Over at CLR Forum, Pasquale Annicchino has an interesting reflection on current interest in Italy in the “American model” of religion in the public square. Here’s a bit:
Why are American cardinals receiving so much attention? One obvious, and superficial, reason is that they are much more skilled, as compared to other cardinals, in communicating and establishing relationships with the media. But there is another factor. The United States’ ability to preserve a vocal religious presence in the public sphere has always raised interest and curiosity in Rome, and especially now, in a time when the secularization of Europe is growing at an unprecedented level. It is not to reveal a secret to say that Benedict XVI himself, on many occasions, expressed appreciation for the “American model,” a model in which religious arguments in the public sphere are heard and debated much more than in Europe.
Unapologetically, I am an advocate of the free market and the American experiment. For reasons both moral and practical, I think it is better to allow people to make their own decisions on economic matters and in politics. But this doesn’t mean that I think the decisions we make are immune from moral judgment. Sometimes we misuse our freedom and pursue goals that are not commensurate with human dignity.
This all came to mind this morning when I read a post by Mary G. Leary (The $6 Billion Question). She writes that during this presidential election cycle, “People have argued, debates have occurred, pundits have postulated, and the proxies have predicted the ‘inevitable’ effects of the ‘other side’ winning.” And at least some candidates from both political parties have behaved in a manner reminiscent “to young men during the first week of a new dating relationship.” How? By promising “to change our lives in countless miraculous and, more than likely, unattainable ways.”
But here is where Leary’s concern and mine converge is not over what we are saying but what we are as a people leaving unsaid and so unexamined. Continue reading →