Models of State-Religion Relations in Western Europe

Silvio Ferrari

in The Future of Religious Freedom

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199930890
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980581 | DOI:
Models of State-Religion Relations in Western Europe

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After a period of relative stability, the relations between States and religions in Europe have entered a phase of transition. The changes affecting national legislations are too many and too close in time to be explained as simple coincidences: one has the impression that the national legal systems have finally understood the need to adjust to the socio-religious transformations of Europe and to adapt their content to the changes that are taking place. This chapter starts from an analysis of the present situations, trying to identify the principles that are common to the different national legal systems (individual religious freedom; autonomy of religious communities in matters of doctrine and internal organization; selective cooperation between States and religions). Then it moves to a description of three different models of State-religion relations (France, Italy and England) and concludes with a short assessment of their capacity to provide a sound legal framework for these relations.

Keywords: religion and state; state-religion relations; European religious laws; religious freedom; religious autonomy; religious cooperation; secularism in Europe; civil religion; religious pluralism in Europe

Chapter.  6176 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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