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Once upon a time, political discourse among orthodox Catholics was dominated by the old First Things school – Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, George Weigel, Michael Novak. These writers adopted Fr. John Courtney Murray’s reconciliation of American constitutionalism and Catholic political thought. At root, they were “classical” liberals.
The great promise of liberal democracy was that its neutral institutions and procedures provided a check against tyranny. But as Catholics are excluded from the public sphere, the body counts of abortion and euthanasia (not always voluntary) rise, and the quasi-religious aspect of liberalism comes to the fore, that promise is no longer credible.
When Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of the extradition bill that triggered the largest and longest protests in that city’s history, protest leaders remained deeply sceptical.
For months, they had been demanding the full withdrawal of the much-loathed extradition bill – which would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China to stand trial. The protests, which began in March and snowballed in June, sent tens of thousands of demonstrators into the streets every weekend, and have since evolved into a push for greater democracy for Hong Kong which reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.