The Intimate: Polity and the Catholic Church

Laws about Life, Death and the Family in So-called Catholic Countries

Edited by Karel Dobbelaere and Alfonso Pérez Agote

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The waning influence of the Catholic church in the ethical and political debate
For centuries the Catholic Church was able to impose her ethical rules in matters related to the intimate, that is, questions concerning life (from its beginning until its end) and the family, in the so-called Catholic countries in Western Europe. When the polity started to introduce legislation that was in opposition to the Catholic ethic, the ecclesiastical authorities and part of the population reacted. The media reported massive manifestations in France against same-sex marriages and in Spain against the de-penalization of abortion. In Italy the Episcopal conference entered the political field in opposition to the relaxation of several restrictive legal rules concerning medically assisted procreation and exhorted the voters to abstain from voting so that the referendum did not obtain the necessary quorum. In Portugal, to the contrary, the Church made a “pact” with the prime minister so that the law on same-sex marriages did not include the possibility of adoption. And in Belgium the Episcopal conference limited its actions to clearly expressing with religious, legal, and anthropological arguments its opposition to such laws, which all other Episcopal conferences did also.

In this book, the authors analyse the full spectrum of the issue, including the emergence of such laws; the political discussions; the standpoints defended in the media by professionals, ethicists, and politicians; the votes in the parliaments; the political interventions of the Episcopal conferences; and the attitude of professionals. As a result the reader understands what was at stake and the differences in actions of the various Episcopal conferences. The authors also analyse the pro and con evaluations among the civil population of such actions by the Church. Finally, in a comparative synthesis, they discuss the public positions taken by Pope Francis to evaluate if a change in Church policy might be possible in the near future.

Research by GERICR (Groupe européen de recherche interdisciplinaire sur le changement religieux), a European interdisciplinary research group studying religious changes coordinated by Alfonso Pérez-Agote.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Contributors: Céline Béraud (Université de Caen), Annalisa Frisina (Università degli Studi di Padova), Franco Garelli (Università degli Studi di Torino), Antonio Montañés (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Enzo Pace (Università degli Studi di Padova), Philippe Portier (École pratique des hautes études, Paris-Sorbonne), Jose Santiago (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Roberto Francesco Scalon (Università degli Studi di Torino), Liliane Voyé (Université Catholique de Louvain)

Karel Dobbelaere & Alfonso Pérez-Agote

Euthanasia and the Belgian Catholic World
Liliane Voyé & Karel Dobbelaere

“Mariage pour tous”
The Same-Sex Marriage Controversy in France
Céline Béraud & Philippe Portier

The Italian Catholic Church and the Artificial-Insemination Referendum
Annalisa Frisina, Franco Garelli, Enzo Pace & Roberto Scalon

Ethical Challenges of the Catholic Church in Portugal
The Case of Same-Sex Marriage
Helena Vilaça & Maria João Oliveira

The Catholic Church Faces Ethical Challenges in Spain
The Regulation of Abortion
Alfonso Pérez-Agote, Jose Santiago & Antonio Montañés

Comparative Synthesis
Karel Dobbelaere, Alfonso Pérez-Agote & Céline Béraud


Format: Edited volume - ebook - PDF

ISBN: 9789461662118

Publication: February 27, 2015

Series: KADOC-Studies on Religion, Culture and Society 15

Languages: English

Alfonso Pérez-Agote is Professor of Sociology at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid.
Karel Dobbelaere is Emeritus Professor of Sociology of the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven.

En resumen, dentro del panorama teórico actual, The Intimate ofrece una visión de conjunto àºnica sobre las estrategias de las diferentes jerarquías católicas europeas que ayudará a comprender cuáles han sido las dinámicas utilizadas para frenar el avance del proceso de secularización, y dentro de este, para comprender cuáles son las posiciones de privilegio a conservar en el escenario político y social de las que se han visto desplazados. Hay muy pocos (diría que ninguno) ensayos que aborden el tema tratado en este libro, y más aàºn, de una manera tan clara y exhaustiva. Referencia fundamental para aquellos interesados en las renovadas estrategias políticas de la Iglesia, así como para aquellos que se acerquen al fenómeno
por primera vez.

Joseba GARCàA MARTàN, Reis. Rev.Esp.Investig.Sociol. Nº 156, Octubre - Diciembre 2016, pp. 159-174


Cet ouvrage, analysant ainsi la complexité des situations nationales, nous met à même d'appréhender les raisons et les modalités de resurgissement ou de renforcement de l'Église catholique dans l'espace politique. Confrontée à la fois à une perte de pouvoir sur les conduites et à de nouveaux défis éthiques, elle revendique, avec des nuances nationales, une prétention à fournir des fondements éthiques au droit et à la politique. Ceci nous met plus généralement en demeure de nous interroger sur l'articulation, dans les démocraties contemporaines, entre droit et morale dans les domaines du droit touchant aux questions éthiques. La question, constitutive de la postmodernité, de la formation et de la légitimité de la norme commune, pour lesquelles John Rawls nous invite, en convoquant «le devoir de civilité», à mettre de cà´té certaines de nos croyances quand il s'agit d'établir des institutions et des règles politiques communes, rencontre ici un point d'achoppement particulièrement important.
Claude Proeschel, Social Sciences and Missions 29 (2016) 141-;206