495.1 How the Catholic church's involvement in politics has affected religiosity in Spain and Poland – Cohort and period perspective

Friday, August 3, 2012: 10:45 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Mikolaj STANEK , Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography, Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain
Miguel REQUENA , Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain
The aim of this study is to compare how the Catholic Church’s involvement in politics under authoritarian rule in Spain and Poland impacted post-transitional religiosity in those countries. The Catholic Church was a key political actor during the Franco regime and communist rule in Poland. However, the nature of its political involvement in each case was quite different: while in Spain it legitimised the authoritarian regime, in Poland Church membership represented a form of resistance to the Communist rule.

My analytical strategy is twofold. Firstly, I identify the differences in levels of religiosity among different cohorts socialised during the authoritarian regimes and the democratic periods. Secondly, I analyse how religiosity has varied in both societies over approximately twenty years after the end of the Franco regime and the fall of Communism in Poland. I analyse several surveys carried out by the Spanish Centre for Sociological Studies between 1975 and 1998. I use data from the Polish General Social Survey covering 1991-2008. The main statistical method is a logistic regression. I analyse the change in marginal effects on the probability of church attendance over time and over cohorts.

Results show that differences in the political positions of the Catholic Church had varying impacts on religious practice. Cohort analysis in Spain reveals that since the late 1950s each generation entering early adulthood has been significantly less religious than previous one. Period effect analysis shows that the religious change was especially intense during the political transition in the late 1970s. The analysis for Poland indicates a moderate shift toward secularization in the 1960s cohort. Nevertheless, this trend did not continue in the following two generations (1970s and 1980s) due to increasing social and political conflict. In addition, there is no general period effect in the first phase of the political transition.