Special Issue "Catholicism and European Politics"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 September 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Michael Daniel Driessen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science and International Affairs, John Cabot University, 00165 Rome, Italy
Interests: political Catholicism; political Islam; Catholic and Islamic political movements; interreligious dialogue; religion and state; democracy studies; Italian politics; European politics; conflict resolution and peace studies; Middle East and North Africa studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent research on political Catholicism in Europe has sought to theorize the ways in which Catholic politics, including Catholic political parties, political ideals, and political entrepreneurs, have survived in and navigated a post-secular political environment. Many of these studies have articulated the complex ways in which Catholicism has adjusted and transformed in late modernity, as both an institution and a living tradition, in ways which have opened up unexpected avenues for its continuing influence on political practices and ideas, rather than disappearing from the political landscape altogether, as much previous research on religion and modernization had expected. Among other things, this new line of research has re-evaluated the original and persistent influence of Catholicism on the European Union, contemporary European politics, and European Human Rights discourses. At the same time, new political and religious dynamics have emerged over the last five years in Europe that have further challenged this developing understanding of contemporary Catholicism’s relationship to politics in Europe, through, for example, the papal election of Pope Francis, the immigration “crisis”, and, especially, the rise of populism and new European nationalists, like Victor Orban, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and Matteo Salvini, who have publicly claimed the mantle of Christian Democracy and Catholic nationalism while simultaneously refashioning those cloaks for new ends. These trends raise difficult new research questions about the relationship of Catholicism, in its broad sense, to the very idea of Europe and its future institutional and spiritual form. Finally, all of these dynamics are intertwined with the continuing transformation of European religiosity, in an often contradictory fashion, and the long-term shift in religious influence from Europe to the global south.

This present volume seeks to take stock of these trends and to theorize the contemporary dynamics of Catholicism and European Politics from a multidisciplinary perspective. The volume therefore invites contributions from the fields of political science, sociology, anthropology, theology, religious studies, and history. It welcomes proposals from both comparative and national perspectives which articulate and problematize the emerging dimensions of political Catholicism in its current post-secular and populist European landscape. As such, the volume encourages the submission of a broad range of article proposals, from multiple perspectives, which address the relationship of Catholicism to contemporary European political dynamics. These may include the following themes: new forms of European nationalism; national and European responses to the immigration crisis; the changing religiosity of European youth; the emergence of new ecological movements and ideas; the shifting role of Catholic movements on contemporary political parties; Catholicism and trans-Atlantic relations; Catholicism and the European Union; Catholic contributions to European debates on religious freedom; interreligious dialogue and human rights discourses; new Catholic perspectives on feminism and gender studies; and European discourses on secularism and post-modernity.

Prof. Michael Daniel Driessen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Political Catholicism
  • European Studies
  • Post-Secularism
  • Catholic Political Theology
  • Religion and Democracy
  • Catholic Political Parties
  • New Religious Movements
  • Catholic Modernity

