A Study of German Catholicism in the Mid-Nineteenth Century with Special Emphasis on Bishop Kettler and Dr. Dollinger

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Germany, Catholicism, Bishop Kettler, Dr. Dollinger, history, nineteenth century European society


Catholic Studies | European History | European Languages and Societies | History of Christianity | Social History


In order to understand why the years 1848 to 1870 were such dramatic ones for the Catholic Church in Germany as well as throughout the continent, one must first understand the position of the Church in nineteenth century society.

The Catholic Church traditionally was, and is, recognized as being of conservative outlook. This outlook was a product not only of her teachings and attitudes, of her belief in eternal values, but also of her structure. The Church emphasized authority and was structured in a hierarchical and authoritarian manner. When she spoke, she expected all her members to listen and to obey. This would have been alright, had she spoken only on matters which raised no conflict between church and state authority. For any organization so highly involved in the affairs of men, and itself constituting the ruling body of part of the Italian states, this was, of course, impossible. For many centuries she had gotten her way and even after the Reformation retained much of her influence. In Germany, the Thirty Years War with its principle of cuius regio, eius religio still left her powerful in areas ruled by Catholic princes. At the Congress of Vienna the German Confederation of thirty-nine states was created under Austrian presidency. Austria, being predominantly Catholic thus led the German states, Catholic and Protestant, until the Revolutions of 1848, and in a sense until 1866.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status


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