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An Italian Foreign Policy of Religious Engagement: Challenges and Prospects


A new awareness of the role of religion in international relations has started to inform concrete policy discussions in several Western Ministries of Foreign Affairs under the heading of ‘religious engagement’ in foreign policy. Italy is no exception, but as the country which hosts the Holy See, it represents a special case. As the approach to religion found in the historical record of Italian foreign policy shows, Italy has a comparative advantage and could well develop a unique model of religious engagement by strengthening the central structures involved in religious matters and foreign policy, as well as by using the vast network of Rome-based religious non-state actors as a forum of consultation and policy advice.
Keywords: Italian foreign policy; Catholic Church; religion