Separation of Church and State in the Works of Félicité Lamennais and Orestes Brownson

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This study argues that Félicité Lamennais (1782-1854) and Orestes Brownson (1803-1876) shared a similar vision for the temporal and spiritual separation between Church and State despite maintaining discordant historical perspectives and diametrically opposed political experiences.

Based upon theology, history, and republican models available for their consideration, they offered a similar practical solution for the tangled web of European political machinations that constrained the papacy’s spiritual supremacy.


“Dempsey’s depth of analysis and ability to synthesize and compare the intricacies of these two men’s positions on the role of the Church in the world is impressive. This work makes a distinctive contribution to the analysis of Brownson and Lamennais. In a twenty-first century world increasingly dominated by the thirty-second sound bite, this nuanced study of religion and politics in the nineteenth century is a pleasant reminder of the real debate on the separation of church and state.” - Prof. Matthew J. Dowling, Providence College

“Dempsey has provided a service to students of the nineteenth-century papacy, theology and politics. As questions continue to arise about the ideal relationship between Church and State, this book offers true insight into and understanding of the ideal proposed by two extraordinary thinkers.” - Prof. Jason M. Miskuly, Emmanuel College

Table of Contents

L’Affaire Lamennais
Orestes A. Brownson’s Ecclesiology of Religious Freedom
Comparison of Lamennais and Brownson
Primacy of the Spiritual and the Nature of the Church
Gallicanism and Ultramontanism
Rationale for the Separation of Church and State
American Republic and European Liberalism
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Primary Source Works
Secondary Source Works

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