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I have also recently finished working on two separate book chapters with my Lancaster colleague, Mark Garnett - one analysing the way left of centre parties use political communication which was published in an edited volume in by Palgrave Macmillan - and another on Christian Democracy, published by Bloomsbury in During my postdoctoral studies, I spent a semester at McGill University in Canada as a visiting scholar. In , I won the Political Studies Association prize for the best article published in the journal, Politics. Comparative European politics; Political parties and elections; Public policy and political economy.

Palgrave Macmillan p.


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Chapter peer-reviewed. Journal article. London : Routledge Chapter peer-reviewed. Mixed messages for some parties - the Scottish council elections of Steven, M. Commissioned report. His message, to be developed in a much-anticipated environmental encyclical in the summer of , is that environmental degradation and climate change fall most heavily on the poor, who lack resources to adapt. Thus development strategies must simultaneously provide uplift for the poor and care for creation.

In This Article

Another notable foray of the Church into global politics concerns war and peace-making. Increasingly the Pope questioned whether modern warfare could meet the criteria of just war, and erected a high moral threshold for the use of force.


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Both in private conversations and public pronouncements the Pope inveighed against the war, and his nuncio to the US joined the American bishops in challenging its justification. Beyond the Vatican, Catholic NGOs and their peace networks play an active role in conflict mediation. A systematic global study found this group involved in a disproportionate number of successful mediating efforts, in such diverse nations as Mozambique, Algeria, Uganda, Kosovo, Guatemala, and Liberia. Catholic development organisations are also sometimes drawn into peace-making initiatives.

In strife in the Central African Republic CAR spawned violence by Christian militias against Muslims, resulting in the destruction of numerous mosques and a massive exodus of Muslim refugees. In response, Catholic Relief Services collaborated with Muslim groups in mediating initiatives to quell the violence and promote reconciliation. Because the Vatican and Catholic NGOs have observer status at the United Nations and other international forums, the Church remains an active presence in these debates.

At population summits, for example, the Church has clashed with Western nations and feminist organisations over their advocacy of abortion access. Church officials fear that the approach of liberal NGOs undermines traditional morality and promotes sexual permissiveness that leads to the abuse of girls and women.

From Astrology to Cult Politics—the Many Ways We Try (and Fail) to Replace Religion - Quillette

While these positions put the Church squarely in opposition to liberalising social trends, it has joined progressive allies in calling for more spending on AIDS medical treatment, promoting access for girls and women to education, and expanding economic opportunity for the poor, which it sees as the most efficacious means of stabilising populations.

Moreover, Pope Francis introduced a dramatic new tone to these debates.

Thinking in Public: Christianity and Politics in an Age of Upheaval

We now turn to the diverse examples of political engagement by the Church in different regions of the world. Europe was once the Catholic heartland and the Church played a large role in statecraft. But it is useful to highlight the contributions of Catholicism to the political scene of Europe. One of several signal contributions involved the formation of the Christian Democratic parties that played a crucial, if unheralded, role in building stable democracies in Western Europe after World War II.

A leading figure was Jacques Maritain — , who helped lay the intellectual foundations for the Christian Democratic movement. Guided by this vision, Christian Democratic parties enacted family- and Church-friendly social welfare policies. A genuine international movement, Christian Democratic parties went on to help consolidate democracy in several Latin American nations.

Religion and populism

In Eastern Europe the story of how the Church helped undermine communism is well known. This shielded religious and secular dissidents alike, who developed trust and solidarity through religious rituals that took on political significance. With the collapse of communism the Vatican focus shifted to battling secularising trends. When John Paul II returned to democratic Poland, for example, he chided the people for rising consumerism and materialism.

This took tangible form in deliberations over the constitution of the European Union, in which the Vatican backed language that would explicitly acknowledge the Christian heritage of Europe, but only gained watered down reference to cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe. Throughout Europe the Vatican also fought largely unsuccessful battles against socially liberal policies, such as legal abortion, same-sex marriage or civil unions, stem cell research, and euthanasia.

While Pope Francis has not departed fundamentally from his predecessors on these questions, his reorienting emphasis on the crisis of the marginalised has fostered new goodwill for the Church on the continent.

Table of contents

His dramatic gestures such as washing the feet of prisoners evoke an approach to evangelisation rooted in an ideal of sacrificial service rather than doctrine. Whether his enormous popularity will translate into renewal remains to be seen. But it unites with liberals in backing humanitarian foreign aid, health care for the poor, social welfare spending, increases in the minimum wage, humane treatment of immigrants, and opposition to the death penalty.

Because of this unique ideological blend Catholics have become the quintessential swing voters in American politics, a strategic voting block assiduously courted by both political parties. One-fourth of the US electorate, Catholics comprise the median voting group whose movement often provides the decisive margin of victory in national elections, with Hispanic Catholic voters more Democratic and white Catholics more Republican. This institutional presence provides Catholic lobbies with expertise and heft on a host of issues. In a sense Catholic Americans came of age with the election of John Kennedy in , which along with the prominent participation by priests and women religious in the landmark civil rights struggle gave the community a certain cachet in American society.

