laicism

(Latin: laicus, lay)

Exclusive administration of the affairs of the church by lay-men. Anti-clerical proponents of a separation of Church and State laicize, by measures of governmental supervision and control, functions that for ages belonged to the Church: education, marriage, hospitals, and charity organizations and maintenance of parishes, churches, convents and other religious institutions. Historically it appeared under various forms: Gallicanism, Febronianism, Josephinism. In more recent times laicization has also been called secularization, e.g., the anti-religious laws of France and Mexico. A laicistic program, denying the value of religious ideals for the civic, political, and social life of man, prevents the Church from functioning beyond the vestibule of her temples of worship.

New Catholic Dictionary

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