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Religion and Secularism in the European Union

State of Affairs and Current Debates


Edited By Jan Nelis, Caroline Sägesser and Jean-Philippe Schreiber

The present volume monitors new developments concerning religious issues, faith-based organizations, State-Church relations and secularism in the EU, which especially during the past two decades have undergone profound changes, changes which continuously and increasingly alter mentalities and habits, whether belief-related or not. In this collective work, authors develop the major themes that are relevant to their country of expertise, while a final chapter is devoted to the role of the European Courts (ECHR and EU). The different chapters show that in recent years, religion, once thought to be of minor importance in a highly secular society, has made quite a vigorous political comeback. Thus Europe seems to have reached a crucial point in its history, a moment in which future tendencies in the field of religion and secularism are being defined, and negotiated. There is little doubt that the outcome of this process will influence the continent’s future outlook, as well as its role and relevance in an increasingly globalized world.

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Slovenia. The Catholic Church between Historical Heritage and Current Financial Problems (Egon Pelikan)


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The Catholic Church between Historical Heritage and Current Financial Problems


Institute for Historical Studies, Koper

The Slovenian national area is one of those areas in Central Europe that entrusted its “nation building” to elites of prevalently Catholic origin as it simply had no other elites. Even a century later these countries, as a rule, still carry the burden of the complex relation between the Church, society and politics, with the majority of their population declaring themselves Catholic.

At the end of the 19th century, the clash between Catholicism and modern European society gave birth to political Catholicism. In the Slovenian territory, it ended with the conservative triumphant rise to power in the aftermath of democratization and election reform in the Habsburg monarchy in 1907.1 In the interwar period, political Catholicism consolidated its rule in the Slovenian territory, which was now part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.2

Political Catholicism and the Church maintained their leading role in Slovenian social and political life throughout the first half of the 20th century. It was only WWII and the communist rise to power that ended their dominance over Slovenian society. In the Slovenian territory, ← 169 | 170 → WWII was characterized by the triangle “national liberation struggle/civil war/collaboration”. Since the Liberation Front was led by the Slovenian communists, the Church did not hesitate to support collaboration with the occupiers.3

Immediately after the war, the Church...

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