in: Michael T. Gibbons (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Political Thought, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2014, 473-475.
Posted: 4 Nov 2014
Date Written: September 15, 2014
The origins of Christian democracy as an international political movement go back to the second half of the nineteenth century, when a number of (predominantly) Catholic confessional parties were founded in Europe. Generally speaking, these parties were opposed to liberal democracy as it had developed until then. Later on, in particular the tradition of modern Catholic social teaching, with the encyclicals Rerum Novarum (1891) and Quadragesimo Anno (1931) as milestones, has been an ideological influence. Yet, by organizing themselves into confessional parties, lay Catholics paradoxically also succeeded in achieving increasing independence vis-à-vis their church.
Keywords: Christian Democracy, liberal democracy, Catholic social teaching
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