The article analyzes the role that religious voices play in the public reason of democratic societies according to the theories of Rawls and Habermas. The two philosophers seem to face a similar path: after promoting an idea of the public sphere understood in purely secular terms, both Rawls and Habermas place increasing value on the contribution of religious communities in the political life of liberal States. The paper examines the basic requirements that – in the views of the two philosophers – religious reasons on the public sphere must meet in order to play a significant role. The basic idea is that certain conditions can be identified, that make not only possible, but desirable and (perhaps) even necessary for religious communities to appeal to their deepest convictions in the public discourse. In the concluding remarks, some reflections are presented with reference to the contribution to the public discussion on migrants offered by Pope Francis.
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