The ideational clinch of the Roman Catholic Church and the EU
The Europeanization of the Catholic clergy’s discourse?
The article explores the so far largely ignored question of the political relations between the European Union and the Roman Catholic Church. It analyzes the deeper mutual ideational influences of the two entities, asking whether there has been a convergence of views about several basic political notions between the Church and the EU. The analysis centres on the Church’s approach to four fundamental notions related to the EU – (1) secularism, (2) the individual(ism), (3) free market, and (4) the state, stressing in particular the discursive strategies the Church employs to defend its own position. The conclusion focuses on the relation between the RCC’s “theopolitical” imagination and the EU’s political form and argues that the surprisingly strong support of the Church for the integration process is not only a result of the aggiornamento, but a peculiar example of the Church’s ongoing Europeanization. Methodologically, the paper builds on a discourse analysis of almost 160 documents released by the three key Church bodies which often comment on the EU: the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, and the Curia.
Keywords: European integration, Roman Catholic Church, Europeanization, political theology, discourse analysis
Published online: 15 May 2014
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