Maritain on faith and the democratic ideal

“Faith in the dignity of the human personality, in brotherly love, in justice, and in the worth of the human soul, outweighing the whole material universe – faith, in a word, in the conception of man and his destiny which the gospel has deposited at the very center of human history – this faith is the only genuine principle by which the democratic ideal may truly live. Any democracy that lets this faith be corrupted lays itself open to that extent to disruption.”

I am discovering the work of Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain by way of an anthology from Sophia Press entitled Christianity, Democracy, and the American Ideal. The book clusters bits and pieces from Maritain’s work into chapters on various civic themes: the American experience, social solidarity, freedom of association, and so on.

The looming national election gives point to what I’m reading. The quote above brought me up short the other day. It rings true in a way the pile of campaign literature on my table does not.