By Ulrich L. Lehner
"Whoever wishes an act of religion to explain an occasion that may be defined via cause is a idiot, and unworthy of average thought." This line, spoken via the infamous 18th-century libertine Giacomo Casanova, illustrates a deeply entrenched belief of faith, as well-known at the present time because it used to be enormous quantities of years in the past. it's the sentiment at the back of the narrative that Catholic ideals have been incompatible with the Enlightenment beliefs. Catholics, many declare, are superstitious and conventional, against democracy and gender equality, and opposed to technology. it might probably come as a shock, then, to benefit that Casanova himself used to be a Catholic. In The Catholic Enlightenment, Ulrich L. Lehner issues to such figures as representatives of a long-overlooked thread of a reform-minded Catholicism, which engaged Enlightenment beliefs with as a lot fervor and highbrow gravity as someone. Their tale opens new pathways for realizing how religion and modernity can have interaction in our personal time.
Lehner starts off 200 years earlier than the Enlightenment, whilst the Protestant Reformation destroyed the hegemony Catholicism had loved for hundreds of years. in this time the Catholic Church instituted a number of reforms, similar to greater schooling for pastors, extra liberal principles in regards to the roles of girls, and an emphasis on human freedom as a severe characteristic of theology. those activities shaped the root of the Enlightenment's trust in person freedom. whereas giants like Spinoza, Locke, and Voltaire turned one of the most influential voices of the time, Catholic Enlighteners have been correct along them. They denounced fanaticism, superstition, and prejudice as irreconcilable with the Enlightenment time table.
In 1789, the French Revolution dealt a devastating blow to their reason, disillusioning many Catholics opposed to the assumption of modernization. Popes gathered ever extra energy and the Catholic Enlightenment was once snuffed out. It was once no longer until eventually the second one Vatican Council in 1962 that questions of Catholicism's compatibility with modernity will be broached back.
Ulrich L. Lehner tells, for the 1st time, the forgotten tale of those reform-minded Catholics. As Pope Francis pushes the bounds of Catholicism even extra, and Catholics once more grapple with those questions, this publication will turn out to be required reading.