Religion and Church in Times of Social Change

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:10 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Miroslawa GRABOWSKA , Philosophy and Sociology, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Tadeusz SZAWIEL , University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
In post-communist countries, during the last quarter century two processes have overlapped: the shaping – after communism – of church-state relations and the global trend to strengthen the presence of religion in the public sphere. This is why they are important and difficult to study.
  1. The communist system – for ideological and political reasons – repressed churches and believers, who remained in open or covert opposition to the system.
  2. However, the countries on which a relatively uniform communist system was imposed differed in many aspects. There were different religions, denominational compositions, relationships between religious and national identities, and the power of the churches (including an assessment of their policies during WW II). That’s why communist authorities had to take into account the “local conditions”: the policy towards the church(es) and the faithful had to be different in the relatively secularized Czech part of Czechoslovakia, the religiously divided Hungary and the uniform, religious, Poland.
  3. With the collapse of the communist system the situation changed. Churches and believers regained autonomy, able and willing to stand up for their rights, and the democratic government accepted them or even sought their support.
  4. So, institutional and legal measures in selected Central and Eastern European countries will be analyzed.
  5. These problems should be analyzed in the triangle: state – church – society. For this reason the position of the Church in society will be included in the analysis, as will society’s attitudes – its religiosity, opinions about state-church relations and the sensitive issues in these relations.
  6. The analysis will concentrate on Central and Eastern European countries, with comparisons to selected western countries. The main data sources are the WVS and EVS data sets. (These data sets contain many indicators of religiosity, but attitudes on state-church relations and sensitive issues are not represented equally well).