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date: 15 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Christian Democracy is an evolving concept. This chapter discusses the long journey of the term in political debate. Considered at the beginning unacceptable by the Popes, as an offspring of the ‘liberty of critics’ toward authority, it was later accepted step by step as a mean of inserting Christians (mainly Catholics) into the frame of modern constitutionalism. After a period in which the contrast with the liberal view was still retained, catholic political thought turned to a positive approach towards Western constitutionalism. After 1945 political parties labelled as ‘Christian Democratic’ were protagonists of the rebuilding of some European countries and the Popes recognized that presence as positive and coherent with its orthodoxy. In a sense Christian Democracy became the new way of dealing with the problem of church and state relations. Matters were more complicated from the viewpoint of the Reformed Churches. In the more recent cases one may also find a ‘social doctrine’ even if it is quite different from the official Catholic attitude of the Vatican authorities towards social problems.

Keywords: Christian Democracy, Christianity, constitutionalism, churches’ social doctrine, religion, politics, church and state

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