Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

El activismo político de la Iglesia católica durante el gobierno de Zapatero (2004-2010)

Susana Aguilar Fernández


This article analyzes the Spanish Catholic church (SCC) as an interest group which pursues to maintain and/or enhance its political influence through the adoption of rationally- calculated decisions that will impinge upon its status quo and objectives. However churches can exhibit a high or a low political profile, the former generally adopting the shape of a political adversary strategy. This role has been chosen by the SCC in order to oppose two political reforms advocated by the Socialist government of Zapatero: same-sex marriage and the liberalization of abortion. Unlike other Catholic churches in different European countries which have refrained themselves from entering politics, the SCC has decisively involved itself in this political fight by means of campaigns and social mobilization against these reforms. Supply-based and rational choice theories, which emphasize the importance of different types of existing church and religious leadership in various countries account for this religiously-inspired political activism in Spain: the SCC not only counts on important resources but it also operates in a quasi-monopolist religious market that paves the way for its discourse as «the institution which represents the great majority of Spaniards». Further, the passing of these «highly sensitive policies» has united certain social sectors and political parties which do not approve them. In the quest to defend pro-family and pro-life objectives, the SCC has opted for a conflictive strategy which goes from political pressure and lobbying, press conferences and the publication of documents, to the support (and direct promotion at times) of demonstrations, primarily organized by Christian social groups and, less visibly, conservative political parties.

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