Christian Democracy in Italy: An alternative path to religious party moderation

Carolyn Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This article argues that historical context can be a strong force for the origins of an ideologically and behaviourally moderate religious political party. It explores the origins of Italian Christian Democracy, following the trajectory of the Partito Popolare Italiano and Democrazia Cristiana in order to highlight a path to religious party moderation that excludes extremism and violence at all stages. That path includes the development of a moderate ideology prior to inclusion in the democratic system, influenced by efforts to reconcile Catholicism with democracy. Extremist alternatives are eliminated not through the moderating tendencies of a democratic political system but by historical events and by efforts of the moderate religious party to ensure that the democratic system does not collapse. Ideological and behavioural moderation are understood as acceptance of democracy and promotion of civil liberties, not as the notion that a party becomes in some way less religious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-276
Number of pages21
JournalParty Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Italy
  • party birth/origin
  • religion
  • religious parties
  • representative democracy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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