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Christianity and DemocratisationFrom Pious Subjects to Critical Participants$
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John Anderson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719077388

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719077388.001.0001

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The Catholic ‘third wave’: undermining authoritarianism

The Catholic ‘third wave’: undermining authoritarianism

(p.46) 3 The Catholic ‘third wave’: undermining authoritarianism
Christianity and Democratisation

John Anderson

Manchester University Press

This chapter presents a brief digression on the traditional pro-authoritarian tendencies of the Catholic Church, reporting a series of critiques of social, economic and political injustice that challenged authoritarianism. The practical measures aimed at supporting the development of ‘civil society’ are addressed. It is noted that while the voices for social justice and human rights were strong, both religious ‘radicals’ and ‘conservatives’ were sometimes quiet in their support for liberal democracy. The Catholic Church was the dominant voice in many countries, and others were active in defending human rights. The forefront in most ‘third wave’ countries was the Roman Catholic Church, which promoted a broader understanding of social justice and human rights. Religious institutions provide physical symbols and rituals that offer a focus for resistance to the oppressors but also allow religious consolation in the face of oppression and give some sense that the sacrifices are not in vain.

Keywords:   third-wave countries, Roman Catholic Church, authoritarianism, civil society, social justice, human rights, religious institutions

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