“Catholic Waves” of Democratization? Roman Catholicism and its Potential for Democratization
Democratization 16, no. 6 (December 2009), 1093-1114.
24 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 10, 2008
The aim and scope of the article is to examine if Catholicism is or can be a major force in democratization. And if so, what are its core values and motivations? To examine this issue, it is also necessary to evaluate democratization outcomes where the Church was not involved. We shall see that it is unavoidable to take into account fundamental Christian and thus also Catholic values and doctrines which are – despite all “earthly” constraints – in favour of both liberal and democratic values. In the case of the Catholic Church this is the case primarily because it perceives the social message of the gospels not merely as theory but also as a call to action, followed by many of its adherents. The article argues that the main reason for this was the result of the Church’s changing political theology, following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which enables the Church’s adoption of a pronounced focus on: human rights, religious freedom, democracy, and economic development.
Keywords: Catholic Church, democratization, encyclicals, religion, Second Vatican Council, social teaching
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