AbstractThe thesis investigates which values that have been emphasized in the strategy of the Catholic Church in post-communist Poland from the fall of communism in 1989 to the ratification of the Concordat in 1998. It also asks how this strategy has been affected by the democratic context. These questions are addressed in a single-case study because this method gives an opportunity for the researcher to investigate the phenomenon in its real-life context.
The theory of democratic consolidation is the theoretical framework for the thesis. The process of democratic consolidation eliminates the values and actions which are not compatible with democracy. When this elimination has taken place, the regime becomes less exposed to irreconcilable disputes and struggles. In other words, the moderation of political conflict is an important element in the consolidation of democracy because it makes the actors stop looking at themselves as engaged in a zero-sum conflict. The development of moderation in political conflicts is emphasized in Sartori’s term “taming of politics”. “Taming of politics” has taken place when there is a shared acceptance of the democratic values of compromise, tolerance and consensus-building.
The theory describes three challenges for a religious organization in a democratic setting; the ideological, the social and the political challenges of democracy. The thesis presents the Episcopate’s strategy toward these challenges, and analyzes how the strategy has been formed by the democratic context. The ideological challenge is about the Episcopate’s attitude toward liberal democracy and its relationship toward the Jewish and Orthodox religious minorities. The social challenge discusses the issues of abortion and religious instruction, while the political challenge addresses the drafting of a new constitution and the debate on the Concordat.The main conclusions are that with the exception of the Jewish empirical example where democratic pressure seemed to play a vital role, the Episcopate’s behavior did hardly seem to be governed by democratic pressure from the environment. The Episcopate’s strategy toward the challenges of democracy was effective; it managed to fulfill a lot of its goals by choosing an offensive and confrontational approach. As a consequence, incentives to soften its strategy by emphasizing compromise, tolerance, and consensus-building were weak.