Prof. Petr Kratochvíl Has Published a New Book on the Role of the Catholic Church in the Contemporary International System

The study examines the role of the Catholic Church in the contemporary international system in an unconventional way. It reveals its key trends and provides an insightful analysis of its deep entanglement with national, regional and global politics.

This book explores five versions of local Catholicism(s) and sheds light on the various theo-political constellations that not only differ widely across these national contexts but also have global geopolitical consequences. It is built around a novel theoretical argument showing that Catholic geopolitics contains not only a spatial dimension (as classic geopolitical studies would have it) but also a temporal one. As a consequence, the Catholic role in the world cannot be simply understood as a result of the spatial expansion of the Church but rather as a result of the complex relationships between Catholicism and colonization, inculturation, backwardness, and modernization(s).

To counter the lingering Eurocentrism of most studies of the Catholic Church, this book’s case studies explore Catholic geopolitics in five non-European contexts: Latin America (Brazil), North America (the United States), Asia (India and China), and Africa (the Democratic Republic of the Congo). These case studies also show that the successes and failures of Catholicism cannot be explained by a recourse to a single, top-down interpretation of Catholic geopolitics, but rather by exploring the various Catholic spatio-temporal constellations on the global, regional, and local levels. With the accelerating diversification of the Church and the growing role of the Global South, these local and regional influences gain further importance as they are likely to increasingly define the future of Catholicism.

This book may interest scholars of international relations, religious studies, political science, and theology, as well as geopolitics, especially to those studying the global rise of religion. Its accessible language will also appeal to the wider public beyond academia, especially those interested in global Christianity, as well as church leaders, and members of Catholic organizations.

Related items