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a political trend aimed at gaining a leading role for the church and clergy in social, political, and cultural life. Clerical and, under certain conditions, theocratic strivings are in essence characteristic of all religious and church organizations of a society marked by class antagonism (Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and Protestant, among others). The clergy and influential representatives of the ruling classes that are connected with the church are the proponents of clericalism. Catholic clericalism is one of the most active. Treaties between the Vatican and governments of several states serve as a most important means for securing a strong alliance between the Catholic Church and bourgeois states and for guaranteeing the church’s influence. Until the mid-19th century clericalism expressed primarily the interests of the feudal-aristocratic circles in Western Europe. Even today in the Orient it expresses, for the most part, these interests. In the epoch of imperialism, clericalism has become to a significant extent a tool of monopoly capital, and it bears a clearly expressed anticommunist tendency.

Clericalism employs toward its ends not only the extensive church apparatus but also various clerical organizations, clerical political parties, and trade union, youth, women’s, cultural, and other organizations created with the direct participation of the church. The church and its organizations in the majority of bourgeois countries interfere and exert influence in the political sphere. Many of their spokesmen take the side of the most reactionary forces; in particular, they try to muster support for these reactionary forces through the religious organizations in elections to parliaments and local government posts, exerting pressure on believers. In several bourgeois countries schools are under the influence of the church and Catholic organizations; the religious authority interferes in questions regarding the family, marriage, and upbringing of children (Italy, Spain, Israel, etc).

The world revolutionary process has weakened clericalism. The leadership of clerical organizations, which uses religion for reactionary political ends and in anticommunist propaganda, is encountering growing opposition from many believers, as well as from part of the clergy.


Velikovich, L. N. Religiia i politika v sovremennom kapitalisticheskom obshchestve. Moscow, 1970.
Sheinman, M. M. Sovremennyi klerikalizm. Moscow, 1964.
Maier, H. and P. Stier. Fashizm i politicheskii klerikalizm. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from German.)
Albrecht, E. Antikommunizm—ideologiia klerikal’nogo militarizma. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from German.)
Ellwein, Th. Klerikalismus in der deutschen Politik. Munich, 1955.


References in periodicals archive ?
Clericalism is a radical misunderstanding of the place of clerics in the Church.
The bishops should have proposed some concrete ways and means for shunning excessive institutionalization, clericalism and extravaganza.
says that the Church has too often been self-centered, replete with clericalism, and preoccupied with its own virtue.
Those interested in clericalism, codices, and farming are not disappointed.
Clericalism and royalism were to be resisted through the creation of a secular state.
One cause of clericalism on which Cozzens did not dwell is over-work.
Can they say with any degree of definiteness that the fact that so many priests abused children is not connected to celibacy and clericalism and the whole style of life that a priest is forced to live?
The phenomenon of clericalism explains, in great part, the lack of maturity and Christian freedom in a good part of the Latin American laity," the Argentine-born Francis said.
It dives into the clerical culture and provides examples of arrogant clericalism on the part of complicit hierarchs.
He reviews all previous reformations from the time of Constantine through Gregory to the 16th century and finds that each has left us with questions today about how we relate to the world, how to deal with clericalism and authority in the church, and how we react culturally to the excessive individualism that marks our culture.
For example, in the chapter on "Religion, Clericalism and the State," the chronology makes no mention of the educational legislation of the 1880s; nor does it cite the Union Sacree of 1914.
I agree with the article on new clericalism in the May 5-18 edition.