Religion and Politics in Post-Communist Romania

Hardcover | November 21, 2007

byLavinia Stan, Lucian Turcescu

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In the post-communist era it has become evident that the emerging democracies in Eastern Europe will be determined by many factors, only some of them political. Throughout the region, the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Greek Catholic churches have tried to impose their views on democracythrough direct political engagement. Moreover, surveys show that the churches (and the army) enjoy more popular confidence than elected political bodies such as parliaments. These results reflect widespread disenchantment with a democratization process that has allowed politicians to advance theirown agendas rather than work to solve the urgent socio-economic problems these countries face. In this penetrating study, Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu investigate the interaction of religion and politics in one such country, Romania. Facing internal challenges and external competitions fromother religions old and new, the Orthodox Church in Romania has sought to consolidate its position and ensure Romania's version of democracy recognizes its privileged position of "national Church", enforcing the Church's stances on issues such as homosexuality and abortion. The post-communist stateand political elite in turn rely on the Church for compliance with educational and cultural policies and to quell the insistent demands of the Hungarian minority for autonomy. Stan and Turcescu examine the complex relationship between church and state in this new Romania, providing analysis in key areas: church collaboration with communist authorities, post-communist electoral politics, nationalism and ethno-politics, restitution of Greek Catholic property, religiouseducation, and sexual behavior and reproduction. As the first scholars to be given access to confidential materials from the archives of the communist political police, the notorious Securitate, Stan and Turcescu also examine church archives, legislation, news reports, and interviews withpoliticians and church leaders. This study will move the debate from common analyses of nationalism in isolation to more comprehensive investigations which consider the impact of religious actors on a multitude of other issues relevant to the political and social life of the country.

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From the Publisher

In the post-communist era it has become evident that the emerging democracies in Eastern Europe will be determined by many factors, only some of them political. Throughout the region, the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Greek Catholic churches have tried to impose their views on democracythrough direct political engagement. Moreover, s...

Lavinia Stan is Assistant Professor of Political Science at St. Francis Xavier University. Lucian Turcescu is Associate Professor of Theology at Concordia University, Montreal.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 6.3 × 9.09 × 0.91 inPublished:November 21, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195308530

ISBN - 13:9780195308532

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Table of Contents

1. Religion and Politics in Post-Communism2. Competing Models of Church-State Relations3. Religion and Nationalism4. Confronting theCommunist Past5. The Politics of Orthodox-Greek Catholic Relations6. Religion and Elections7. Religious Education in Public Schools8. Religion, Politics, and Sexuality9. Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

"This is a masterful interpretation of the role of religion in influencing the development of modern Romania which is presented to the reader with clarity and analytical rigor. As well as sparkling comparative insights, the authors relate how religious claims and the reaction to them from thestate and civil society are determining the extent to which Romania becomes a politically and socially free entity. The Orthodox Church is at the centre of the narrative and there are well-argued accounts of its relationship with nationalism, the communist past and the democratic present as Romaniaembraces capitalism and joins the European Union. Besides shedding light on a country whose direction is still shrouded in ambiguity, this is one of the most notable monographs to appear for quite a while on the role of religion in contemporary Europe." --Tom Gallagher, University of Bradford