Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Bund Oder Schar-Verband Oder Pfarrjugend? Katholische Jugendarbeit Im Erzbistum Paderborn Nach 1945

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Bund Oder Schar-Verband Oder Pfarrjugend? Katholische Jugendarbeit Im Erzbistum Paderborn Nach 1945

Article excerpt

Bund oder Schar-Verband oder Pfarrjugend? Katholische jugendarbeit im Erzbistum Paderborn nach 1945. By Matthias Schulze. [Paderborner Studien zur jugendarbeit, band 1.] (Paderborn: BDKJ [Bund der Deutschen Katholischen jugend] Verlag. 2001. Pp. 420.)

In a revision of his dissertation, Matthias Schulze provides a superb organizational history of the Catholic youth organizations in the diocese of Paderborn for the years directly following World War II. In particular, he focuses on the decisions that led to the creation of the BDKJ, Bund der Deutschen Katholischen jugend (League of the German Catholic Youth), and the conflicts that ensued between diocesan officials, national officials in Catholic youth work, and representatives of individual, semi-autonomous youth organizations themselves.

Schulze begins by asking whether the year 1945 marked a restoration or a new beginning in Catholic youth work. Ultimately, he concludes that these years did not represent a decisive break. Instead, the years 1936/7 served as a critical caesura, when church officials were forced to restructure youth work fundamentally after Nazi officials dissolved a vast network of religious youth organizations that brought together more than 1.5 million young Catholics. Prior to 1936-7, Catholic youth work served as a melange of independent ancillary organizations, groups in the tradition of the youth movement, and ordinary parish groups. These groups were often demonstratively active in the public realm. They marched with flags, banners, and uniforms, proclaiming their Catholic identity to the public. After 1937, church groups were forced to forswear the public sphere and retreat to the confines of the church. As a result of this process, which Schluze and others have termed "Verkirchlichung," membership shrank, but those who remained found their commitment to the Church palpably strengthened. The years after 1945 marked both a restoration and a new beginning. …

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