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(680 words)

Author(s): Tschuy, Theo | Mudge, Lewis S.
1. Inception The Joint Committee on Society, Development, and Peace, known by the acronym SODEPAX, arose in 1968 as a product of the energy and creativity generated by the social encyclicals of Popes John XXIII (1958–63) and Paul VI (1963–78), by the Vatican II Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World ( Gaudium et spes, 1965), and by the World Council of Churches’ Conference on Church and Society (Geneva, 1966). In operation until 1980, this body was for a time the only agency responsible both to the WCC and the Holy See, and hence wel…

Liberal Theology

(6,071 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Mudge, Lewis S.
1. Term The term “liberal theology” is widely used in modern Protestantism and Judaism, but only marginally in 19th- and early 20th-century Roman Catholicism. It shares the imprecision of the concept of liberalism in politics and culture. Three aspects of its usage call for consideration: in modern Judaism and Christianity, as a doctrine of faith, and as a polemical concept. 1.1. In Modern Judaism and Christianity In modern Judaism and Christianity theologians are called liberal who view the Enlightenment and modern culture as legitimate expressions of the Jud…


(4,684 words)

Author(s): Narr, Wolf-Dieter | Mudge, Lewis S. | Charpentier, Jean-Marie | Moede, Gerald F.
¶ The word “pluralism” (from Lat. pluralis) refers to the presence, in any given setting, of a multiplicity of competing cultures, viewpoints, economic interests, religious perspectives, philosophical opinions, and the like. In such usages the word is a near synonym for “diversity.” “Pluralism” can also mean the advocacy or defense of diversity as a matter of principle, as when pluralism is contrasted with terms such as “exclusivism” or “inclusivism” in regard to religious faiths other than one’s own…


(2,212 words)

Author(s): Schiller, Theo | Mudge, Lewis S.
Overview Liberalism is one of the great political and ideological trends of the last three centuries (Ideology; Politics), its high point being in the 19th century, when it had two rivals, conservatism (after the French Revolution) and socialism (in the course of industrialization). Socialism was weakened by fascism and German National Socialism, but after 1945 it revived both ideologically and structurally in the rivalry between Western democracy and Soviet Communist party dictatorship (Marxism 1). At the heart of liberal thinking stands the individual, who in virtue…