Adherents of Christian Democratic ideologies generally hold that the Christian faith provides the best mechanism for the creation of a just civil society, and that Christian concepts such as stewardship, communitarianism, social justice, and individual morality should be observed in the administration of public policy. Many movements in Europe attempted to meld religious action to political action, but true support did not arise until the late nineteenth century when modernism began to threaten the privileged place of the Church in Western society. Christian Democratic parties saw an explosion of growth in particular after the Second World War; they represented an alternative path resisting both the harsh oppression of secular fascism and communism and the extremes of individualism and materialistic capitalism. During the Cold War, many Christian Democratic parties became active not only in Europe but in other predominantly Christian nations around the globe. Although the specifically Christian tone of many of the major Christian Democratic parties has been muted in the later 20th century (and thus introduces confusion and electoral overlap with conservatives and social democrats alike), it nonetheless remains one of the major ideological strains in the world at large.
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Catholic Encyclopedia: Christian Democracy
Article from 1908 representing Christian democracy as the ensemble of Catholic doctrine, organization, and action in the field of popular social questions.
Christian Democracy in Western Europe 1920-1953
Hypertext of a book by Michael P. Fogarty published in 1957 describing the philosophical underpinnings of Christian Democracy, its history and involvement in 19th and 20th century movements, and its relationship to the Catholic Church and church history.
Graves de Communi Re
Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, promulgated 18 January 1901, on the Christian Democracy name and movement.
The Nature of Christian Democracy: A Review and Critique of Maurice Glasman
Article by Nigel Meek published in the Libertarian Alliance's Economic Notes, No. 95 which reviews "Unnecessary Suffering: Managing Market Utopia," a history of the European Christian Democratic movement.
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