Studia Politica, vol. IV, no. 2, 2004
Religion and Politics in the Balkans: A Contemporary Dispute
The article begins with a note on the rebirth of all the religious groups in the wider Balkans after the fall of communism, revisiting their social and political traditions, often inherited from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, to participate in the construction of a new type of civil society and guarantee the democratic transitions. Here, religion is ”symphonically” linked with the national issue, a conclusion that forbids any separation between the spiritual and temporal dimension. The author reviews three crucial layers: the recent heritage of the totalitarian regimes, the orthodox and Byzantine traditions, and the influence of nationalisms, enduring well beyond the 19th century. Nevertheless, the author warns against any account of a causal relationship between religious traditions and political behavior, as both are genetically intertwined. He provides an explanation of the predominantly auto-cephalous structures, as well as of the difficult history of minorities in the region, in a political ecclesiology that favors ethnophiletism, hindering the laicization of contemporary society and denying due respect to the different cultures and religions.
Ecclesiastical Discipline and Social Control: Prostitution in 18th century Bucharest
The author offers an important perspective of a topic that is regularly identified with social history, seeking to diagnose the discourses and policies of several institutions – including the Church, the police, and society in general – in what concerns yet another facet of daily life in the 18th century. Scrutinizing an inedited judicial archive – the records of the Bucharest Metropolitan See – the author describes how the phenomenon of prostitution is organized and how it becomes manifest in the 18th century capital. Policies of prostitution control begin to take shape towards the end of the 18th century and at the beginning of the 19th century, as the European ”regulationalist” period contaminated the Romanians as well. Interventions by the laical and ecclesiastical power are motivated by a series of calamities, including the plague, syphilis, wars and disorder. These become visible especially in Bucharest, the city with the highest number of prostitutes, due to its economic and political prominence, both as the capital and as the largest urban center in Walachia. Nevertheless, the associated punitive practices are incoherent and usually inefficient.
A Strategy of Refusal: Neo-protestant Churches under Communism
The article proposes to uncover the attitude of the communist regime towards religion. The author seeks to offer a more precise measurement of the distance between the official discourse of the time – seemingly very democratic in what concerns religious freedom –, and the corresponding abusive and restrictive political practice. A short historical overview of the neo-protestant cults in the communist period and of the persecution suffered by the neo-protestants shows that the communist regime was in fact extremely intolerant towards any possible ideological current. Two interviews constructed and interpreted via qualitative techniques allow a closer analysis of the different practices of resistance. The interplay of what was said and what was done made duplicity a sort of structural component, which characterized both the official and the private performance. The interplay of what was said and what was believed becomes a viable practice of taking one’s distance from a totalitarian regime with an obsession to supervise and control. Although it initially shunned this premise, precisely to prevent any partisan investigation, the study concludes that, at least for the two religious groups under scrutiny, one can actually endorse the contention that resistance through religion was manifest in communist Romania.
Neo-Protestant Morality and Conduct under Communism. The Case of the Romanian Baptist Church
The article seeks confirmation of the hypothesis that the persecution of the Baptist communities during Romania’s communist period was due to their refusal to collaborate with the regime. The text begins with a concise historical overview, tracing the ministerial interdictions and destitutions, the intensifying atheist propaganda, the various changes to the Baptist statutes, the protests and the creative adjustments of the believers, which added to the conflict between the authorities and the Baptist Church. After a theoretical excursus into the incompatibility between communism and the Christian preaching, the author performs an evaluation of the extent to which the Romanian Baptists had accepted communism as an ideology, referring to their assessment of communism, on one hand, and including specific examples of the documented methods of the Securitate to impact their behavior, on the other hand. Developing in great detail a case study on the persecution of Reverend Petru Dugulescu, based on the manuscript of his memoirs and corroborating testimonies, she closes with an appraisal of the role and involvement of the Baptist Church in the Romanian society.
The Young Catholics of Romania in 2003. Conclusions of A Recent Survey and Strategies for Further Research
The article analyzes the first substantial survey focusing on the young Romanian Catholics; the respondents numbered 1300 teenagers and young people from all the catholic dioceses in the country. The author contextualizes the choices made in the construction and above all in the interpretation of the results yielded by such a survey, which must consider the distinctive responses and standpoint of a young population that belongs to a minority religion. He captures a few results that are deemed especially significant for the relation of these youngsters with the Church as an institution, in terms of attitudes, practices and values. Finally, he discusses the crucial dimensions of the respondents’ position concerning practices and social values, regarding their relationship with the society as a whole and their degree of appreciation of the new European values. The article provides the necessary articulation for any structured study of the complex relation between young people and religion, post-communist society and European values, after the year 2000.
Romanian Orthodoxy and Modernity. The Official Discourse of the Romanian Orthodox Church after 1989
The author applies content analysis to uncover how the Romanian Orthodox Church – simultaneously with the whole of Romanian society – responds to the necessity to understand and adapt to new – and constantly changing – cultural, political and other realities after 1989. The Church deals with the axiological challenges of modernity by putting forward its theological vision on liberty as the right to act morally. Since its discourse claims a perennial symbiotic relationship with the Romanian nation, its relations with politics and the State are structured from this perspective: while it will not get directly involved in party politics, the Church wants a relationship of collaboration with the public authorities. Though with caution, the Romanian Orthodox Church has also come to fully engage in the ecumenical dialogue and to support Romania’s efforts to integrate the European Union. It participates thus in the Romanian society’s collective deliberative efforts to rebuild its normative foundations.
CONSTANȚA GHIȚULESCU, În șalvari și cu ișlic. Biserică, sexualitate, căsătorie și divorț în Țara Românească a secolului al XVIII-lea, Editura Humanitas, București, 2004 (LIGIA LIVADÃ-CADESCHI), pp. 497-499
ION MAMINA, Regalitatea în România. 1866-1947, Editura Compania, București, 2004 (SILVIA MARTON), pp. 499-500
VICTOR NEUMANN, Neam, popor, sau națiune? Despre identitățile politice europene, Editura Curtea Veche, București, 2003 (SILVIA MARTON), pp. 500-502
NICHIFOR CRAINIC, DUMITRU STÃNILOAE, RÃZVAN CODRESCU, RADU PREDA, „Fiecare în rândul cetei sale“. Pentru o teologie a neamului, Christiana, București, 2003 (RADU CARP)
COSTION NICOLESCU, Teologul în cetate. Părintele Stăniloae și aria politicii, Christiana, București, 2003 (RADU CARP)
RADU PREDA, IOAN-VASILE LEB (editie îngrijită de), Cultele și statul în România, Renașterea, Cluj-Napoca, 2003 (RADU CARP), pp. 503-507
MICHEL FOUCAULT, Biopolitică și medicină socială, traducere de Ciprian Mihali, Idea Design&Print, Cluj-Napoca, 2003 (CODRIN TÃUT), pp. 507-510
JACQUES GERSTLÉ, Comunicarea politică, traducere de Gabriela Cămară Ionesi, Institutul European, Iași, 2002 (IONELA BÃLUȚÃ), pp. 510-511