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Pater Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist. (’06) and Ross Douthat
Pater Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist. (’06) and Ross Douthat


The upcoming June edition of the journal First Things features a dialogue between Pater Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist. (’06) and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. Mr. Douthat’s featured essay, A Gentler Christendom, reflects on the possible futures of Christian engagement, while Pater Edmund’s response, All We Need is Everything, sketches how he thinks such engagement should — and should not — look.

“Human beings are political creatures, and we yearn to serve great political causes of justice and liberation,” he writes. “But this aspiration makes it all the more vital that we discern whether a given movement is based on truth or falsehood.” He conducts a tour through the history of philosophy and the Church in pursuit of just such discernment. 

Although their essays attend to specifically political problems, neither Pater Edmund nor Mr. Douthat believes in purely political solutions. Pater Edmund writes: “Just as, in the Counter-Reformation, political reform was but one element of a more comprehensive movement — which included reform of religious orders, the foundation of new orders, a renewed commitment to ascetical discipline and to Christian education, and a new style in the fine arts — so today we need all of those things and more to bring our world to the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of God.”