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How do American Catholics understand separation of Church and State?

Rev. Dr. Charles Curran discusses the contributions of American Jesuit John Courtney Murray on the issue of the relationship between Church and State. In Murray’s understanding, the separation between church and state does not constrain religious practices to the private life as many believe, but allows it to develop in society separate from the state. Although Curran agrees with Murray’s arguments, he believes that the Church must admit that at some point, their view on religious freedom and the separation of Church and State, was in fact wrong, and not underdeveloped as Murray believes.

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Playing Time: 4:25 minutes

About the Interviewee:

Rev. Dr. Charles E. Curran is the Elizabeth Scurlock University Chair of Human Values at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Curran is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has authored over three hundred publications on Catholic moral theology, social ethics, and the role of the Church as a moral and political actor in society. His book Catholic Moral Theology in the United States: A History (Georgetown University Press, 2008) won the American Publisher's Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence in Theology and Religion and the First Place Prize in History in the Catholic Press Association Book Awards.

About the Interviewer:

Dr. Alfred Benney is a professor of Religious Studies at Fairfield University. He has a Ph.D in Theology from the Hartford Seminary Foundation and teaches courses in Non-Traditional American Religions and Christian Religious Thought. His research interests include "how people learn"; "the appropriate use of technology in teaching/learning" and "myth as explanatory narrative". He has published work on teaching with technology.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.