The Intimate

The Intimate

Polity and the Catholic Church—Laws about Life, Death and the Family in So-called Catholic Countries

For centuries the Catholic Church was able to impose its ethical rules in matters related to the intimate, that is, questions concerning life (from its beginning until its end) and the family, in the so-called Catholic countries in Western Europe. When the polity started to introduce legislation in opposition to the Catholic ethic, the ecclesiastical authorities and part of the population reacted. The media reported massive demonstrations in France against same-sex marriages and in Spain against the legalization of abortion. In Italy the Episcopal conference entered the political field in opposition to medically assisted procreation. In Portugal the Church made a "pact" so that the law on same-sex marriages did not include the possibility of adoption. And in Belgium the Episcopal conference expressed its opposition to such laws with religious, legal, and anthropological arguments, which all other Episcopal conferences did also.

In this book, the authors analyze the full spectrum of the issue, including the emergence of such laws; the political discussions; the standpoints defended in the media by professionals, ethicists, and politicians; the votes in the parliaments; the political interventions of the Episcopal conferences; and the attitude of professionals. As a result the reader understands what was at stake and the differences in actions of the various Episcopal conferences. The authors also analyze the pro and con evaluations among the civil population of such actions by the Church. Finally, in a comparative synthesis, they discuss the public positions taken by Pope Francis to evaluate if a change in Church policy might be possible in the near future.


Céline Béraud (Université de Caen), Annalisa Frisina (Università degli Studi di Padova), Franco Garelli (Università degli Studi di Torino), Antonio Montañés (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Enzo Pace (Università degli Studi di Padova), Philippe Portier (École pratique des hautes études, Paris-Sorbonne), Jose Santiago (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Roberto Francesco Scalon (Università degli Studi di Torino), Liliane Voyé (Université Catholique de Louvain)