Jacques Maritain and a Spirituality of Democratic Participation

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Abstract
The contribution of Jacques Maritain to twentieth century political philosophy has been widely noted. This paper explores the implications of Maritain’s work and life for contemporary spirituality, in particular, for a spirituality that might nourish and shape democratic participation. It finds the roots of such a spirituality in Maritain’s integral vision of the person, and his view of saints as those persons who alone have fully resolved the human condition. Maritain argues that while sanctity so defined is universal, it must be adapted to the changing conditions of history. Contemporary democracy, in particular, has expanded the possibilities of the human being’s temporal task, and so calls for new styles of sanctity to embrace the new range of human activity. This paper explores the characteristics of sanctity in a democracy, according to Maritain. It finds that the defining features of such sanctity are solidarity, embodied in suffering and fraternal love, and contemplation diversely expressed through both prayer and action. Finally it explores the implications of Maritain’s spirituality for contemporary Catholic citizens.
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Archival date: 2016-10-06
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2016-10-06

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