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A Brief Apology for a Catholic Moment

A timely new work by one of France’s premier philosophers, A Brief Apology for a Catholic Moment offers insight into what “catholic” truly means. In this short, accessible book, Jean-Luc Marion braids the sense of catholic as all-embracing and universal into conversation about what it is to be Catholic in the present moment. A Brief Apology for a Catholic Moment tackles complex issues surrounding church-state separation and addresses a larger Catholic audience that transcends national boundaries, social identities, and linguistic differences. Marion insists that Catholic universalism, with its core of communion and community, is not an outmoded worldview, but rather an outlook that has the potential to counter the positivist rationality and nihilism at the core of our current political moment, and can help us address questions surrounding liberalism and religion and what is often presented as tension between “Islam and the West.” As an inviting and sophisticated Catholic take on current political and social realities—realities that are not confined to France alone—A Brief Apology for a Catholic Moment is a valuable contribution to a larger conversation.


“This book deserves the fullest attention of all who care about the future of democracy. Writing for people of secular conviction as much as for people of faith, Marion offers a powerful thesis: If we are to overcome our current societal struggles and political impasses and find any kind of shared future, Christianity represents an irreplaceable public voice. In particular, Catholicism offers cultural resources the world needs in order to face this moment. But to offer that gift successfully, Catholics must be more truly Catholic.”

Richard L. Wood, author of Faith in Action: Religion, Race, and Democratic Organizing in America

“A rich and comprehensive philosophical analysis of Catholicism in contemporary France. And yet, the questions Marion raises have significance for Catholics globally, as they also assess the relationship of their faith to the public sphere. Through its insights on separation, crisis, communion and more, A Brief Apology for a Catholic Moment is guaranteed to shape the philosophical imagination of its readers.”

Maureen K. Day, author of Catholic Activism Today: Personal Transformation and the Struggle for Social Justice

"Rich in resources for reflection . . .  Marion. . . help[s] us see how Catholics in an increasingly post-Christian society might bear witness to their faith without bitterness or nostalgia—and perhaps even with joy."

Commonweal Magazine

"In this short and. . . accessible book, [Marion] writes for a more general readership, addressing the role (or rather, the possible role) of the Catholic Church in French culture. . . . The Church, he argues, is uniquely situated to pull French society out of its decadence with its call to repentance and communion. Many readers will find his argument attractive, others will consider it implausible, and still others will think they have heard it before, in other contexts. But all will find it an interesting new chapter in the development of Marion's thought. . . . Recommended."


Table of Contents

Foreword by Kevin Hart

Address: The Cross without the Banner

Catholic and French

Laicity or Separation

The Utility of Communion

Envoy: A Catholic Moment

Index of Names

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