Enemies or allies: Liberalism and catholicism in Lord Acton’s thought
- Issue date
Oficyna Wydawnicza AFM
Krakowskie Studia Międzynarodowe 2011, nr 2, s. 179-196.
"Lord Acton is known mainly by his famous maxim that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Those who are more familiar with him know that he was a great nineteenth-century historian and political thinker, a passionate lover of liberty who, unfortunately, failed to complete his long-term project—the history of liberty—and thus became the “author” of “the greatest book that was never written.”2 Specialists in Victorian England, the British Catholic press and the Catholic liberal movement of that epoch are further aware that Acton was a very pious Catholic and an ardent liberal, who spent much of his life on failed attempts to reconcile Catholicism and liberalism. Some of them are puzzled, as were Acton’s contemporaries, how a man of his enormous erudition and political wisdom could have dreamt about succeeding in such a Sisyphean task. Liberalism, after all, was a child of the Enlightenment, hostile to any religion in principle and Catholicism in particular."(...)
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