Papal soft power and human rights : the foreign policy of Pope Francis

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Gaspar, Beatriz : Teixeira Carreira
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The multiplication of non-state religious actors in international relations has turned the attention of scholars, amongst others, in the discipline of International Relations, to their influence on global developments. Consequently, theories, such as the theory of soft power, have started to examine these actors. A significant religious actor in the international scene is the Roman Catholic Church, which possesses a unique tripartite institutional structure. Concerning human rights, the Catholic Church seeks to influence the development of human rights in light of its own interpretations of rights. This thesis will explore in more detail the role of the Catholic Church in the development of international human rights, focusing on religious soft power, and in particular, the figure of the pope. It aims to show how and why the pope, as the head of the complex institution of the Catholic Church, plays a significant role in shaping human rights through his soft power. My work will start by assessing the foreign policy of the Holy See and framing its integration of human rights. Since the pope is a crucial agent in the diplomacy of the Holy See, the thesis will then analyze papal soft power and lay out a set of tools to which the pope resorts in order to exert soft power. In a case study, these tools will be examined in relation to pope Francis’ use of soft power to influence the issues of human rights vis-a-vis climate change.
Second semester University: University of Southern Denmark/Danish Institute for Human Rights
international relations, Catholic Church, foreign policy, human rights