The Church today is being more widely recognised than ever before as having a proper influence upon the public realm, and as having a significant role to play in providing a solution to the crisis of legitimacy currently confronting western societies. This book argues that the ‘secular’ and the ‘sacred’ do not depict separate realms but are integral aspects of a single dynamic totality. The author maintains that the ‘sacred’ is the origin and end of the ‘secular’, while the ‘secular’ is only truly and fully itself when suffused with the ‘sacred’, that is, when the ruling authorities, organisations and social groups within the secular realm exercise their ‘relative autonomy’ in such a way that the ‘sacred’ (God, the Holy Spirit-in-us) is perfectly at home there.He claims that it is a grave misfortune that the false notion of a wholly autonomous ‘sacred-free’ secular realm has (i) intimidated into silence the ‘faith perspective’ of citizens of liberal democratic societies, (ii) stifled the vital emergence of their religiously inspired notions of the common good, and (iii) driven a divisive wedge between ‘the West’ and ‘the Rest’ (especially the ‘Muslim Rest’). He recommends for universal adoption what he describes in the book as the Augustinian ‘sacred reign-secular rule’ conception of political authority.
Dr Brian T Trainor completed an Honours degree and a Masters thesis in history and politics at Queen’s University Belfast and a doctoral thesis in social and political theory at the University of Adelaide. For most of his academic career, he has worked at the University of South Australia, from which he retired in 2000 as an Associate Professor. He is married to Marie, his delight and joy, and has five children and three grandchildren.