A Living Tradition: The Holy See, catholic social doctrine, and global politics, 1965-2000
Title: A Living Tradition: The Holy See, catholic social doctrine, and global politics, 1965-2000
Author: STUMMVOLL, A. Alexander
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2012
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
In this thesis I explore the question of how the Holy See translates its own normative vision into concrete diplomatic practice. Drawing upon Alasdair MacIntyre’s concept of a ‘living tradition’, I argue that Catholic Social Doctrine (CSD) is an exemplary case of a ‘historically extended, socially embodied argument’ about the good life that provides the Holy See with a source of inspiration and advice, shapes its perception of global politics, constitutes its identity and preferences, and constrains its diplomatic practice. However, due to its ‘living’ nature, CSD does not provide blueprints for action and falls short of determining papal diplomacy in global politics. A living religious tradition needs to be inherited, interpreted, and incarnated. This process is complicated and leads to political and ethical policy dilemmas as well as to changing patterns of conflict and cooperation with other international actors. I will examine this problematique in the context of four major case studies of papal diplomacy in the post-Second Vatican Council era: the Vietnam War, the Polish crisis in the early 1980s, the United Nations (UN) conferences on population control and women in Cairo and Beijing in the mid-1990s, and the Jubilee 2000 anti-debt campaign. My research findings have four broader implications. First, they will lay out a more fine-tuned approach to the study of religious traditions in IR. Second, they suggest a need for the field of religion and politics to avoid reducing the impact of religious ideas and practices to their causal impact on outcomes. Third, they undermine the analytical accurateness of widespread invocations of ‘holy alliance’ arguments for characterising Holy See diplomacy. Fourth, they provide good reasons for a more holistic perspective on CSD in particular and religion and politics in general.
LC Subject Heading: Catholic Church -- Diplomatic service; Church and international organization -- Catholic Church; Catholic Church -- Foreign relations -- History -- 20th century; Church and social problems -- Catholic Church; Christian sociology -- Catholic Church
Defence date: 30 November 2012; Examining Board: Dr. Mariano Barbato, Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca/ Universität Passau; Professor Friedrich Kratochwil, European University Institute (Supervisor); Professor Olivier Roy, European University Institute; Dr. Scott Thomas, University of Bath/University of London, Heythrop College (External CoSupervisor).
Published version: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/56004
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