Religion and Civil Rights in Italy: An Empirical Exploration Among Secondary School Students

Part of the Religion and Human Rights book series (REHU, volume 2)


What is the role of religion in building up a culture of civil rights in Italy? According to Marzano and Urbinati (2013), the privileged status of the Catholic Church in Italy can result in a negative role of religion towards civil rights issues; according to these sociologists, Habermas’ theory of a public role of religion in a post-secularized society is not applicable in Italy, because of the virtual Catholic religious monopoly. The present study shows the historical background of this debated relation between church and civil rights in Italy. It points out the reasons why both a negative and a positive role of religion toward civil rights can be expected. It presents the results of an empirical investigation among Italian secondary school students (N = 1087), carried out in order to explore the role of religion about civil rights among this portion of public opinion, which will shape the future of this debate in Italy. The questions of this empirical research are: What understanding of civil rights is present among the sample of students? Are there significant differences in support for civil rights in student groups as defined by their religious affiliation and practice? Is there a correlation between the students’ views on civil rights and their religious attitudes? Is there a correlation between the students’ views on civil rights and their background characteristics? What is the predictive strength of the students’ religious attitudes and background characteristics with regard to views on civil rights?


Religious Attitudes Social Dominance Orientation CatholicCatholic Church RELIGION Freedom Sexual Rights 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Apulian Theological FacultyBariItaly
  2. 2.Salesian Pontifical UniversityRomeItaly
  3. 3.Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious StudiesRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands

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