Religious Institution as Part of Social and Economic Sphere

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-9-119-129
O. Balabeikina,
Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics, 30/32, Kanal Griboedova, St. Petersburg, 191023, Russian Federation.
A. Dmitriev,
Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics, 30/32, Kanal Griboedova, St. Petersburg, 191023, Russian Federation; 
RANEPA, Vernadskii Prosp., 82, Moscow, 119571, Russian Federation.
SGS Institut Fresenius GmbH, Heidenkampsweg, 99, Hamburg D 20097, Germany.

Received 24.03.2022. Revised 15.05.2022. Accepted 07.07.2022.

Abstract. The subject of the article is the peculiarities of functioning of the structural components of the major religious institution, the identification and substantiation of the degree of its significance in the social and economic development of a country on the example of the Roman Catholic Church of Austria (RCCA). The aim of the work is a comprehensive characterization of manifestations of economic, social, culture-forming role of the leading religious organization at the national level, using the methods of processing statistical and empirical data adopted in economic and regional-confessional studies. It is shown that in Austria, since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been a sharp decline in the number of persons who remain members of the national Christian Church. The RCCA has an annual quantitative loss in the number of parishioners: 1–1.5% of their total number. Over a 10-year period (2009–2019), the proportion of Catholic adherents in Austria has fallen from 62.2 to 56%, according to calculations based on official reports. In this study, the territorial concentration coefficient for the parishes of the RCC was calculated and gave a relatively low value, indicating the accessibility of Catholic parishes to the population in various regions of Austria in terms of social and other activities organized on their premises. This indicator remains stable over time. The RCCA is currently represented in the country by a dense network of parishes (3014 as of 2019). The basis of the church-administrative territorial division at the regional level consists of two archdioceses and seven dioceses, the boundaries of which fully coincide with the federal states of Austria. This fact allows us to raise the question of the degree of influence of RCCA structures on the development of individual regions of the country, including through the implementation of socially significant activities, partially duplicating state functions that receive budgetary funding. The RCCA also has a traditional focus on social responsibility for Christian national churches in Europe, which is related to facilitating the adaptation of migrants. Activities contributing to this goal include German as a foreign language courses in individual parishes, temporary housing, employment assistance, etc. The model of development of the confessional space in Austria, where the leading role is played by the national RCC, has a number of distinctive characteristics that condition and confirm the high importance of the religious institution in the social and economic development of the state. The presented experience of Austria can be useful for the leadership of religious organizations in Russia, European and other countries, where the leading civilizational basis is the Christian religion. 

Keywords: religious organization, economic activity, social activity, Roman Catholic Church of Austria


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For citation:
Balabeikina O., Dmitriev A., Solodyankina E. Religious Institution as Part of Social and Economic Sphere. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 9, pp. 119-129.

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