Somehow, one doubts that Biden has read a great deal of Maritain’s work ... Post-war Christian Democratic politics was heavily influenced by Maritain; so was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Second Vatican Council and what became the European Union.
Another reason Maritain looms so large is that he managed to simultaneously represent both sides of modern Catholic politics: what you might call the Nice and the Scary.
Nice Catholic politics emphasises that Christ came as a healer and a preacher of justice. It takes inspiration from the Catholics who have worked patiently for the common good in non-Christian societies …
What’s wholly missing from Biden’s platform is any hint of Scary Catholic politics. Scary politics keeps constantly in mind that, as Christians repeat every week in the Creed, Christ “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” It sees the world in terms of a spiritual battle, a contest with evil spirits. It is unsurprised when the darkness in the human heart rises to the surface in shocking crimes and atrocities.
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