Skip to main content

Integrating the Strong Group Agency of the Church

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
A Christian Approach to Corporate Religious Liberty

Part of the book series: Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion ((PFPR))

  • 233 Accesses

Abstract

This chapter considers how the Church—when understood as a metaphysical person—could be integrated into an approach to corporate religious liberty that primarily views groups as social actions, not corporate moral persons. Drawing largely upon Henri de Lubac and Jacques Maritain, the chapter considers the extent to which Catholic ecclesiology meets a stipulative definition of strong group agency. It engages with medieval interpretations of the corpus mysticum and with the contemporary secularization of John Locke’s “true church.” This historical survey helps explain why the Church is not commonly described in strongly metaphysical terms today and how this situation affects proposals to protect church freedoms. The chapter concludes by examining the U.S. Supreme Court case Corporation of the Presiding Bishop v. Amos (1987) to illustrate how the theological person of the Church could be integrated into, and thus accounted for by, a Christian approach to corporate religious liberty.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 99.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 129.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 129.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Notes

  1. 1.

    Thomas Gilby O.P., Principality and Polity: Aquinas and the Rise of State Theory in the West (London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1958), 255–56 (quoting Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I-II q. 81, a. 1; and III q. 8, a. 1).

  2. 2.

    Henri de Lubac S.J., Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man, trans. Lancelot C. Sheppard (London: Universe Books, 1962), 19 (italics mine).

  3. 3.

    John Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” in Locke on Politics, Religion, and Education, ed. Maurice Cranston (London: Collier-Macmillan, 1965), 110–11.

  4. 4.

    Christian List and Philip Pettit, Group Agency: The Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 9 (italics mine).

  5. 5.

    James D. Nelson, “Conscience, Incorporated,” Michigan State Law Review 2013, no. 5 (2013): 1571.

  6. 6.

    Eric W. Orts, Business Persons: A Legal Theory of the Firm (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 15.

  7. 7.

    Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology, trans. Sister Mary Frances McCarthy S.N.D. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987), 37 (italics mine).

  8. 8.

    De Lubac, Catholicism, 121 (italics mine).

  9. 9.

    De Lubac, 122–23 (italics mine).

  10. 10.

    Ratzinger, Principles, 41; De Lubac, Catholicism, 122–23.

  11. 11.

    Modest group realism requires unanimity with respect to a group’s standing intention. See the discussion of Ekins in Sect. 4.2.2.

  12. 12.

    For example, see Richard Schragger and Micah Schwartzman, “Against Religious Institutionalism,” Virginia Law Review 99, no. 5 (September 2013): 959.

  13. 13.

    Ratzinger, Principles, 41 (italics mine).

  14. 14.

    Ratzinger, 50.

  15. 15.

    1 Corinthians 6:15 (RSV).

  16. 16.

    The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Theology, ed. James E. Harding and Gregory W. Dawes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), s.v. “Body.”

  17. 17.

    John 6:51 and 1 Corinthians 11:24 (RSV).

  18. 18.

    Pope Pius XII, Mystici corporis christi (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1943), para. 14.

  19. 19.

    See Avery Dulles S.J., “Nature, Mission, and Structure of the Church,” in Vatican II: Renewal within Tradition, ed. Matthew Lamb and Matthew Levering (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 28.

  20. 20.

    Joseph Ratzinger, “The Ecclesiology of the Constitution Lumen Gentium,” in Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church as Communion, trans. Henry Taylor (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), 148, n. 18.

  21. 21.

    Guy Mansini O.S.B., “Lumen Gentium,” in The Reception of Vatican II, ed. Matthew Lamb and Matthew Levering (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 52.

  22. 22.

    Henri De Lubac S.J., Corpus Mysticum: The Eucharist and the Church in the Middle Ages, ed. Laurence Paul Hemming and Susan Frank Parsons, trans. Gemma Simmonds C.J., Richard Price, and Christopher Stephens (London: SCM Press, 2006), 87–88 (referencing Saint Anselm at n. 85 and quoting Anselm of Havelberg, Odo of Ourscamp, Placidus, and Saint John Chrysostom at nn. 88–91) (original italics removed).

  23. 23.

    De Lubac, 88.

  24. 24.

    Group-agency elimination is first discussed in Sect. 3.1 above.

  25. 25.

    Ernst Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies: A Study in Medieval Political Theology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957), 193–206.

  26. 26.

    Pope Boniface VIII, Unam sanctam (1302), quoted in Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies, 194, n. 4.

  27. 27.

    Kantorowicz, 194–95.

  28. 28.

    Kantorowicz, 195.

  29. 29.

    Paschasius, “Liber de corpore et sanguine domini,” in Patrologia latina cursus completus, ed. J.P. Migne (Paris: Garnier, 1844–1864), 120, 1284–86, quoted in De Lubac, Corpus Mysticum, 30 (italics in original).

  30. 30.

    Ratramnus, “De corpore et sanguine domini,” in Patrologia latina cursus completus, ed. J.P. Migne (Paris: Garnier, 1844–1864), 121, 167A, quoted in De Lubac, 31, nn. 102–3; and Rabanus Maurus, “De clericorum institutione,” in Patrologia latina cursus completus, 107, 324, quoted in De Lubac, 31, n. 104.

