Still, it seems that to say that because of the mentioned situation contemporary industrial societies are completely secular would mean to remain at a somewhat superficial level of penetration into the subject. Indeed, the principles of secular social organization are apparently quite fitting for demands of a democratic way of life, but what about the rich religious heritage that has been forming for millennia in every society, and has penetrated and influenced so many aspects of our being?
First of all, we should point out that the notion of secularism may have different definitions in application to religious life. One of them can be related to the formal organization of society and state policies that to a large degree are formally devoid of the need to rely on the support of a church or to include religious matters into their scope of competence and action. In frames of this narrow definition, however, religious institutions can still retain a significant influence on state policies if religion continues to constitute an important and visible part of the dominant culture of a society, like is the case for example with the Catholic Church in Italy (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor 2005). On the other hand, we can think of a wider definition of secularism as the quality of the culture of a society in which the general sentiment is shifted towards secular values, and concerns about freedom of religion are mostly limited to the protection of free operation of religious denominations within the civil society. (Madsen et al. 2001, pp.15-40). As it usually happens, of course, these two approaches to the definition of secularism are ideal, and in reality there are cases when in a society with traditionally strong religious culture visible grass roots protests against what is felt as an excessive penetration of religion into the everyday life are voiced, as well as there are instances when in a pluralistic society secularised, if we may say so, from the bottom up some state institutions adopt pro-religious policies for certain purposes. Still, I believe that by usage of this dichotomy between the formal secularism and the secularism as a cultural tradition we may better answer our question about the extent of secularisation of contemporary industrial societies.
Speaking about social patterns of contemporary industrial societies, to the list of which we include the mentioned type of developed democratic countries, we have to admit that most, if not all, of them subscribe to the principle of secularism as a necessary tool of public policy to manage the increasing complexity of modern social structures which, facing tendencies of globalisation and growing interdependency with the culturally diverse international sphere of activities, in this way are given an opportunity for self-regulation. This secular principle is closely connected with the principle of the separation of church and state, which in its turn is related, but not identical, with the right for