Dynamic civil religion and religious nationalism : the Roman Catholic Church in Poland and the Orthodox Church in Romania, 1990-2010.




Tarţa, Mihai Iustin.

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This dissertation addresses the association of national identity and religious tradition of the Polish Roman Catholic Church (PRCC) in Poland and the Romanian Orthodox Church (ROC) in Romania, and analyses the evolution and the contemporary significance of sacralized politics. This study relies on a historical comparative study of two most similar cases and it tracks the evolution and analyses the discourse of the PRCC and ROC, the state’s discourse, and the presence of religious symbols in state institutions. Using an interdisciplinary comparative method, this study is about the civil religious attitude of the two ecclesiastical institutions in relation to the nation-state and national identity in the post-communist period (1990-2012). It looks specifically at the relevance of religion in connection to nationalism, the official and unofficial discourse of the two ecclesiastical institutions, at politician’s discourse, and lay intellectuals’ discourse. The sacralization of politics concept best explains the gap between the high religiosity professed by Poles and Romanians and the low participation in religious life and pertains to the salience of civil religion in the detriment of "traditional" religion. Therefore, this dissertation asks what is the relation between religion and politics concerning the fusion of sacred ecclesiastical identity and national identity in Poland and Romania. The molding of religion and politics in the sociopolitical and historical context of the nation-state describes a dynamic phenomenon where the nation becomes sacred and the sacred becomes nationalized. It demonstrates that the molding of nationalism and religion materialized in civil religion, political religion and religious nationalism and it indicates a historical debate regarding the proper place of religion in public. In both countries, there was competition and shifts between banal civil religion and more assertive forms like political religion and religious nationalism. Poland and Romania first expressed their national identity by using a civil religious discourse with religious nationalist accents, than this discourse partially shifted towards political religion under the authoritarian Communist regimes and it reemerged as a banal civil religion after 1989.



Civil religion., Religious nationalism.