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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 classic literature ?
Yes, he is our first printer," replied the clerical gentleman hastily.
Flambeau, in wonder, handed this truncated testament to his clerical friend, who glanced at it and silently gave it to the priest of the sun.
Mrs General's communication of this idea to her clerical and commissariat connection was so warmly applauded that, but for the lady's undoubted merit, it might have appeared as though they wanted to get rid of her.
Pickwick once more retracing his steps to the lodge, and the three companions adjourning to the coffee-room, there to spend the five shillings which the clerical gentleman had, with admirable prudence and foresight, borrowed of him for the purpose.
With these innovations, functions such as record keeping, previously incidental to clerical work became its very essence.
The ramp service and stores agents' agreement was ratified by 85% of the employees who participated in the vote, while the clerical, office and passenger service employees rejected their proposed contract extension by 65%.
O'Brien said the 109-member Worcester Clerical Association has ratified an agreement with the city that implements a series of cost-saving measures intended to preserve jobs during difficult fiscal times.
For an embargoed copy of the research please contact the Clerical Medical Press Office via pressoffice@halifax.
We understand some clerical work is necessary but all these new responsibilities are taking the most talented of our nurses away from patient care,' said Judith.
The survey of nurses across the North of England found the vast majority believed non-essential paperwork had increased over the past five years, but some said clerical support in their workplace was either non-existent or had not kept pace with demand.
Nearly one in four nurses questioned (23 per cent) had no access to clerical support, although the majority (89 per cent) believe help with clerical duties would free up more time for patient care.
Pope Gregory VII (reign, 1073-1085) worked harder than most popes to enforce clerical celibacy, but he met with considerable resistance, as did those who attempted to enforce his decrees.