Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Katholiken Auf Die Barrikaden? Euroaische Revolutionen Und Deutsche Katholische Presse 1815-1848

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Katholiken Auf Die Barrikaden? Euroaische Revolutionen Und Deutsche Katholische Presse 1815-1848

Article excerpt

Katholiken auf the Barrikaden? Europaische Revolutionen and deutsche katholische Presse 1815-1848. By Bernhard Schneider. [Veroffentlichungen der Kommission fur Zeitgeschichte, Reihe B: Forschungen, Band 84.] (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoningh. 1998. Pp. 413. DM 108.00.)

Although the title's reference to barricades might lead one to believe that this revised German Habilitationschrift will examine Catholic participation in Europe's "Age of Revolution," Bernhard Schneider focuses not on Catholic action, but Catholic words. Specifically, he traces the contours of the discourse on revolution that emerged in German Europe's Catholic press between 1815 and 1848. As a group, Schneider contends, the Catholic newspapers and journals tended to brand "revolution" as a negative quality, dangerous to the socialpolitical order as well as the interests of the Catholic Church. Indeed, by the 1840's, most Catholic publicists had concluded that the very health of society and state depended on a viable Catholicism, the only true and effective protection against the scourge of revolution.

In and of itself, Schneider's representation of the general Catholic attitude toward revolution in the decades between 1815 and 1848 breaks little new historical ground. But his analysis of the reception of the French Revolution and Napoleonic era, on the one hand, and the French and Belgian Revolutions of 1830, on the other, meaningfully advances our understanding of the German press and German Catholicism. Schneider's investigation highlights the pre1848 division of German Catholicism into three theological camps: enlightened (aufkldrisch), ultramontane, and Hermesian. He shows that in their respective papers and journals, each group elaborated a reading of revolution, both to justify its own theological position and to denigrate those of its Catholic (and Protestant) competitors. Schneider argues that at no time did this discourse pretend to offer a more scholarly and "objective" analysis of the recent past. Rather, it served to achieve narrow, pragmatic goals of the particular camp.

Katboliken auf die Barrikaden also develops a fuller picture of how the German press, even in the face of heavy censorship and legal restrictions, shaped social and political consciousness between 1815 and 1848. Schneider's description of the organs of the Catholic press in the first chapter prepares the ground for the subsequent discussion. And it is one of the best sections in the volume. …

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