The Catholic ‘third wave’: undermining authoritarianism

John Anderson

in Christianity and Democratisation

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780719077388
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702000 | DOI:
The Catholic ‘third wave’: undermining authoritarianism

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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

Chapter.  14767 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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