Catholic Revival in the Age of the Baroque: Religious Identity in Southwest Germany, 1550-1750

By Marc R. Forster | Go to book overview

Conclusion

The creation of Catholic identity in Southwest Germany was closely intertwined with the development and nature of Baroque Catholicism. Sincethe 1970s, historians havehad much to say about “confessionalization, ” emphasizing the role of the state and church institutions in imposing religious conformity. Other studies, like this one, point to the appeal of Catholic practices and argue that the wider population played a central role in developing their own identity as Catholics. All historians point to thevitality and popularity of Baroque Catholicism and the churchliness of the people as evidence of the strength of popular Catholic confessionalism.

A clearer understanding of what Baroque Catholicism was and how it developed should improve our understanding of long-term developments in German Catholicism. The chronology of popular Catholicism in Germany indicates several periods of religious revival, beginning with the intensification of religious life in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.1 The religious enthusiasm of Baroque Catholicism between 1650 and 1750 was the next stage of Catholic regeneration. Historians have also identifieda revival of popular Catholicismfrom about 1850 until the First World War.2 These periods of Catholic resurgence were interrupted by crises, the first caused by the Protestant Reformation and the second by the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and secularization.

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1
Euan Cameron, The European Reformation (Oxford, 1991), esp. ch. 1; Bernd Moeller, “Piety in Germany around 1500” in Steven Ozment (ed. ) The Reformation in Medieval Perspective (Chicago, 1971), pp. 50–75; John Bossy, Christianity in the West (Oxford, 1985), esp. Part I; Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars. Traditional Religion in England 1400–1580 (New Haven, 1992); Robert W. Scribner, “Elements of Popular Belief” in Thomas A. Brady Jr., Heiko Oberman, and James D. Tracy (eds. ), Handbook of European History 1400–1600. Late Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation, Vol. I, (Leiden, 1994), pp. 238–242.
2
Margaret Lavinia Anderson, “The Limits of Secularization: On the Problem of the Catholic Revival in Nineteenth-Century Germany” Historical Journal 38(1995), pp. 647–670; Jonathan Sperber, Popular Catholicism in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Princeton, 1984); David Blackbourn, Marpingen. Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Nineteenth-Century Germany (New York, 1994).

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Catholic Revival in the Age of the Baroque: Religious Identity in Southwest Germany, 1550-1750
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • New Studies in European History *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Maps ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Counter-Reformation Offensive, 1550–1650 18
  • Chapter 2 - The Sacral Landscape and Pilgrimage Piety 61
  • Chapter 3 - Religious Practice 106
  • Chapter 4 - Clericalism in the Villages 152
  • Chapter 5 - The Communal Church in German Catholicism 185
  • Chapter 6 - Reformers and Intermediaries, 1650–1750 208
  • Conclusion 241
  • Bibliography 245
  • Index 257
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