Religion and Politics in Post-Communist Romania by Lavinia Stan

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By Lavinia Stan

Within the post-communist period it has develop into obvious that the rising democracies in japanese Europe could be decided through many components, just some of them political. through the quarter, the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Greek Catholic church buildings have attempted to impose their perspectives on democracy via direct political engagement. additionally, surveys exhibit that the church buildings (and the military) get pleasure from extra well known self assurance than elected political our bodies similar to parliaments. those effects replicate frequent disenchantment with a democratization technique that has allowed politicians to strengthen their very own agendas instead of paintings to resolve the pressing socio-economic difficulties those nations face. during this penetrating learn, Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu examine the interplay of faith and politics in a single such kingdom, Romania. dealing with inner demanding situations and exterior competitions from different religions previous and new, the Orthodox Church in Romania has sought to consolidate its place and make sure Romania's model of democracy acknowledges its privileged place of ''national Church'', implementing the Church's stances on concerns equivalent to homosexuality and abortion. The post-communist kingdom and political elite in flip depend upon the Church for compliance with academic and cultural guidelines and to quell the insistent calls for of the Hungarian minority for autonomy. Stan and Turcescu learn the advanced courting among church and country during this new Romania, delivering research in key components: church collaboration with communist gurus, post-communist electoral politics, nationalism and ethno-politics, restitution of Greek Catholic estate, spiritual schooling, and sexual habit and replica. because the first students to accept entry to exclusive fabrics from the data of the communist political police, the infamous Securitate, Stan and Turcescu additionally study church data, laws, information experiences, and interviews with politicians and church leaders. This research will circulate the controversy from universal analyses of nationalism in isolation to extra accomplished investigations which contemplate the influence of spiritual actors on a large number of alternative matters appropriate to the political and social lifetime of the rustic.

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5 While this privileged position fell short of full autonomy from the secular power, it granted important privileges to the dominant national church, including government subsidies for clergy salaries and pensions. After 1989, the Orthodox Church insistently called for a return to interwar arrangements that awarded it so many privileges. Romania’s option for the established church model was never seriously questioned, though it was neither the only choice nor a particularly fitting reality. Whereas the Romanian Kingdom was relatively homogeneous religiously and ethnically, Greater Romania included several provinces once part of different empires (the Ottoman, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian Empires) and a mixed religious and ethnic population (Orthodox and Greek Catholic Roma- competing models of church-state relations 21 nians, Roman Catholic and Protestant Magyars and Germans, Muslim Turks and Jews).

Cuza’s choice of a religion and politics pattern that allowed the state to strictly control religious affairs was determined by his desire to champion the local Orthodox Church’s independence from the Patriarchate of Constantinople in order to subordinate it to his own ambitious projects. The political leader thus hoped to take advantage of the church’s traditional policy of accommodation with the rulers of the day and silent submis- competing models of church-state relations 19 sion to them, co-opt the dominant church into the larger project of nation and state-building, and end the massive loss of revenue to the Greek Mount Athos monasteries and the Patriarchate of Constantinople (located in the infamously corrupt Phanar district of Istanbul).

Only the renewed calls of the European political leaders convinced Romanian politicians to ignore church opposition and operate the required legislative changes. Chapter 9 concludes the volume with a discussion of Romania’s accomplishments in adopting an understanding of religion and politics that is tolerant, inclusive, and respectful of religious diversity, together with the steps needed to further consolidate its democratic system. Our examination of the Romanian case suggests that strict separation of church and state is neither the only way to attain democracy nor particularly fitting that country.

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