Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

Church, Religion and Belief: Paradigms for Understanding the Political Phenomenon in Post-Communist Romania

Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

Church, Religion and Belief: Paradigms for Understanding the Political Phenomenon in Post-Communist Romania

Article excerpt

Starting from the hypothesis that the predominant church, religion and belief in Romania (i.e. the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox religion and the Orthodox belief) are paradigms that help understand politics, we will highlight in the present article three major aspects of the political phenomenon in post-communist Romania: de-symbolizing the democratic function, institutionalizing "democratism" and manifesting integralism in the public space.

Our analysis is based on a communicational approach which postulates the conceptual oppositions as a fundament of understanding. The interpretation of these oppositions has lead us to discovering a series of coherent actions, behaviors, facts, etc., but also a series of incoherent, at some point irrational situations in the relation between the religious and the political spheres. The importance of this article lies in the fact that, once highlighted, these structures allow us to take into consideration the possibility of analyzing the meaning of the relation between the religious and the political spheres.

Key Words:

de-symbolizing, Orthodox Church, religion, post-communism, democratism, public space, integralism, clergy, politics.

The religious and the political represent areas whose way of functioning is fundamentally determined by their positioning in the field of the symbolic1. If originally this positioning can be rational, its later developments in practical contexts - especially those of scientific interpretation, meant to "facilitate explanation"2 - inevitably introduce irrationalities which disturb the process of sense development. But the scientific difficulty in understanding the relationship between religious and political spheres can also take rational forms, one of the most frequent and damaging of which, from an epistemological point of view, being the lack of unconditioned and permanent consideration of the concept distinction between the categories of "Church, religion, belief, politics"3. In other words, the rationality of the relations between the religious and the political is not connected to sociological or economic evidence, nor to political or historical evidence, nor to anthropological or theological evidence, but it is subjected to rational structuring of concept production.

Starting from this hypothesis, according to which the predominant church, religion and belief in Romania - meaning the Orthodox Church, the Orthodox religion and the Orthodox belief - are paradigms that help understand the political, we will highlight in the present article three major aspects of the political phenomenon in post-communist Romania: de-symbolizing the democratic function, institutionalizing "democratism"4 and manifesting integralism5 in the public space.

De-symbolizing the democratic function

First of all, if we start with the statement - considered to be a correct one - according to which managing the affairs of the Citadel (i.e. polis) is the task of the politicians and managing the Church affairs is the task of the clergy on the one hand, and that the politicians are bound to obey the law, meaning the law of the Citadel, while the clergy is bound to obey the rules of God on the other hand, then we are forced to admit the fact that not managing the problems of the Citadel proves fundamentally incoherent, a fact which interferes with the actions of politicians. This is also a valid phenomenon in the case of the clergy who do not perform their duties with regard to Church affairs. According to the same logical pattern, the political coherence resides in taking into consideration the voice of the people, while the coherence of the clergy is not a result of taking into consideration the wishes of the believers, but of performing God's will. This first dissymmetry does not necessarily produce "harmful" effects on the rationalities implied in the above-mentioned conceptual opposition. On the contrary, the problems in the conceptual coherence start appearing when the objective reality (not only the rational one) highlights the fact that the politicians manage church affairs or that the clergy manage the affairs of the Citadel. …

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