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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

The unaware secularization. Laicity and public context in contemporary Italy

di Fulvio Conti
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 43 (2013), p. 45

Even Italy, like much of the Western world, has been affected in recent decades by an intense process of secularization. This secularization of private costumes and the desacralization of religion, however, did not produced a decrease in the power of ecclesiastical institutions and in social, cultural and political influence that they have in the public sphere. Indeed, while secular organizations face increasing difficulty in making their voices heard (for example, there are no more political parties that explicitly recognize the secular tradition, both liberal and socialist), the Catholic Church has regained a new centrality. This is demonstrated by the measures approved in recent years on public funding to private schools, on the living will, on the legal recognition of unmarried couples and homosexual couples, on the use of stem cells for scientific research, on artificial insemination, on the removal of symbols religious from public buildings, on the legalization of RU486 (the so called “morning after pill”). In many cases, the Constitutional Court has been forced to intervene. Through various judgments the Court has defended the principle of pluralism in religious matters and has been a mainstay of the secular state and of In many cases, the Constitutional Court has been forced to intervene. Through various judgments the Court has defended the principle of pluralism in religious matters and has been a mainstay of the secular state and the fundamental rights enshrined in the Charter of 1948. Keywords: Secularization, secularism, civil rights, public sphere, Catholic Church, Italy.