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Accepted Paper:

Global Catholicism and the politics of kinship responsibility  
Ester Gallo (University of Trento)

Paper short abstract:

This contribution explores the contemporary role of the Catholic Church in asserting its public responsibility towards gendered kinship norms and relations. It reflects on how responsibility may become a contested subject between the secular state, religious institutions and social actors.

Paper long abstract:

The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) projected a sea change in the Catholic Church from an anti-modern religion towards its difficult engagement with secular modernity. Rather than transcending the world, the Church should have been able to ‘enflesh’ the reality it sought to communicate and to be close to people’s everyday life. In recapturing the vital importance of people’s worldly activities, the Catholic Church asserted its public responsibility towards the common good, and established itself as a ‘dialogical partner’ for political actors in issues pertaining human life and development. Crucially, the renewed importance of public Catholicism implied the de-privatisation of kinship as a realm where to question the secular state and to invoke ethical commitment for a better future. This contribution explores, firstly, how responsibility is expressed through a normative religious framework addressing gendered issues of sexuality, reproduction and conjugality. Secondly, is discusses how the politics of responsibility is spread through contemporary missionary activities. I begin by discussing how the Catholic politic of responsibility is codified in selected conciliar/post-conciliar documents. I then take as a case in point the Catholic movement of the Neocathecumenal Way, in order to discuss how kinship moralities are apprehended – and contested - in specific contexts of evangelisation. I reflect on how the notion of responsibility may become a contested subject between the secular state, religious institutions and social actors.

Panel Mora03a
Kinship, gender and the politics of responsibility I
  Session 1 Tuesday 30 March, 2021, -