THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH: THE ALLIANCE OF THRONE AND ALTAR REVISITED?
Starting from the assumption that the resurgence of the political influence of religion also affects the European continent, the article explores the interactions between the Roman Catholic Church and the European Union, focussing mainly on their mutual ideational influences. The study is divided into three parts: In the first, it analyses a substantial corpus of EU documents, trying to identify explicit references to Christianity and the religious inspiration of the integration process in them. Following from this, the second section identifies the key loci where the religious language used by the Church can be translated into the secular language used by EU policy-makers. In particular, we focus on the institutions which were set up specifically to foster the dialogue between the Church and the EU or to present the Church´s views to EU officials. Finally, after an analysis of the EU´s discourse on religion and the Catholic bodies dealing with the EU, we assess the overlap of the fundamental value-orientations of the two institutions. The main question the study addresses here is whether the discursive and institutional interactions between the RCC and the EU are supported by a deeper agreement between the Church´s and the Union´s fundamental values concerning the preferred political order.
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