Context and Conscience: The Catholic Church as an Agent of Political Socialization in Western Europe

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Recent developments in the sociology of religion have suggested that a new approach, or "paradigm.," is guiding research in the sociology of religion, and is gaining empirical support. This new approach has as its core proposition the notion that competition between religious denominations has a positive effect on religious involvement, and, conversely, that religious monopolies tend to inhibit personal religiosity. This study attempts to apply this general hypothesis to the nations of Western Europe, and to extend the range of dependent variables to which the pluralist program can be applied. We generally find strong support for the new research program, in that Catholics in primarily Protestant countries exhibit higher levels of religious observance than do Catholics in countries with Catholic majorities, as well as greater adherence to Catholic social teaching.


Political Science | Religion | Sociology