21 februari: Ernst Hirsch Ballin on Christianity and the future of Christian Democracy

You are kindly invited to the 2013 Annual Lecture Christianity and Society.
The lecture will be given by Ernst Hirsch Ballin, who is professor of Dutch and European Constitutional Law at Tilburg University and professor of Human Rights at the University of Amsterdam, on the topic:

Christianity and the Future of Christian Democracy

The theme for the lecture will be taken from Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”.
The Churches cannot pretend to be the historical origin of the political movements that assumed the name of Christian Democracy. The emergence of democratic principles and freedom of religion in the Churches came simply too late to make us believe that democracy and human rights are congenital with Christian belief.

Christian Democracy is rather the product of the confrontation with an emerging ethical orientation in the Catholic and Protestant Churches since the late 19th century.
At the beginning of the 21st century, both the Churches and several Western-European Christian-Democratic parties have lost much of their former self-evident strengths and their authority. Neither the Churches, nor these political parties should claim any privileged access to know what is good, but there are significant and potentially productive meeting points between the social teaching of the Churches, and Christian-Democratic politics.


Ernst Hirsch Ballin is professor of Dutch and European Constitutional Law at Tilburg University, and professor of Human Rights at the University of Amsterdam. He is also a Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He received his doctorate with honors at the University of Amsterdam in 1979 and joined Tilburg University as professor of Constitutional Law in 1981. He has held several public offices, including Minister of Justice in several governments (1989-1994 and 2006-2010), and was a Member of Parliament for the Christian-Democratic Party CDA (1994-2000).

The Annual Lecture is organized by the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology in close cooperation with the Master’s program Christianity and Society.


14:00 - 14:30 hrs. Welcome with coffee and tea
14:30 - 14:40 hrs. Introduction by Staf Hellemans, professor of Sociology of Religion and lecturer in the Master Christianity and Society
14:40 - 15:30 hrs. Annual lecture by Ernst Hirsch Ballin
Christianity and the Future of Christian Democracy
15:30 - 16:30 hrs.Response to the lecture by three respondents:

  • Manuela Kalsky, professor of Theology and Society at VU University in Amsterdam (Edward Schillebeeckx Chair) and director of the Dominican Study Centre for Theology and Society (DSTS)
  • Jürgen Mettepenningen, Ph.D. in Theology, works at the study center of the Flemish Christian Democrats (CD&V) and is a guest lecturer at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the KU Leuven
  • Theo de Wit, extraordinary professor in Spiritual Care in Judicial Institutions and lecturer in the Master Christianity and Society, teaches Social Ethics and Political Philosophy.

16:30 - 17:15 hrs. Plenary discussion
The discussion will be chaired by Peter Jonkers, professor of Philosophy and dean (ad interim) of the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology
17:15 - 18:30 Reception


When & Where
Thursday 21 February 2013. Tilburg University, Dante-building Room DZ-02, Warandelaan 2, 5037 AB Tilburg.
Registration & information
The lecture is free of charge. If you wish to attend, please register by sending an email to bureaufkt@uvt.nl no later than the 7th of February 2013.
For enquiries please contact the secretary of the faculty, telephone 013 – 466 3800, email bureaufkt@uvt.nl

VKMO-Katholiek Netwerk | Van der Does de Willeboissingel 12 | 5211 CB | ’s-Hertogenbosch | 073 6134140 | E-mail