Catholic Modernity and the Italian Constitution

Bjørn Thomassen, Rosario Forlenza

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article analyzes the Catholic contribution to the Italian republican and democratic Constitution of 1948. The focus is on the specific way in which the Italian citizen became symbolically coded as a ‘person’ and not as an ‘individual’, inspired by Catholic social philosophy. The Catholic project for the new Constitution had a considerable impact on modern Italian culture and politics and on the building of a modern mass democracy and welfare state. During the crucial historical juncture that followed the collapse of Fascism, Catholic politicians and intellectuals sought to interpret and give direction to the very idea of political modernity, bridging a positive encounter between Catholicism, democracy, and freedom. The specific argument is embedded within a larger aim to recognize attempts within Catholic philosophy and political thought to articulate a trajectory that moved away from the Enlightenment model, trying instead to articulate a Catholic, post-liberal and ‘spiritual’ political modernity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistory Workshop Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)231-251
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2016

Cite this