Wade decision legalising abortion in turn spurred an extensive pro-life network in the Church, which continues to provide the most vigorous institutional support for limits on abortion and its funding by government. The recent ascendance of assertive social liberalism in America, however, has increasingly pushed the bishops into the traditionalist camp in defence of Church autonomy and conscience rights.

As states and the courts rapidly redefined marriage to include same-sex unions, the Church joined with conservative evangelical groups and others in affirming the legal status of traditional marriage. This has produced a prodigious litigation battle between the Obama Administration and an array of Catholic charities, religious orders, and colleges seeking conscience exemption from the mandate.

If they lose they face millions of dollars in fines or, ironically, the prospect of dropping health coverage. Throughout the modern era Catholic leaders could count on political leaders of both parties to defend the autonomy of Church institutions. That has changed. As gay marriage has become law by statute or court decree, non-discrimination statutes have been applied to Church institutions, forcing them to choose between defying the law or violating their teaching on marriage.

For example, long-standing Catholic adoption programs in Massachusetts, Washington, DC, and Illinois shut down because authorities insisted that they place children with same-sex couples.

The Catholic Church and Catholicism in global politics

In the face of these converging challenges, the bishops launched a national educational campaign to defend religious freedom and conscience rights. Peter, producing ecstatic responses of cultural pride. As the first Pope from Latin America, Francis brings a distinct focus on poverty, mercy, and a new evangelisation in the face of competition.

smarthydro.com/cellphone-sms-location-ios.php This makes the transformation of the Church following Vatican II especially noteworthy. In a number of instances bishops, priests, and women religious opposed dictatorships and shielded dissidents. Papal nuncios in turn provided international legitimacy of such efforts, helping to lead a wave of democratisation in the last few decades.

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An excellent example is Brazil, by population the largest Catholic country in the world. For centuries the Church tied itself to wealthy landowners and authoritarian rulers who granted it vast privileges. But by the s a progressive episcopate embraced the aspirations of the poor and offered the most prominent challenge to despotic military rule.

By providing space for civil society and undermining the legitimacy of the regime the Church helped midwife democratisation. To be sure, democratisation in Latin America was uneven, and Church support for authoritarianism endured until recently in a few countries, such as Argentina, Honduras, and Uruguay. One possible explanation for this variability is that the Church changed the least where it faced little competition, either from Protestant growth or secular movements.

Vatican II highlighted the enormous inequalities in the global economy and questioned the justice of destitution amidst unprecedented wealth. This idea was, of course, bolstered by liberation theology, which applied the analysis of class conflict to press for radical changes in societal structures that would end exploitation of the destitute. Of course, the Marxist dimension of liberation theology troubled the Catholic hierarchy. Pope Francis appears to draw from this wellspring in his critique of the global economy, of the inequality that represents a denial of the dignity of all persons.

But while the Pope may be popular in Latin America, the Church has lost many of its flock to Pentecostalism or secularism. As an independent sector of civil society the Church has promoted democratisation in a number of countries. The Church likewise led popular opposition movements against authoritarianism in Kenya, Zambia, and Ghana. The Church often provides vital educational and health services where governments are either ineffective or corrupt. In Angola the Church transformed itself from a virtual appendage of Portuguese colonisers into a truly independent force.

The Church remains the only moral force. The war resulted in two million deaths and displaced another five million. Indigenous Catholic leaders, such Bishop Macram Gassis, along with global Church leaders and activist lay Catholics in the United States, played an important role in the coalition that induced the US government to pressure Khartoum to sign a peace treaty with the southern rebel movement, 80 which ultimately led to the creation of the new nation of South Sudan International Catholic development agencies, such as Caritas and Catholic Relief Services, invested heavily in the fragile new country.

But the country — afflicted by decades of devastation, bereft of infrastructure, beset by tribal and ethnic divisions, and sapped by poor governing capacity — was too fragile to hold. A power struggle in the capital city of Juba in December erupted into widespread tribal violence and armed insurrection, sparking massive displacement, disease, and famine, and undermining Catholic development initiatives. Sudanese Catholic bishops joined other religious leaders in pressing the combatants to sign a peace deal in August of , but they face a daunting task of rebuilding the shattered land.

Uganda, which is over 40 per cent Catholic, 81 suffered through a different crucible. This account underscores both the indigenous resources of the Church and the benefits of transnational networks.


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  5. Rwanda, the majority of whose population is Roman Catholic, represents an example of abject failure to overcome tribal conflicts. The roots of this failure lie in the fact that the Church colluded with Belgian colonisers, who employed a deliberate policy of playing the Tutsis and Hutus against each other. Not only did the Church not systematically protest the genocide, but some Catholic priests actually participated in the atrocities, their sanctuaries becoming killing fields.