Should Religious People Affirm the Modern Liberal Order, or Reject It?

This question, and the tensions generated by it, underlie any discussion of Jewish–Christian relations.

From The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, painting by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, 1862. Wikipedia.

From The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, painting by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, 1862. Wikipedia.

Last Word
March 26 2018
About the author

Nathan Shields, a composer whose works have been performed by various orchestras and chamber ensembles, is associate faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. He earned his doctorate at the Juilliard School in New York, and has received fellowships from Tanglewood and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


I am grateful to Jon D. Levenson and R.J. Snell for their responses to my essay in Mosaic on the continuing reverberations of the 1858 Mortara case and the heated debate aroused by its recent treatment in the journal First Things. Jon Levenson has, with characteristic brilliance, explored the implications of these debates for the relations of contemporary Jews and Catholics both to each other and to modern liberalism. R.J. Snell has pushed me to refine my account of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), and provided a valuable overview of the Church’s current teaching on religious liberty.

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More about: History & Ideas, Jewish-Catholic relations, Liberalism, Mortara