We combine the principle of centralization and that of popular sovereignty.
Christian Democracy had, for all intents and purposes, begun with the immediate pre-war period. Thus, unlike political movements like socialism, or even liberalism, Christian Democracy became an important political force before it had matured ideologically. As a result, the development of its ideology was inhibited by the pressures of political responsibility. The Italian Christian Democratic Party, for example, was founded in 1943 and came to power in 1948. It was never able to develop its autonomous self separately from a close and intimate relationship with the state.
The Christian Democratic phenomenon raises several puzzles: the contradiction between these parties' religious roots and their enduring success in the heart of one of the most secular social environments in the world, western Europe; the success of religion in structuring impressively successful political parties at a time of general secularization and decline of the institutional power of the church; the translation of religion, a supposedly premodern cleavage, into mass parties, the modern political weapon par excellence; the emergence of confessional parties in some countries but not in others; the domination (and often monopolization) of the bourgeois political space by confessional parties; the integration into...
Solving these puzzles requires a theory of Christian Democracy. Such a theory should specify the conditions under which parties that appeal to voters on religious grounds form and succeed; account for the failure of such parties to emerge in seemingly favourable environments; and determine the impact of confessional parties on the politics of the societies in which they operate and the ways in which they shape the relationship of religion and politics. (Stathis, p.2)
One of the initial problems that European Christian Democratic leaders had to overcome was the traditional reluctance of many devout Catholics to get involved in politics. After the unification of Italy by a liberal, anticlerical movement in 1870, the popes exhorted their followers to stay aloof from politics. At the time of the virulently anti-Catholic phase of the French Revolution, many French Catholics adopted similar positions of separation and intransigence.
Both the French Revolution and the Italian unification were accompanied by substantial increases in state power. This meant significantly less respect for traditional ecclesiastical prerogatives. The Church and many faithful Catholics reacted to this state usurpation by attempting to withdraw from the political system and withholding their cooperation. This attitude split the Catholic faithful, with some believers maintaining that they ought to participate in politics, even under a liberal, anticlerical state, to "Christianize" the political process. (Einaudi, 187-90)
By the beginning of the twentieth century, the official Church position toward the liberal state had softened somewhat. In 1891, Pope Leo