Osterreich Und der Heilige Stuhl Im 19. Und 20. Jahrhundert

Article excerpt

Late Modern European

Osterreich und der Heilige Stubl im 19. und 20. Jabrbundert. Edited by Hans Paarhammer and Alfred Rinnerthaler. [Veroffentlichungen des internationalen Forschungszentrums fur Grundiagenforschungen der Wissenschaften Salzburg, Neue Folge, Band 78.] (Bern: Peter Lang. 2001. Pp. 600. $79.95.)

A Sammelband, this work presents the collected papers delivered at a conference held on May 18-19, 2000, in Salzburg, Austria, as the first results of an extensive research project dealing with relations between Austria and the Holy See. Several pictures of dignitaries and historians in attendance at sessions and socials show the ambitious intentions of the undertaking. And a worthwhile project it is. These twenty papers cover many aspects of an immensely rich history as strained as it was cordial, for the rise of liberalism in the nineteenth century involved great efforts to squeeze the Church out of public life that were at first resisted by the Habsburgs with the Concordat of 1855 assigning to the Church important competences such as the schools. Although Emperor Franz Joseph occupied the throne for nearly seven decades, his patronage ultimately fell to the power of domestic anticlericals. Pushed into ignoring the Concordat in the Imperial School Law of 1869, the Emperor used the definition of papal infallibility two years later as the grounds for abrogating the Concordat entirely.

One of the principal interpretive schemes underlying this volume is that the Church responded to secularization by sacralizing more and more of its life. The defensive posture of the Church became an aggressive stance against its enemies, socialists and nationalists as well as liberals. The resulting centralism stopped short of integralism but not before modernism had been condemned-- here the paper on Ludwig Wahrmund is excellent-and Protestants were alienated more than ever. Gustav Reingrabner's essay on anti-Catholicism among Austrian Protestants brings this into focus.

A few of the papers are prosopographies providing biographical data on diplomats, politicians, and church leaders, but more have to do with specific issues and themes of interest in church-state relations. Changes in ancient customs of naming and investing bishops receive attention, not only the rights of the Emperor but those of various bishops as well, although the outmoded right of the Emperor to veto the election of a pope gets scarcely a mention. …