have dedicated myself be of use in saying the following: Let us move onto the lacking but significant nominal mentions of secularization in Weber's writings outside the sociology of law.

    Let us draw a quick comparison to The Protestant Ethic. The words secularize and secularization appear only three times in the main body of The Protestant Ethic and, even so, not in the strongest moments of the work. The noum "secularization" appears in the first chapter, which is not the most important.

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    Protestants fuel the impression that Catholicism is synonymous with "estrangement of the world" [ Weltfremdheit ], while Catholics reply to this with a critique of protestant "materialism", a "result of the secularization of the entire contents of life by Protestantism" EP, p. Weber shows that he is aware of the negative charge that the term carries in his country, at least as early as the "Great Secularization" of , 21 and this prejudiced negativity strikes him even more the way catholic common sense applies the word "in Germany and at the present days" ibid.

    For this reason, Marramao may be right when he comments that the Weberian operation, analogous to similar undertakings by Ernst Troeltsch in the same period, can be described as a "neutralization of the inherent ambivalence towards the term of secularization", which, in Weber's case, implies the objectivist aim of ridding it of axiological, positive and negative connotations Marramao, , pp. In my view, this goes towards explaining Weber's parsimony in the use of this word, so loaded to this day.

    The same is true on a grand scale of the wordly asceticism of Puritanism" PE, p. Weber cites verbatim in this context the words of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley: This is a result of secularization that "generally came only after the peak of the purely religious enthusiasm was past.

    And the third time, once more as a verb, it appears in the same semantic context as in chapter V, which thematizes in a substantive manner the process of secularization triggered by the inner worldly asceticism of the puritanical sects. He refers here to the old and "often cited opinion" that the working mass of workers only remain faithful to God if kept in poverty. And he subsequently adds that the Dutch, in substituting the idea that only those who are poor remain obedient to God with the correlated idea that only out of necessity is someone maintained in a life of labor, "secularized" between quotation marks this mental scheme, this belief.

    Secularization, in other words, of a symbolic-religious conception that results in an ideological formulation. But even in this new field there is a semantic direction which remains unaltered: Here, secularization designates before anything else the characteristically modern process of the decline of religion keep in view here and there the use of the verb to succumb , drawing a trajectory of faint-heartedness and of fading, of subtraction of religion, which, if it is true that it can happen in any place in any time, constitutes in its typicality the characteristic script of modern times.

    It is true enough that Weber is neither ignorant of or dismissive of pre-modern examples of secularization. This we have already seen in our treatment of the sociology of law. This is how he also proceeds in other chapters of Economy and Society , signaling with circumscribed examples of acts of secularization. We are coming to the end.

    As I have attempted to document, in Weber's work one can find a true profusion of events and processes of different empirical dimensions and reach that fall under the designation of secularization, uses that boast diverse concrete referents, mobilized in different levels of analysis and with different categorical reach. The "great secularization" undertaken in the VIII century by Carlos Martel, that Weber does not hesitate in calling a "sacrilegious robbery" Kirchenraub , does not enjoy, evidently, the same historic relevance, the same liberating reach of modernizing effects as the secularization of voluntary associationism that he strikes in dealing with the protestant sects of the United Stated.

    Herein lies his interest as a sociologist, not there. Their position is derived from the far more exclusive importance of the prototype of these voluntary associations, to wit, the sects" FMW, p. This process fits in the same retrospective and general gaze with which he observes and interprets the rationalization of a whole civilization that he simply liked to call the West. In my research I was able to ascertain empirically in Weber's work a dominance of the original meaning of the word, an antiquity of meaning that cannot be erased, withdrawn, is omnipresent, always visible, and this can certainly help us when it comes to, as he proposes, looking into the eyes of our times before subsequently looking, with as much intellectual honesty as is possible, into "the fate of our times" [ das Schicksal unserer Zeit ] WB, passim.

    Let us return to the origins. Before anything else, let me register here that Giacomo Marramao, more explicitly and much more insistently than any other author, drew well-deserved attention to the inaugural datum, the primordial meaning. In his book Potere e Secolarizzazione , dated , presents the word secularization in the first phrase of the book's introduction as having "arisen during the Reformation, originally in the juridical field to indicate the expropriation of ecclesiastical goods in favor of the princes or reformed national churches" Marramao, , p.

    In the middle of the 's, therefore, people were already saying that the name of secularization, whatever that might mean, was formulated in the immediate context of the "liquidation of spiritual power, which ecclesiastical foundations, monasteries and whole dioceses succumbed to".

    Secularism - Wikipedia

    It is evident that lexicographic research has not come to an end. We can call this its pre-history, seeing as this, the oldest niche in which the word secularization is proclaimed is still a non-secularized enjeu. And the meaning is different, extremely technical and of little general interest. Marramao includes just in time the new information in his next book: Meaning the shift from the religious "virtuoso" state of a regular priest that is, member of a religious Order headed by a regulation called "Rule"; hence the name "regular priest" to a secular state of a catholic priest belonging directly to a bishop, to a diocese.

    It can also be said, in more general terms, as documented in the Dizionario della Lingua Italiana de Devoto-Oli, "secularize", "to secularize oneself", even in the hyper-specific primordial use of the word semantically applicable in a very particular and intra-ecclesiastical way, that from the beginning the word carried a certain connotation of "interruption" and "passage", not necessarily of loss. This dictionary gives the following definition: To move from one state to another with obligatory dispensation of the religious vote" Devoto-Oli, , apud Marramao, A swift dislocation and, parallel to this inaugural moment, saecularisatio begins to describe not only the passage of one type of priesthood to another but also the diminishment of the clergy to a lay state, a "laicization" of a priest, in short, the loss of clerical status amissio status clericalis , and that means loss, not just a passage, the "fact of those living in religious orders and in convents being reduced to secular life".

