Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review
Le Secolarizzazioni Nel Sacro Romano Impero E Negli Antichi Stati Italiani: Premesse, Confronti, Conseguenze / Säkularisationsprozesse Im Alten Reich Und in Italien: Voraussetzungen, Vergleiche, Folgen
Late Modern Le secolarizzazioni nel Sacro Romano Impero e negli antichi stati italiani: premesse, confronti, conseguenze / Säkularisationsprozesse im Alten Reich und in Italien: Voraussetzungen, Vergleiche, Folgen. Edited by Claudio Donati and Helmut Flachenecker. [Annali dell'Istituto storico italogermanico inTrento. Contributi/Beiträge, 16.] (Bologna: Società éditrice il Mulino. 2005. Pp. 337. euro24.00.)
The secularization of Church property in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, its motives and causes, the way in which it happened, and its results and implications add up to a theme of immense importance. The year 2003 saw many conferences and exhibitions held to mark the bicentenary of one of the two largest instances, the seizure by states of all church property except that of parishes under the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss [RDHS] promulgated in 1803, bringing an end to virtually all church-states, monasteries, and other major Catholic foundations throughout Germany. This collection of papers derives from a meeting held at Bressanone on March 6-8, 2003.
As is to be expected from the list of contributors, the quality of the contributions is high, and the theme is treated broadly. Claudio Donati's introductory essay, while whetting one's appetite for the later pieces, also contains valuable remarks on defining the concept of "secularization" understood more generally, both as involving more countries and as referring to a vast process of "disenchantment" (Entzauberung, disincantamento) affecting other religions, Continents, and periods. These general issues are taken up again in the final essay, by Paolo Prodi, which battles with their significance today in the broadest terms, not excluding globalization. …