Christian humanism and Jacques Maritain

Jacques Maritain, husband, philosopher, died on April 28, 1973. A major philosopher in the twentieth century revival of the philosophy and theology of Thomas Aquinas, he was involved in drafting the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

He is seen as a major proponent of Christian Humanism which inspired the Christian Democratic movements and parties in Europe and Latin America (often proposed as an alternative to Marxism). There are still many who claim to advocate a Christian Humanism, including the current president of Honduras, Pepe Lobo. However, they would be advised to head these words of Jacques Maritain, quoted in his friend Thomas Merton’s Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander:

“They keep in their minds the settings of religion for the sake of appearances or outward show. . . but they deny the Gospel and despise the poor, pass through the tragedy of their time only with resentment against anything that endangers their interests and fear for their own prestige and possessions, contemplate without flinching every kind of injustice if it does not threaten their own way of life. Only concerned with  power and success, they are either anxious to have means of external coercion enforce what they term the ‘moral order’ or else they turn with the wind and are ready to comply with any requirement of the so-called historical necessity. They await the deceivers. They are famished for deception because first they themselves are trying to deceive God.”

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