Religious Institutes and Catholic Culture in 19th-And 20th-Century Europe

By Misner, Paul | The Catholic Historical Review, Autumn 2014 | Go to article overview

Religious Institutes and Catholic Culture in 19th-And 20th-Century Europe


Misner, Paul, The Catholic Historical Review


.Religious Institutes and Catholic Culture in 19th- and 20th-Century Europe. Edited by Urs Altermatt, Jan De Maeyer, and Franziska Metzger. [KADOC Studies on Religion, Culture and Society, 13.] (Leuven: Leuven University Press. 2014. Pp. 216. euro49,50 paperback. ISBN 978-94-6270-000-0.)

The title of this volume of eleven contributions by eleven authors is exact and informative, once the meaning of "Religious Institutes" becomes clear. The term refers to congregations and orders of religious sisters, brothers, and priests. Most of the essays, all in English, treat the intellectual or broader cultural influence of these religious institutions in their different settings. They treat cases in Belgium and Switzerland, the home countries of the editors, as well as France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia. In their framing pieces, Altermatt and Metzger suggest that historians and sociologists of Catholicism have not yet uncovered the broader significance and implications of these foundations for the shape and nature of modern European Catholicism. Left unspoken is the relevance to comparative church history of North America.

The individual essays will be of interest not only to specialists in the national history of the countries treated and to connoisseurs of specific congregations but also to scholars of such fields as journals of opinion, education (especially convent schools), and retreats for forming a working-class elite. The volume is part of a larger undertaking housed principally in the KADOC series. Volume 2 of the series set the stage: Religious Institutes in Western Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Historiography, Research and Legal Position, edited by Jan de Maeyer, Sofie Leplae, and Jochim Schmiedl (2004). Students of religious history and cultural studies will find a wealth of careful scholarship and bibliography offered in these publications {cf. …

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