Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State takes the tenacious rubric of “church and state” and examines it through a series of revealing things: treaties, royal proclamations, bibles, staffs, amulets, corpses, juries, and trophy heads. Working from three sites within the Americas—Brazil, Canada, and the United States—we argue for the importance of thinking of church and state, or what we call churchstateness, not simply as interrelated institutions or theoretical categories inherited from abroad. Instead, we also think of them as overlapping polities and powerfully twinned concepts kept alive in distinctive ways in the purportedly secular democratic nation-states across the so-called New World. ... Framing our essays with a jointly-written introduction that engages with Eric Santner, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Judith Butler, among others, we focus on questions of “the people” as variously convened in democratic societies.
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The Church, like no other institution of its size, is beholden to its past. That past is, however, often misunderstood. As scholars and citizens, therefore, we lack a solid understanding of what sorts of tools the Church employs to engage with the modern world, and where they come from. Catholic Modern: The Challenge of Totalitarianism and the Remaking of the Church offers a new account of how the Catholic Church evolved over the course of the twentieth century, and in turn offers a new understanding of the dilemmas faced by the Church today. The question asked by the book is a simple one: when, why, and how did the Catholic Church become modern? Building on discussions in The Immanent Frame and elsewhere, I suggest that, when it comes to religious institutions, “modern” can have an analytically precise meaning. It should not be equated with liberal, tolerant, progressive, atheist, or democratic. Modernity is, very often, none of those things. “Modern” can refer, instead, to what readers of TIF might call the “secular condition”: one in which religion is safely sequestered into something called the “private sphere.”
Instead of separation of state and religion, Al drew on the history of established religions in Europe to advocate the “twin tolerations”: a form of mutual toleration between religion and state wherein religious leaders give elected leaders the autonomy to enact policies, and democratic leaders give religious leaders space to worship, participate in civil society, and to organize politically.