The Catholic Church has employed different strategies to influence Italian politics. The objective of this thesis is to find out which strategies the Catholic Church has used, with emphasis on the period between 1945 and 1992. The analysis focused on three strategic ways in which the Catholic Church influences Italian politics. First, party politics. Second, through Catholic organizations and movements. Third, through popular referenda.
Theories on how the Catholic Church, and in some extent religious groups in general, can influence political parties, organizations, and referendums, have also been presented.
In Italy, organizational links have been most evident between the Catholic Church and the DC. The DC was a part of the Italian government for more than 45 years. The DC was strongly supported by the Vatican. This is one concrete example of how the Catholic Church attempted to affect Italian politics through a political party.
Religious organizations, movements and interest groups are some channels through which the Catholic Church can affect politics. Through organizations and movements, the Catholic Church can affect politicians, and try to set an agenda for political causes of importance to the Church. Political role of religious organizations was almost exclusively connected to the DC during the First Republic. During the post-war era, the Catholic organizations supported the DC. which made a great impact on the power and influence of the DC on Italian politics. This again gave the Catholic Church great influence on Italian politics.
The Catholic Church has also worked strategically towards different policies. As example of this is how the catholic Church work with referendums regarding the non-negotiable values. Referendums increases the potential of Catholic Church to act politically. Referendums are the most veto points which churches can use. The Catholic Church in Italy with a high mobilization potential, has attempted to use referendums in overturning, restricting, and maintaining laws.