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Democratic transitions recently became a topic of great discussion among political scholars as a domino effect of democratization began in Latin America in the 1970s and continued through Eastern Europe in the late 1980s. In many of these transitions, the Catholic Church[1] played a crucial role as the protector of civil society during periods of communist and right-wing authoritarian rule, as well as taking an active role to promote the establishment of democracy (Bruneau 1994, Levine 1980, Stepan and Linz 1996, Peréz-Díaz 1993, Ramet 1987). While the Church’s political role in transition is important, significantly fewer scholars have explored how democracy affected the Catholic Church within the national context (Eberts 1998, Ramet 1999, Vilarino and Tizon 1998). Even fewer have attempted cross-national comparisons of the Church, thus permitting generalizations to be made about the political influence of the Church since the institution of democratic governance (Casanova 1993, Gill et al.1998).
With the establishment of democracy the Church was expected to flourish, due to it…