  31. 31.

    Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies, 196 (italics in original).

  32. 32.

    Kantorowicz, 199–201.

  33. 33.

    Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae III q. 8, aa. 3–4. Henceforth, I reference the English Dominicans’ translation, using book, question, and article enumeration. See Summa theologiae, ed. Fathers of the English Dominican Province, 61 vols. (London: Blackfriars, 1964–1980).

  34. 34.

    Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies, 201; De Lubac, Corpus Mysticum, 113.

  35. 35.

    De Lubac, 113. See also ST III q. 8, a. 3, ad. 3.

  36. 36.

    Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies, 201 (italics in original).

  37. 37.

    Kantorowicz, 206.

  38. 38.

    Gilby, Principality and Polity, 256.

  39. 39.

    See John Locke, The Reasonableness of Christianity: As Delivered in the Scriptures, ed. John C. Higgins-Biddle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), app. 2.

  40. 40.

    Maurice Cranston, introduction to Locke on Politics, Religion, and Education, by John Locke, ed. Maurice Cranston (London: Collier-Macmillan, 1965), 7.

  41. 41.

    John Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” 110–11.

  42. 42.

    Ibid.

  43. 43.

    Locke, 104–5.

  44. 44.

    For example, see J. Judd Owen, Making Religion Safe for Democracy: Transformation from Hobbes to Tocqueville (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 109–12.

  45. 45.

    Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” 134.

  46. 46.

    Locke, 135.

  47. 47.

    Locke, 112 (italics mine).

  48. 48.

    Cranston, introduction to Locke on Politics, Religion, and Education, 13.

  49. 49.

    Nicholas Wolterstorff, “Locke’s Philosophy of Religion,” in The Cambridge Companion to Locke, ed. Vere Chappell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 187–88.

  50. 50.

    John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. Peter H. Nidditch (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), 695, bk. IV, chap. xviii, line 10. See discussion in Wolterstorff, “Locke’s Philosophy of Religion,” 191.

  51. 51.

    Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 695, bk. IV, chap. xviii, line 10 (italics in the original).

  52. 52.

    Wolterstorff, “Locke’s Philosophy of Religion,” 190.

  53. 53.

    Locke, Reasonableness, 5, bk. I, lines 7–8.

  54. 54.

    Owen, Making Religion Safe for Democracy, 85, quoting Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, trans. Richard Tuck (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 414–15, chap. 43, sec. 331.

  55. 55.

    Wolterstorff, “Locke’s Philosophy of Religion,” 192 (italics in original).

  56. 56.

    For example, see Owen, Making Religion Safe for Democracy, 84–85; Wolterstorff, “Locke’s Philosophy of Religion,” 190. For a more sympathetic interpretation, see John C. Higgins-Biddle, introduction to The Reasonableness of Christianity: As Delivered in the Scriptures, by John Locke, ed. John C. Higgins-Biddle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), cxi.

  57. 57.

    Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” 115–16.

  58. 58.

    Higgins-Biddle, introduction to The Reasonableness of Christianity, cxiii.

  59. 59.

    Owen, Making Religion Safe for Democracy, 65.

  60. 60.

    Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” 110–11 (italics mine).

  61. 61.

    Locke, 111.

  62. 62.

    Locke, 114.

  63. 63.

    For an account of Locke’s theological reflections upon individual dignity and equality, see Jeremy Waldron, God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations in Locke’s Political Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), chap. 8.

  64. 64.

    Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” 135.

  65. 65.

    Higgins-Biddle, introduction to The Reasonableness of Christianity, cxiii. Locke refers to human ignorance with regard to various truths in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 659, bk. IV, chap. xvi, line 4.

  66. 66.

    Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” 104–5 (italics mine).

  67. 67.

    Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 659, bk. IV, chap. xvi, line 4 (original italics removed).

  68. 68.

    Locke, Reasonableness, 169, bk. XV, line 302.

  69. 69.

    See Owen, Making Religion Safe for Democracy, 108–12.

  70. 70.

    Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” 114–15 (italics mine).

  71. 71.

    Owen, Making Religion Safe for Democracy, 110.

  72. 72.

    Higgins-Biddle, introduction to The Reasonableness of Christianity, cxiv.

  73. 73.

    Waldron, God, Locke, and Equality, 237–43.

  74. 74.

    Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” 104–5.

  75. 75.

    See Schragger and Schwartzman, “Against Religious Institutionalism,” 957–59; Cécile Laborde, Liberalism’s Religion (London: Harvard University Press, 2017), 174.

  76. 76.

    See Laborde, 172–74.

  77. 77.

    Richard Schragger and Micah Schwartzman, “Some Realism about Corporate Rights,” in The Rise of Corporate Religious Liberty, ed. Micah Schwartzman, Chad Flanders, and Zöe Robinson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 352, n. 32.

  78. 78.

    Schragger and Schwartzman, 349–50.

  79. 79.

