Marc DeGirolami Reviews "Conciliarism and American Founding"
Last week, legal scholar Marc DeGirolami (Professor of Law and Associate Director of the Center for Law and Religion at St. John's University School of Law) reviewed my William and Mary Quarterly article, "Conciliarism and the American Founding." Marc runs the Law and Religion Forum, one of the best online sources for law and religion news and commentary. He is the author of The Tragedy of Religion Freedom (Harvard, 2013) and is writing a chapter for the volume I'm co-editing, The Cambridge Companion to the First Amendment and Religious Liberty (Cambridge, forthcoming).
For DeGirolami, the article inspired a reflection on the ways in which Christianity has been received throughout the world -- from Shusaku Endo's Japan to the British colonists' America. An excerpt from his review:
"Connected to the conciliarism of American Catholics was their rejection of any political aspirations for the Church–a kind of non-interventionism which rendered them possible subjects for toleration in the new American dispensation. The civil state was the unquestioned sovereign for these Catholics, not the Church.
"Breidenbach writes as a historian, of course, and does not openly praise or condemn these developments. The plant of Christianity (and Catholicism specifically) obviously did not encounter the same type of soil that it did in Japan. The soil changed the plant–made the plant accommodate itself to the soil’s demands, or else die. Indeed, it is often said that in America, all religions become Americanized, and the talk of conciliarism reminds me a bit of Professor Sally Gordon’s discussion of the flattening out (hierarchically speaking) of Christianity in America once it adopted the corporate form. Breidenbach’s article made me wonder, in the long run and as the American state continues to grow, which soil actually will prove the less hospitable. Read Breidenbach!"
You can read the whole review here: https://lawandreligionforum.org/2018/01/05/breidenbach-conciliarism-and-the-american-founding/