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Strengthening post-authoritarian democracy, 1986-2001: The political impulses and interventions of the Philippine Catholic Church. / Antonio F Moreno
Swansea University Author: Antonio F Moreno
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Theorising the relationship between the Church and democracy is at once an ancient and yet new proposition. Very recently, there has been a decline in interest in the post-authoritarian period owing to various changing endogenous and exogenous factors that have affected the Church's political e...
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Theorising the relationship between the Church and democracy is at once an ancient and yet new proposition. Very recently, there has been a decline in interest in the post-authoritarian period owing to various changing endogenous and exogenous factors that have affected the Church's political engagement in a democratic setting. While it has been suggested that the Church in many instances has politically demobilised in the post-authoritarian era, the Philippine experience continues to witness a church engaged in issues affecting democratisation. This study examines the capacity of the Church as an actor in strengthening democracy in the post-transition period using the Philippine Catholic Church experience and cases of the Diocese of Malaybalay and the Diocese of Bacolod. While both dioceses (local churches) are not typical representatives of the Philippine Catholic Church, they do provide some insights into the complexity of the Church as an actor in democratisation. Both were actively involved during the authoritarian period. But beyond that, both experienced similar and divergent political processes and yielded different outcomes. Three arguments are proposed to explain the Church's capacity and role in democracy building. Firstly, hierarchy-laity interaction (church ad intra) creates and enhances a climate of participation as both leaders and members interact, define and pursue organisational goals. Secondly, church-civil society nexus (church ad extra) sets new modes of positive interaction (animation, mobilisation and creative partnership) between church and civil society, widens the avenue of participation, and increases mobilisational resource in building democracy. Church ad intra and ad extra are closely connected, and they are crucial conditions for appreciating the Church's capacity as an actor in democracy. Thirdly, engaged citizenship appears to be the single most important contribution of the church in post-authoritarian democracy building. The creation of an environmental constituency (in the Diocese of Malaybalay), and the formation of a peace movement (in the Diocese of Bacolod) made possible a new understanding and practice of citizenship. Citizenship engages both the State and society through electoral politics, interest articulation and representation, commitment to the rule of law, human rights advocacy, cultivation of a democratic culture and the promotion of good governance. Lessons from these cases have repercussions not only for other churches but also for civil society actors who profess to be protagonists in the democratic enterprise.
Political science.;Religion.;Southeast Asian studies.
College of Human and Health Sciences