La « conversion » écologiste de l’Eglise catholique en France : sociologie politique de l’appropriation du référent écologiste par une institution religieuse

Abstract : The publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ contributed to the exposure of the Catholic Church’s “conversion” to ecology. By analysing this emerging movement in the French context, we want to single out the structural effects of the assimilation of environmental concern by a religious institution. Three levels of analysis will be followed: a philosophical, an individual and an institutional one. The first step will evaluate the papal line on ecology, the second will focus on the identity of Catholic ecologist activists, and the third one will assess the scope of the Church’s ecological movement. On each of these aspects, the Catholic Church reach a compromise with postmodern society, emphasizing the need for a spiritualization of ecological stakes, which values relationship at the expense of individualism. Legitimized by the Vatican, the Catholic ecological movement is organized around local initiatives under the soft control of the episcopate. However, this autonomy acquired by the activists doesn’t weaken the hierarchy of the Church, since militants find an advantage in preserving the image of an institution capable of responding to the uncertainties caused by our societies. The Church “conversion” to ecology thus generates an individualization of militant commitment along with institutional involvement in environmental controversies. These contrary motions certainly promote the institutionalization of environmental concern. Nevertheless, this “conversion” will only be effective if the Church is incorporated within the framework of a quest for greater consistency, where policy making will be as important as the value of spirituality.
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Ludovic-Pierre Bertina. La « conversion » écologiste de l’Eglise catholique en France : sociologie politique de l’appropriation du référent écologiste par une institution religieuse. Sociologie. PSL Research University, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017PSLEP023⟩. ⟨tel-02106528v2⟩

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