This lecture was given by Russell Hittinger (University of Tulsa) on February 7, 2013 at the Lumen Christi Institute, Chicago.
Since the end of Christendom, the modern nation-state was devised to solve this troubled relation between religion and politics that was precipitated by the rise of Protestantism. However, this is no longer the case. The present weakness of nations in discerning matters religious and theological, along with its cool disinterest in religion, presents a general crisis for Western civilization. This lecture considers the problems that have arisen from such disinterest, particularly in regard to our ambiguous understanding of what constitutes polity, civitas, as a form of common life, and where this sits in relations to the other common forms, marriage and family, and, religion and church.