The Unreasonableness of Catholic Integralism

31 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2019 Last revised: 12 Mar 2020

See all articles by Micah Schwartzman

Micah Schwartzman

University of Virginia School of Law

Jocelyn Wilson

University of Virginia - School of Law, Alumnus or Degree Candidate Author

Date Written: August 12, 2019

Abstract

Catholic integralism has reemerged as a radical critique of liberalism and as a potential source of justification for illiberal regimes. Integralists argue that liberalism is a relentless and destructive ideology. They claim that the only way to remedy its failures is for political society to recognize and be integrated with the Church. After providing some background in earlier antiliberal thought, focusing on Carl Schmitt’s political idea of Catholicism, we survey recent work on Catholic integralism and describe its influence in contemporary public discourse. We then argue that integralism is unreasonable, because it conflicts with treating citizens as free and equal participants in a fair system of social cooperation and with respecting the idea of reasonable pluralism. Working out the moral and epistemic content of these commitments, and applying them in the context of a well-known historical example (the case of Edgardo Mortara), helps explain why integralism is morally objectionable from a liberal perspective.

Keywords: liberalism, reasonableness, Catholicism, integralism, religious freedom

Suggested Citation

Schwartzman, Micah and Wilson, Jocelyn, The Unreasonableness of Catholic Integralism (August 12, 2019). San Diego Law Review, Vol. 56, 2019; Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2019-43. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3436376

Micah Schwartzman (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Jocelyn Wilson

University of Virginia - School of Law, Alumnus or Degree Candidate Author ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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