Religious Contributions to Political Culture
In addition to contributing to the development of political structures and institutions, religion influences public attitudes about government and politics that constitute a nation's political culture. Religious differences often account for cultural differences across and within societies. While the connection between religion and culture can be quite complex, religion is an integral source for the development of ideas and values that give meaning to the world and human life. A primary objective of the Second Vatican Council was for the Church to find new ways to apply religion to culture. Pope Paul VI stated in 1975 that "the split between the Gospel and culture is without a doubt the drama of our time, just as it was of other times. Therefore every effort must be made to ensure a full evangelization of culture, or more correctly of cultures." 1 The issuance of pastoral letters and the more active political involvement of United States Catholic bishops must be understood in light of Pope Paul's and the Second Vatican Council's call to cultural renewal.
On the connection between religion and culture, Paul Tillich argues that a solid bond exists: "Religion as ultimate concern is the meaning-giving substance of culture, and culture is the totality of forms in which the basic concern of religion expresses itself; religion is the substance of culture, culture is the form of religion." 2 While Tillich may overstate the relationship between religion and culture, particularly given the secularizing tendencies within society, religion often provides a powerful belief system