There is a peculiar relationship between religion and the political system in twenty-first-century Italy. In particular, the collapse of the Democrazia Cristiana party has favored the rise of new political entrepreneurs eager to exploit religion as a legitimacy factor, while the Catholic Church has attempted to influence politics without the mediation of any specific political party. New debates involving religious values have therefore developed. This article analyzes the positions taken and the frames proposed by Italy’s Catholic political actors in relation to two particularly telling issues, that of same-sex marriage and that of the Muslim dress codes. Its most striking finding is the presence in the Italian political system of two distinct forms of Catholicism in politics. One, promoted by the Catholic Church and followed by most centrist Catholics, is quite tolerant in terms of social and religious pluralism and supportive of human rights and social justice, but it emphasizes the ‘traditional’ heterosexual family as the cornerstone of society. The other, ‘civilizational’ form, promoted by the Lega Nord and some other center-right representatives and intellectuals, is based on an idea of Italian citizenship articulated in religious, cultural, and ethnic terms, and thus excluding those who are not members of this community. Here Christian identity is not defined by the Church’s teachings, but rather represents a marker of Western civilization in opposition to Muslim civilization.

Two forms of Catholicism in twenty-first-century Italian public debate: an analysis of positions on same-sex marriage and Muslim dress codes

OZZANO, LUCA
2016

Abstract

There is a peculiar relationship between religion and the political system in twenty-first-century Italy. In particular, the collapse of the Democrazia Cristiana party has favored the rise of new political entrepreneurs eager to exploit religion as a legitimacy factor, while the Catholic Church has attempted to influence politics without the mediation of any specific political party. New debates involving religious values have therefore developed. This article analyzes the positions taken and the frames proposed by Italy’s Catholic political actors in relation to two particularly telling issues, that of same-sex marriage and that of the Muslim dress codes. Its most striking finding is the presence in the Italian political system of two distinct forms of Catholicism in politics. One, promoted by the Catholic Church and followed by most centrist Catholics, is quite tolerant in terms of social and religious pluralism and supportive of human rights and social justice, but it emphasizes the ‘traditional’ heterosexual family as the cornerstone of society. The other, ‘civilizational’ form, promoted by the Lega Nord and some other center-right representatives and intellectuals, is based on an idea of Italian citizenship articulated in religious, cultural, and ethnic terms, and thus excluding those who are not members of this community. Here Christian identity is not defined by the Church’s teachings, but rather represents a marker of Western civilization in opposition to Muslim civilization.
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http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rmis20
headscarf; Italy; Lega Nord; LGBT rights; political Catholicism; History; Cultural Studies; Sociology and Political Science; Political Science and International Relations
Ozzano, Luca
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1584245
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