Christians are by their nature a people out of place. Their true home is with God; in civic life, they are alien citizens “in but not of the world.” In American Babylon, eminent theologian Richard John Neuhaus examines the particular truth of that ambiguity for Catholics in America today. Neuhaus addresses the essential quandaries of Catholic life—assessing how Catholics can keep their heads above water in the sea of immorality that confronts them in the world, how they can be patriotic even though their true country is not in this world, and how they might reconcile their duties as citizens with their commitment to God. Deeply learned, frequently combative, and always eloquent, American Babylon is Neuhaus’s magnum opus—and will be essential reading for all Christians.
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, one of the foremost authorities on religion in the contemporary world and president of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, is the editor-in-chief of First Things. He was named one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” by Time Magazine. His many books include Freedom for Ministry, Death on a Friday Afternoon, and As I Lay Dying. He was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and lived in Manhattan until his death in January 2009.
From the New York Times Book Review
“American Babylon displays Neuhaus in all his virtues – elegantly argued and written, fair-minded and with a formidable range of reference – making the important point that politics without an anchor in a public morality can quickly slip away in dark directions.”
From National Review
“In word and deed alike, Neuhaus provided as much ‘spiritual energy for existing goals of change’ as any figure of his era. But it’s a testament to his own capaciousness that we will be able to turn to him for guidance and inspiration even in eras vastly different from his own.”
What it means to be in the world, but not of the world
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ American Babylon is a weighty description of what it means for Christians to be in the world, but not of the world. It is an often repeated phrase that holds a variety of meanings, but Fr. Neuhaus likens it to the relationship between the soul and the body: “The soul is captive to the body, yet it holds the body together. So Christians are held captive to the world, and yet they hold the world together."
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