Resurrecting Democracies: Secularity Recast in Charles Taylor, Paul Valadier, and Joseph Ratzinger

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In this article, the alternative conception of secularity of Charles Taylor, Paul Valadier and Joseph Ratzinger (former Benedict XVI) is explored. A secularized society, which they take as an established condition, does not necessarily exclude religion, Christianity or Christian transcendence, in particular. On the contrary, the spirit of democracies and citizens needs to be constantly kindled, and to this end, the Christian message and traditions can be relevant. Rather than strictly comparing and contrasting these three men’s thoughts, I deem it more fruitful to show how they complement each other. Though they certainly differ from each other, there is a remarkable overlap in their theological and philosophical anthropologies in which the notion of gift or gratuity is so central. The ideal of solidarity and justice that stems from this understanding of the human differs from conceptions that rely on the idea of the rational and self-sufficient agent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-127
JournalRadical Orthodoxy: Theology, Philosophy, Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Christian humanism
  • gift
  • imago dei
  • secularity
  • transcendence


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