Faith and Politics: Reflections of a Catholic Legislator


How can Catholic legislator live in accordance with his or her faith in a modern, secular, democratic, and pluralistic society? What degree of autonomy, if any, does a Catholic politician have in relation to the hierarchy of the Church within his own sphere of political activity? Walker, a former Chilean senator, addresses these questions from the standpoint of a Catholic legislator, arguing that being a politician and a Catholic aren’t mutually exclusive as long as religious freedom and the rightful autonomy of temporal affairs are respected. He argues that, in an era of both religious integralism and the Islamic State, more subtle forms of clericalism are still alive, even within the Catholic Church. He is critical of both conservative and liberal approaches and defends the dignity of the political community – the polis, or the community of citizens – as a central aspect of the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition of thought, as well as a key manifestation of human dignity, including that of the legislator, as a lay Catholic immersed in the life of a pluralist society.