Guest lecturer leaves students on a cliff hanger

By Grace Simcox
Staff Writer

Kevin Vallier, an associate professor of philosophy at Bowling Green State University, gave a lecture on the new Catholic integralism and whether baptism mars our dignity on Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. in the Gentile Gallery.  

Vallier, who holds a doctorate in philosophy, began his lecture by distinguishing between caesaropapism and hierocracy, claiming integralism to be the moderate intermediary between the two political systems.  

“In essence, integralism is the thought that Catholicism should be integrated into the fabric of society in order to promote both natural and supernatural goods as a means of disposing the people to grace,” explained Vallier. 

Vallier then displayed the disparity between Catholic integralism on religious liberty and mainstream Catholicism post-Vatican II, stating that both views agree that the coercion of the unbaptized is impermissible by the state. 

According to Vallier, the two sides disagree on grounds of whether the state with the authority of the Church may coerce the baptized for religious ends.  

More “modern Catholics, if you will, are inclined to take the negative stance,” said Vallier. 

The implication of this distinction is the basis for the integralist argument against the Catholic mainstream view and follows as such: “Claim 1: Baptism puts one under the legal authority of the Church. Claim 2: The Church can authorize the state to coerce the baptized,” according to Vallier. 

The philosopher argued that in acknowledging the first claim to be dogma, the second more controversial claim is the key to vindicating the integralist position. 

Vallier’s assertion was that integralism “permits religious coercion that violates our dignity,” deeming it both unjust and therefore implausible, as the arguments against integralism seemingly outweigh the contrary.  

Nonetheless, Vallier refused to definitively answer the question lying within the lecture title, encouraging us to continue our own study and contemplation on the matter.