Communitarianism, the Vatican, and the New Global Order


  • Robert L. Phillips

    1. Robert L. Phillips is Director of the Program for War and Ethics at the University of Connecticut, Hartford. He is the author of War and Justice (University of Oklahoma Press, 1984), as well as numerous papers on ethical issues in international violence. His most recent work is his chapter in Cross, Crescent, and Sword: The Justification and Limitation of War in Western and Islamic Traditions, edited by James Turner Johnson and John Kelsay (Greenwood Press, 1990).
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Pope John Paul's great vision of communitarianism and a New Global Order has yet to receive the recognition it deserves in furthering the understanding that humanity is built on religious values, without which transformations in totalitarian regimes would have been impossible. The essence of communitarianism, as put forth by the Vatican, consists of seeking middle ground between Marxist collectivism and rigid individualism and capitalism. Phillips traces the history of communitarianism through Aristotelian and Judeo-Christian writings, clarifying the proper function of the community in helping individuals help themselves by mobilizing church resources and countering anti-religious movements such as Nazism and communism. Communitarianism presents an encouraging universal notion of freedom, transcending the one-sided stances of Marxism and libertarian capitalism and promoting the vision of a unified human destiny.