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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: July 2020

6 - Pluralism and Disagreement


I have presented an understanding of religious liberty as part of a wider political imagination, one concerned with the ends of political authority and its relationship to the Church, and the plural associations that are encouraged by this duality. In particular, I have framed religious liberty as central to the quest for true religion – to participate in God’s own life and seek relationships of solidarity, fraternity, and charity. Religious liberty on this account may be manifested as a commitment to the autonomy of different groups forming our common life – in order to be a site of authority, the Church must have independence. But if there was uniform agreement on what pursuing true religion entails, then our questions of liberty may be more limited. Religious liberty could still be a compound signifier for reflection, but it may focus on dividing labour or positioning the authority of different groups in order to best pursue a (known) shared end. However, this is not the reality. Even if we agree that there is a shared quest, we still face disagreement on what its fulfilment requires. We still face difference; we continue to exist in a society with plural beliefs.

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