    De Lubac, Catholicism, 21.

  80. 80.

    ST III q. 16, a. 12, obj. 2 (Boethius) and ad. 3 (Aquinas).

  81. 81.

    Humbert Clérissac O.P., The Mystery of the Church (London: Sheed and Ward, 1937), 35 (cf. the “bond” of human members’ intentions, as understood within modest group realism: see Sect. 4.2 above).

  82. 82.

    Clérissac, 35.

  83. 83.

    Clérissac, 36–37.

  84. 84.

    Clérissac, 38–39.

  85. 85.

    Jacques Maritain, On the Church of Christ: The Person of the Church and Her Personnel, trans. Joseph W. Evans (London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1973), 18–19.

  86. 86.

    See the definitions provided in ST III q. 16, a. 12, obj. 2 and ad. 3.

  87. 87.

    Maritain, On the Church of Christ, 18 (original italics removed) (italics mine).

  88. 88.

    “Give us this day our supersubstantial bread.” Matthew 6:11 (Douay-Rheims Version).

  89. 89.

    See John Garvey, What Are Freedoms For? (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), 146–47 (defending church autonomy with strong group-realist argumentation).

  90. 90.

    See Sect. 6.2 above. For further discussion, see Brad S. Gregory, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012).

  91. 91.

    John Locke, “Journal Entries for 26–27 Aug. 1676,” in Essays on the Law of Nature, ed. W. von Leyden (London: Oxford Clarendon Press, 1954), 278, quoted in Higgins-Biddle, introduction to The Reasonableness of Christianity, cxi–cxii.

  92. 92.

    See Laborde, Liberalism’s Religion, 173; Schragger and Schwartzman, “Some Realism,” 367.

  93. 93.

    Garvey, What Are Freedoms For?, 149–50; William T. Cavanaugh, Theopolitical Imagination: Discovering the Liturgy as a Political Act in an Age of Global Consumerism (London: T & T Clark, 2002), 46–52.

  94. 94.

    Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” 112.

  95. 95.

    De Lubac, Corpus Mysticum, 118 (original italics removed).

  96. 96.

    De Lubac, 260.

  97. 97.

    Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1994), para. 1324.

  98. 98.

    As John Calvin argues, the administration of the sacraments coupled with the preaching of God’s word signify the presence of the true Church. See Karl Barth, The Theology of John Calvin, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans, 1995), 183.

  99. 99.

    De Lubac, Catholicism, 32.

  100. 100.

    I take it that all Christian churches are sacramental to some extent, even if only in the sense of affirming the “incarnational” presence of Christ in others.

  101. 101.

    Relevant similarities can include the teaching of religious beliefs, rituals, patterns of worship, and the like.

  102. 102.

    Avery Dulles S.J., Models of the Church, expanded ed. (New York: Doubleday, 2002), 189 (italics mine).

  103. 103.

    De Lubac, Catholicism, 33.

  104. 104.

    De Lubac, 35.

  105. 105.

    De Lubac, 38–39.

  106. 106.

    Schragger and Schwartzman, “Some Realism,” 352, n. 32.

  107. 107.

    By “governmental recognition of religious truth,” I mean establishment or a “space-creating” non-establishment (see Sect. 4.3.1).

  108. 108.

    Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos, 107 S.Ct. 2862 (1987) (Brennan, J., concurring) (arguing that it is not a violation of the Establishment Clause to grant religious exemptions to the secular, not-for-profit activities of religious organizations, specifically with regard to Title VII prohibitions against religion-based employment discrimination).

  109. 109.

    Cf. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, 132 S.Ct. 694, 706 (2012) (justifying the existence of the ministerial exception through normative appeal to consenting individuals: “The members of a religious group put their faith in the hands of their ministers”).

  110. 110.

    Amos, 107 S.Ct. at 2870.

  111. 111.

    Amos, 107 S.Ct. at 2871–2 (footnotes removed) (italics mine).

  112. 112.

    Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 2751, 2795 (2014).

  113. 113.

    Amos, 107 S.Ct. at 2872.

  114. 114.

    Brennan never refers to the religious community as voluntary, but the reference is undoubtedly implied. Brennan, for example, cites Douglas Laycock who argues that “voluntary affiliation with the group is the premise on which [religious] group autonomy depends.” See Amos, 107 S.Ct. at 2871; and Douglas Laycock, “Towards a General Theory of the Religion Clauses: The Case of Church Labor Relations and the Right to Church Autonomy,” Columbia Law Review 81, no. 7 (November 1981): 1405.

  115. 115.

    Amos, 107 S.Ct. at 2873.

  116. 116.

    The federal government tried to make an argument along these lines in Hosanna-Tabor, 132 S.Ct. 694 (2012).

  117. 117.

    Steven D. Smith, “The Jurisdictional Conception of Church Autonomy,” in The Rise of Corporate Religious Liberty, ed. Flanders et al. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 35.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Edward A. David .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

David, E.A. (2020). Integrating the Strong Group Agency of the Church. In: A Christian Approach to Corporate Religious Liberty. Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56211-3_6

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics