Christian democracy as political spirituality: transcendence as transformation—Italian politics, 1942–1953

Bjørn Thomassen, Rosario Forlenza

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This article deals with the transformation of Catholic politics in Italy between 1942 and 1945 and the emergence of Christian Democracy as the dominant political party in the postwar years. It analyzes how Catholic politicians turned from reactionary critics of democracy to its champion. The article foregrounds a dimension that has not been given sufficient attention in scholarly works on political Catholicism and Christian Democracy, namely the religious content of thought. In the experiences of politicians and thinkers living through Fascism and war, transcendence and spirituality emerged as new markers of certainty that came to re-direct and ground democracy. Our conceptual argument is that Christian Democracy can be understood as a distinct form of “political spirituality,” pace Foucault. The article further shows how this political spirituality became “applied” in a series of ways in the immediate postwar period.
TidsskriftPolitics and Religion Journal
Vol/bindFirst view
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 1 apr. 2024


  • Christian Democracy
  • democratic transition
  • political spirituality
  • religious politics
  • war experiences

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