Global Catholicism and the Politics of Civil Society

Author: José Casanova

July 1, 1996

In "Global Catholicism and the Politics of Civil Society", José Casanova argues that the role of the Catholic Church in politics worldwide has changed dramatically. With the revision of the Church’s views on religious freedom and human rights at Vatican II and other recent discussions, the Church has adjusted its role inside nations. According to Casanova, by becoming a voluntary organization, rather than a mandated part of the state, the Church has become an agent of democratic change throughout the world. In addition, the Church’s new-found freedom has allowed it to enter the public sphere, arguing for human rights, the dignity of life, and for a more equal world. Casanova warns that the Church will still face challenges due to its specific beliefs that clash with modern secular societies. This article was published in volume 66 of Sociological Inquiry.

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