The Catholic Church as a Political Actor. A Comparative Study of Communication of Bishops’ Conferences in Slovakia and Austria

No.2(2023)

Abstract
This article addresses the under-examined topic of communication by the Catholic Church (CC). The CC is understood here as a political actor sui generis. The two most similar systems design cases, the Slovak and the Austrian Republics, are compared here. This selection is due to the nature of the two countries’ modern history, their experience with undemocratic regimes, and a similar confessional legal framework. The empirical aim is to systematically study the official public written communication of the national bishops’ conferences to identify the most frequent topics and communication patterns. Furthermore, interviews with local CC representatives were conducted as a validity check. The results suggest interesting similarities and disparities in the addressees, frequency, ways of mentioning certain topics, and their expressed importance for the local CC representatives. However, more research is needed to clarify some of the results and explore the communication of the CC and its self-proclaimed positions in greater depth.

Keywords:
The Catholic Church; communication; text analysis; Slovakia; Austria
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