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Catholicism and European Politics: Introducing Contemporary Dynamics
Religions 2021, 12(4), 271; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12040271 - 13 Apr 2021
Viewed by 598
Abstract
Recent research on political Catholicism in Europe has sought to theorize the ways in which Catholic politics, including Catholic political parties, political ideals, and political entrepreneurs, have survived and navigated in a post-secular political environment [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholicism and European Politics)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
Polish Catholic Bishops, Nationalism and Liberal Democracy
Religions 2021, 12(2), 94; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12020094 - 30 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1081
Abstract
The alliance of the Polish Catholic Church with the Law and Justice (PiS) government has been widely reported and resulted in significant benefits for the Church. However, beginning in mid-2016, the top church leadership, including the Episcopal Conference, has distanced itself from the [...] Read more.
The alliance of the Polish Catholic Church with the Law and Justice (PiS) government has been widely reported and resulted in significant benefits for the Church. However, beginning in mid-2016, the top church leadership, including the Episcopal Conference, has distanced itself from the government and condemned its use of National Catholicism as legitimation rhetoric for the government’s malpractices in the fields of human rights and democracy. How to account for this behavior? The article proposes two explanations. The first is that the alliance of the PiS with the nationalist wing of the Church, while legitimating its illiberal refugee policy and attacks on democratic institutions of the government, further radicalized the National Catholic faction of the Polish Church and motivated a reaction of the liberal and mainstream conservative prelates. The leaders of the Episcopate, facing an empowered and radical National Catholic faction, pushed back with a doctrinal clarification of Catholic orthodoxy. The second explanatory path considers the transnational influence of Catholicism, in particular of Pope Francis’ intervention in favor of refugee rights as prompting the mainstream bishops to reestablish the Catholic orthodoxy. The article starts by tracing the opposition of the Bishops Conference and liberal prelates to the government’s refugee and autocratizing policies. Second, it describes the dynamics of the Church’s internal polarization during the PiS government. Third, it traces and contextualizes the intervention of Pope Francis during the asylum political crisis (2015–2016). Fourth, it portrays their respective impact: while the Pope’s intervention triggered the bishops’ response, the deepening rifts between liberal and nationalist factions of Polish Catholicism are the ground cause for the reaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholicism and European Politics)
Article
1967/1969: The End, or (Just) a Pause of the Catholic Liberal Dream?
Religions 2020, 11(11), 623; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11110623 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 569
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to explore the strong connections between the topics of this special volume of Religions: the current crisis of political Catholicism and religious Catholicism; the new questions posed about the relationship between Catholicism and advanced modernization; the [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to explore the strong connections between the topics of this special volume of Religions: the current crisis of political Catholicism and religious Catholicism; the new questions posed about the relationship between Catholicism and advanced modernization; the relationship between Catholicism and European institutions; and the importance of the North Atlantic relationships within Catholicism. The paper sheds light on these questions through an analysis of a particular but indicative case study, namely, the “Catholic 68” in Italy. Deconstructing the predominant narrative about the relationship between Vatican II and the events of 1968 (or, better, those of the 2-year period 1967–1969) helps to clarify the connections between the topics of this volume in important ways. In fact, the predominant narrative about the “Catholic 68” still pays undue tribute to both an oversimplified reconstruction of the “parties” who fought one another during the Second Vatican Council and an oversimplified reading of the late 1960s. In this perspective, the Italian case is particularly relevant and yields important sociological insight. The starting point of the paper is the abundant literature on the “long 60s”. This scholarship has clarified the presence of an important religious dimension to the social and cultural processes of this period as well as a (generally accepted) link between the Council-issued renewal and “1968”. At the same time that literature has also clarified that the “long 60s” paved the way for a deep social transition which has also marked the first two decades of the 21st century. The nature of this religious renewal and social change has often been described as the triumph of liberal parties over conservative parties. This paper instead proposes a “three parties scheme” (conservative, progressive and liberal) to better understand the confrontation that occurred at the Council and that at the end of the same decade and its consequences for Catholicism and European politics today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholicism and European Politics)
Article
Catholic Cosmopolitanism and the Future of Human Rights
Religions 2020, 11(11), 566; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11110566 - 30 Oct 2020
Viewed by 716
Abstract
Political Catholicism began in the 20th century by presenting a conception of confessional politics to a secularizing Europe. However, this article reveals the reworking of political Catholicism’s historical commitment to a balance of two powers—an ancient Imperium and Sacerdotium—to justify change to [...] Read more.
Political Catholicism began in the 20th century by presenting a conception of confessional politics to a secularizing Europe. However, this article reveals the reworking of political Catholicism’s historical commitment to a balance of two powers—an ancient Imperium and Sacerdotium—to justify change to this position. A secular democratic faith became a key insight in political Catholicism in the 20th century, as it wedded human rights to an evolving cosmopolitan Catholicism and underlined the growth of Christian democracy. This article argues that the thesis of Christian democracy held a central post-war motif that there existed a prisca theologia or a philosophia perennis, semblances of a natural law, in secular modernity that could reshape the social compact of the modern project of democracy. However, as the Cold War ended, human rights became more secularized in keeping with trends across Europe. The relationship between political Catholicism and human rights reached a turning point, and this article asks if a cosmopolitan political Catholicism still interprets human rights as central to its embrace of the modern world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholicism and European Politics)
Article
Geopolitics of Papal Traveling: (Re)Constructing a Catholic Landscape in Europe
Religions 2020, 11(10), 525; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11100525 - 13 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 825
Abstract
For the popes, traveling has developed into a key instrument for mobilizing masses, spreading messages, and shaping public Catholic identities. Traveling ranks high within the papal efforts to (re)construct a Catholic landscape in Europe. Thus, comparing the European travel schedules of Pope Benedict [...] Read more.
For the popes, traveling has developed into a key instrument for mobilizing masses, spreading messages, and shaping public Catholic identities. Traveling ranks high within the papal efforts to (re)construct a Catholic landscape in Europe. Thus, comparing the European travel schedules of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis in the context of their global journeys can help to understand their different conceptualizations of Europe. While both popes share the focus on Marian shrines, mass events, Parliamentary addresses, and interfaith encounters that has been established by their predecessors, their geopolitical strategies differ completely. Benedict XVI placed visits to major European nations and regions at the center of his travel schedule and tried to strengthen a historical Catholic identity. Francis shifted the focus of papal traveling to other continents and approached Europe from the periphery. He has visited the European institutions in Strasbourg and tried to shape an interreligious public identity of Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholicism and European Politics)
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Article
Women and Gender in Contemporary European Catholic Discourse: Voices of Faith
Religions 2020, 11(10), 508; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11100508 - 07 Oct 2020
Viewed by 727
Abstract
Catholic women’s movements, networks and initiatives have a long history of advocating for an equal role in the Church—especially in the North American world. In recent years, their presence and visibility has been increasing in Europe too, also in relation to a series [...] Read more.
Catholic women’s movements, networks and initiatives have a long history of advocating for an equal role in the Church—especially in the North American world. In recent years, their presence and visibility has been increasing in Europe too, also in relation to a series of initiatives and events, such as the Mary 2.0 campaign in Germany, which led to the launch of the Catholic Women’s Council (CWC) in 2019. This article focuses on the emerging discourse on women and gender promoted by the developing network of initiatives related to the role of women in the Catholic Church in different European countries. After reconstructing the map and history of this network, the contribution explores its emerging discourse, drawing on a triangulation of data: key-witnesses’ interviews; the magazine Voices; social network pages and profiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholicism and European Politics)
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