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Political Catholicism and the Secular State: a Spanish Predicament

AuthorsColom González, Francisco CSIC
KeywordsPolitical Catholicism
Issue Date15-Dec-2013
PublisherEuropean Science Foundation
CitationRecode Working Paper Series 20: 1-14 (2013)
AbstractThis paper explores the origins of the religious/secular cleavage in Spanish modern politics. Such cleavage emerged within a broader historical process, namely the response of the Catholic Church to political secularization. ‘Political Catholicism’ appeared in this context as a reaction against modernity and as an attempt to create a new social and political environment for the Catholic worldview. Here, this term does not merely refer to the involvement of Catholics in political activities, but to the political strategies that have consistently and steadily claimed a Catholic inspiration for their a ims and values. The paper concludes that the historical status of the Catholic Church in Spain reflects the changing cleavages of Spanish society and the corresponding weight of organized religion in it. Although Catholicism is still a prevailing cultural force in the country, it has lost much of its former clout as a political lever. Nonetheless, the organizational expertise of the Catholic Church and its mobilization vis a vis the state, combined with the inertia of its historical hegemony, have compensated for this loss of influence. This is a doubled-faced process though, since it also reveals the deep-rooted dependency of the Church on public resources and state cooperation.
DescriptionCon autorización de la revista para autores CSIC
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