School of Humanities



Marco Ceccarelli

Phone: (+61 4) 2142 0937

Start date

Mar 2010

Submission date

Jul 2014


Marco Ceccarelli


A Clash or a Dialogue between Civilizations? Catholic responses to Islamic Terrorism through the works of the Jesuit-Roman journal 'La Civilta` Cattolica


My thesis considers Catholic official and unofficial discourse and its response to Islamic terrorism. While the numerous and well publicised political studies on the issue of Islamic terrorism, especially since the events of 9/11, have received much public attention, the scholarly debate emerging from Catholic intellectuals, particularly those writing in the Jesuit-Roman journal La Civiltà Cattolica has largely been ignored. I intend to fill this gap in knowledge, and in Catholic political culture, by drawing attention to the works of Catholic scholars documenting and commenting on the link between Islam and terrorist violence. My argument will be fore-grounded by a survey of the western academic discourse on Islamic terrorism and by an analysis of the tradition of Catholic thought on political violence and on the Islamic religion in general. The subsequent, interpretative, section of my thesis will focus on the post 9/11 Catholic discourse which questions the nature of Islamic terrorism, its motivations and proposes ways in which this “clash of civilisations” can be avoided.

Why my research is important

This research distinguishes itself from other political studies of Islamic terrorism by considering the intellectual thought of another monotheistic religion, namely Catholicism, and its suggestions regarding this contemporary issue. The project also contributes to the general search for an understanding of contemporary religiously motivated terrorist violence, its motivations and considers the possibilities of its defeat.


  • Australian Post-graduate Award
  • Cassamarca Scholarship