    Later on, during the rise of Protestantism in the XVI and XVII centuries, the term was used to designate "the process of subtractions of a territory, or of an institution, from ecclesiastical jurisdiction and control: A second use, I should add, made in a pronunciation by the ambassador to France, Longueville, in a language other than Latin, in a non-ecclesiastical language, which is French. This is when the juridical-political meaning of the word reveals itself. And it is immediately consolidated, with the precipitation of political measures, both fair and unfair, when referred to as acts of secularization.

    It is in this second baptism that the word loses its singularity of meaning and comes to mean the expropriation of ecclesiastical goods, "the elimination of ecclesiastical property of lands which, from a formal point of view, continued under ecclesiastical jurisdiction" Martelli, , pp. Important connotations result from the specific religious context, which is the consolidation of protestant churches in the middle of religious wars, as well as in a general macro-context of de-feudalization, of the dissolution of feudalism.

    Once its meaning is confirmed by constant use in the juridical-political field, the word secularization "represents" itself, in this new usage, to address on the one hand the expropriation of ecclesiastical goods, and on the other, to refer to the emancipation of political power in relation to the tutelage and control of the church. There is, however, one historical event crucial to the word's history.

    With the confiscation of its goods and possession, the German church, which had once been the richest in the Christian world, "lost almost all its material means" idem , p. To get a quick idea of the implications of 's "general secularization", just remember that paragraph 34 of the Emperor's final ratification "passed on to the lay princes, not only the bishops' belongings, but all the belongings of those in charge of the cathedrals, as well as their dignitaries".

    All goods belonging to the church's seminaries, abbeys and monasteries [ The loss of the German church, which had once been the riches in the Christian world, totaled, on both sides of the Rhine, 1, square miles, with close to 3,, inhabitants and 21 million florins annual income not including the monasteries.

    How can we explain to the secular human that God exist?

    It affected 3 of the Rhine's electoral archdiocese, the archdiocese of Salzburg and 18 dioceses, close to 80 abbeys and close to monasteries. Prussia five times more, Baden seven times and Wurtemberg four times. The "great secularization" represented a true baptism of fire for the word in German. Until the turn of the XIX century in Germany, secularization was a word destitute of any negative charge, whether uttered by the secular authorities that promoted it, or by the catholic church which at times also directly promoted it. Let me add, with the help of Joachim Matthes, that in the XIX century the historical referent of the term reverberates in the debate about secularization, especially in the Germany of Kulturkampf.

    The difference is that the debate, now locked into the context of an already advanced state of secularization, becomes pointedly philosophical. In this new and expanded acception of the word, secularization enjoys intimate relations with the history of the spirit and of society which around this time is also viewed as the emancipation of bourgeois society. The first time the word secularization was uttered outside the walls and texts of the catholic church, so say researchers of lexicography, it was to give a name to the juridical-political process of expropriation of ecclesiastical goods made in benefit of secular powers.

    A return to the origins of the concept of secularization can be of great help to the current debate that surrounds the contemporary fermentation of religiosities. In my view it helps a lot. Before anything else, because of the simple reason that having placed the question in the juridical-political sphere, comme il faut , there is no way of attesting to the factuality of the process: Brazil is an ideal case.

    So is the United States. Here and there, the disestablishment of religion only gets deeper and deeper every year. As it does everywhere else, save for the "Islamic republics". In this original derivation of the word, as painful as it may be to some, there can be no doubt that secularization "is a historically verifiable and unquestionable phenomenon" Martelli, , p. To reach an unquestionable point in a controversy that does not seem to ever end is already a precious gain, the minimum provisional consensus required to cool temperaments and refound discussion and put the basic conceptual tools in order.

    At this time it is important that we seek a minimum categorical consensus. An intellectual and research challenge. Archived from the original PDF on March 27, A Historical Analysis SI: Domenic Marbaniang, , p. A Theological Journal , Itarsi: Central India Theological Seminary, Oct Retrieved 4 June Archived from the original on Retrieved 22 April See also Schmitt and Blancarte Implications for Transatlantic Relations". Retrieved 4 July The Veritas Forum, http: A Philosophy Blog , June 28, The Oxford handbook of political theory.

    The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought. In Defense of Moral and Political Secularism. Why belief belongs in public life. The Origin and Nature of Secularism. Secularism, Art and Freedom. Radicals, Secularists and Republicans: Formations Of The Secular: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion.

    The Secularization of the European mind in the nineteenth century. Secularization and Urbanization in Theological Perspective. Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture. A General Theory of Secularization. Towards a Revised General Theory. Secularisation in Western Europe, — Religion in Secular Society. The Hidden Origins of Disbelief. Considering Secularism in Farrows, Douglas ed. Religion, church, and state in contemporary Mexico. Changing structure of Mexico: Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey: Bodies, Places, and Time.


    University of Minnesota Press. The New cold war?: University of California Press. Catholic adjustment to the secular state: Catholic Historical Review , Vol. The circulation of secularism. Humanistic Metaphysical Methodological Religious. Atheists Agnostics Humanists Pantheists Deists. The Age of Enlightenment. Robert Boyle Edmund Burke. Christianity Hinduism Islam Jainism Judaism. Abrahamic prophecy Aggadah Denominations Kabbalah Philosophy. Major religious groups and religious denominations. Retrieved from " https: Views Read Edit View history.

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    The Natural Law, Revealed Truth, Politics, & Secularization The Natural Law, Revealed Truth, Politics, & Secularization
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