Clerical fascism is an ideology that combines the political and economic doctrines of fascism with clericalism. The term has been used to describe organizations and movements that combine religious elements with fascism, support by religious organizations for fascism, or fascist regimes in which clergy play a leading role.
Christian fascists focus on internal religious politics, such as passing laws and regulations that reflect their view of Christianity. Radicalized forms of Christian fascism or clerical fascism (clero-fascism or clerico-fascism) were emerging on the far-right of the political spectrum in some European countries during the interwar period in the first half of the 20th century.
Under Mussolini’s dictatorship, Roman Catholicism became the state religion of Fascist Italy.
In Northern Italy, tensions between Catholics and communists in the movement led Catholics to form the Fiamme Verdi as a separate brigade of Christian Democrats.
According to Griffin, the use of the term “clerical fascism” should be limited to “the peculiar forms of politics that arise when religious clerics and professional theologians are drawn either into collusion with the secular ideology of fascism; or, more rarely, manage to mix a theologically illicit cocktail of deeply held religious beliefs with a fascist commitment to saving the nation or race from decadence or collapse”.