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The Spanish Catholic Church, the public sphere, and the economic recession: rival legitimacies?

Abstract : Spanish society was severely affected by the post-2008 economic recession. The country’s political institutions were faced with a major crisis of legitimacy that gave birth to new social and political movements. In this context, the response of the Roman Catholic Church to the recession was threefold. Firstly, the recession had an impact on the Church itself, as it reactivated the recurring public debate on Church–State relations and the institutional benefits enjoyed by the Church. Secondly, the recession also provided a limited opportunity for the Church. On a normative level, the Catholic hierarchy used the recession to give voice to its discourse on the moralization of the economy and politics, relating it to recurrent campaigns by the Church on family policies and the territorial unity of Spain. In addition, the social sector of the Church responded to the recession through a program of social work intended to offset the failures of both the market and the public authorities. Thirdly, the social work undertaken by specific sectors of the Church unexpectedly led to forms of political advocacy, independently or alongside anti-austerity or pro-migrant social movements. All these effects sharpened previously existing dividing lines within the Catholic landscape.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02125746
Contributor : Karine Jenart <>
Submitted on : Friday, May 10, 2019 - 4:05:26 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 3:00:07 PM

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Xabier Itçaina. The Spanish Catholic Church, the public sphere, and the economic recession: rival legitimacies?. Journal of Contemporary Religion, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2019, 34 (1), pp.153-172. ⟨10.1080/13537903.2019.1585127⟩. ⟨halshs-02125746⟩

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