The Regulator welcomes James Chappel, author of Catholic Modern: The Challenge of Totalitarianism and the Remaking of the Church, for a reading and booksigning.
There are over one billion Catholics in the world today, and the way that they choose to confront issues of race, citizenship, and climate change will have an immense impact on our common future. To understand the contemporary Church, however, we must understand its past. In this talk, James Chappel will explore the history of the Church in the twentieth century, arguing that the mid-century encounters with Communism and Fascism were utterly transformative. The Church's complex encounter with these new forces, he will argue, led the Church to become "modern." An understanding of this history explains the peculiar shape taken by Catholic ethics in the half-century after World War II, which featured a more intense focus on family values and sexual propriety than ever before in Church history. The "traditional" Church that Pope Francis is trying to reform is not as old as we might think. History teaches that the Catholic approach to the world can change with surprising speed, and with tremendous consequences. The talk will conclude with a discussion of the Church's past, present, and possible futures.
James Chappel is Hunt Family Assistant Professor of History at Duke University.