chapter  4
32 Pages

Emerging forms of Catholic civic engagement

This chapter considers four types of civic engagement that were practiced by some Macau Catholics. There were reasonable doubts concerning the progressive role of the new middle class as an agent of social activism and democratic politics. The chapter likes to qualify this statement by examining those cases in which some of the Macau Catholics were working out novel forms of social and political participation. While the "church orientation" centered upon the churches and their affiliate organizations, the "world orientation" consisted of an open, active involvement in economy, politics, media and civic associations. By cris-crossing the normative and strategic dimensions, four types of Catholic social imagination and intervention could be distinguished, namely ecclesism, Christian-inspired, social ministry and faith-based citizenship. To fulfill its social and political role, public religion had to mobilize institutional and spiritual resources in defending human dignity and the common good against the intrusion of market forces and state power into everyday life.