Is Catholicism compatible with representative democracy?

A twentieth-century Italian priest, Don Luigi Sturzo, certainly thought so. As populism threatens democratic norms across the globe, Massimo Faggioli tells us how Sturzo’s anti-fascist Popular Party empowered lay Catholics to respectfully challenge the hierarchical church as they asserted their right to engage meaningfully in public life. To learn more about the life of Sturzo, read Massimo's essay for Commonweal here

Plus, we speak with Dr. Mike Lovell, president of Marquette University in Milwaukee, about the challenges facing Catholic higher education today: shifting demographics and cost structures, a changing curriculum, and addressing trauma and the mental-health needs of students.

Don Luigi Sturzo was a Catholic, and a political leader, who didn’t think that Catholicism was inherently incompatible with democracy. He had no nostalgia for an idealized past, whether it was the Papal States or the Middle Ages.

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