Roman Catholic View of the State

  • Denis Dragovic
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Compromise after Conflict book series (PSCAC)


Earlier I outlined the mechanisms that religious institutions have at hand to support the three primary order elements of post-conflict statebuilding—legitimacy, public security and basic services. These contributions are important as they target what political scientists and international relations scholars have identified as being the two most common mechanisms by which states fail—legitimacy deficit and institutional failure. Scholars that have more broadly considered the relationship between religion and legitimacy have largely done so within the confines of political science. Social science, meanwhile, offers theories that can be used to consider how religious institutions mobilize resources to respond to public security and deliver basic services. Both disciplines lead to an approach that instrumentalizes religion—making it a tool, or a means to a statebuilding end. In this section I reflect on how our understanding of post-conflict statebuilding would change if the means and ends were reversed, in other words, that statebuilding becomes a means to a religious end. So rather than seeing statebuilding as, for example, Khadiagala does, namely for the purpose of ‘returning the state to the centre of political life’,1 I will consider religion as being the aspirational centre of people’s lives and statebuilding as the means to achieving a religious end.


Public Security Religious Institution Social Doctrine Vatican Council Practised Theology 
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Copyright information

© Denis Dragovic 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denis Dragovic
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MelbourneAustralia

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