chapter  4
18 Pages

Portugal: Secularization and Religious Vitality of the Roman Catholic Church in a Southern European Country

This chapter examines the resources of religious organizations and institutions in terms of personnel and finance. It is important to remember here that societal secularization is to be conceived of as a consequence of the functional differentiation of modern societies. Organizational secularization is concerned with the decline in the social significance of religious organizations and communities. Individual secularization refers to the process whereby citizens become increasingly dissociated from religion. The widespread acceptance of functional differentiation between religion and science, and between religion and politics, is evidence of the success of secularization in Europe during the last few decades. There is a mainly macro-sociological aspect to the approaches taken by secularization theory. The claim that the economic-market model can be applied to Europe is controversial. The process of secularization is being undermined less by the tendencies of religious individualization than by the way in which religiousness is politically charged.