Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Katholiken, Kirche Und Staat Als Problem der Historie: Ausgewahlte Aufsatze 1963-1992

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Katholiken, Kirche Und Staat Als Problem der Historie: Ausgewahlte Aufsatze 1963-1992

Article excerpt

Katholiken, Kirche und Staat als Problem der Historie: Ausgewahlte Aufsatze 1963-1992. By Heinz Hurten. Edited by Hubert Gruber. (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoningh. 1994. Pp. viii, 342.)

This selection of Professor Hurten's articles, compiled by friends and colleagues into a commemorative volume for his sixty-fifth birthday, is a study in conservative German Catholic thought. As the title states, the central focus of this work is church-state relations, but it is primarily a defense of the Church in twentieth-century Germany. Beginning with three articles covering medieval episcopal authority, ecclesiology at the Councils of Constance and Basel, and nineteenth-century German Catholicism respectively, the collection moves on to five articles on the Weimar period, eight on the Nazi period, and six on the Federal Republic. This volume would best serve as a compendium to Hurten's magisterial study, Deutsche Katholiken, 1918-1945 (see my review article, ante, LXX [July, 1994], 534-545).

As one would expect in a study of church-state relations, the author's arguments hinge on the definition of terms and boundaries. Critics of the Church's role in Nazi Germany have, in Hurten's estimation, failed to understand the proper political and moral boundaries of the Church in any state. Nor have they defined "opposition" or "resistance" (Widerstand or Resistenz) adequately, focusing narrowly on heroic deeds. While the Church would not politically oppose the Nazi regime by condoning revolution or rebellion, it offered the most effective resistance to the Nazi Weltanschauung. …

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