Western European Liberation Theology, 1924-1959: The First Wave

Western European Liberation Theology, 1924-1959: The First Wave

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by Gerd-Rainer Horn
     
 

ISBN-10: 0199204497

ISBN-13: 9780199204496

Pub. Date: 01/15/2009

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Western European Liberation Theology is the first comprehensive survey of the development of a distinct, progressive variant of Catholicism in twentieth-century Western Europe. This Left Catholicism served to lay the basis for the subsequent events and evolutions associated with Vatican II.

Initially emerging within the boundaries of Catholic Action, fueled by

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Overview

Western European Liberation Theology is the first comprehensive survey of the development of a distinct, progressive variant of Catholicism in twentieth-century Western Europe. This Left Catholicism served to lay the basis for the subsequent events and evolutions associated with Vatican II.

Initially emerging within the boundaries of Catholic Action, fueled by the growing power and self-confidence of the Catholic laity, a series of challenges to received wisdom and an array of novel experiments were launched in various corners of Western Europe. The moment of liberation from Nazi occupation and world war in 1944/45 turned out to be the highpoint of these optimistic paradigm shifts.

Concentrating on interrelated developments in theology, Catholic politics, and apostolic social action, Gerd-Rainer Horn integrates evidence from Italian, French, and Belgian national contexts. Drawing on his research in over twenty archives between Leuven and Rome, he highlights the role of organizations, social movements, and intellectual trends. The pivotal contributions of key individuals are assessed, from theologians such as Jacques Maritain and Emmanuel Mounier, to the millenarian activist priests, Don Zeno Saltini and Don Primo Mazzolari. In conclusion Horn suggests that first-wave Western European Left Catholicism served as an inspiration - and constituted a prototype - for subsequent Third World Liberation Theology.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199204496
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
01/15/2009
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Plates x

Introduction 1

1 Catholic Action: A Twentieth-Century Social Movement (1920s-1930s) 5

A Vicar in Laken 5

The Condition of Young Workers in Belgium 8

The Innovative Spirit of the KAJ/JOC 12

From Social to Spiritual Engagement 18

The Birth of the French JOC 22

Divergent Paths in Belgium and France 25

Inner Dynamic towards the Left 28

Defending the Catholic Faith in the Nineteenth Century 30

The Social Doctrine of the Church 34

Italian Catholic Action 38

Catholic Action and Political Action 41

'Autonomous Beings' 45

Learning Self-Expression 50

2 Theology and Philosophy in the Age of Fascism, Communism, and World War 54

The Crisis of Modernism 54

The New Christendom, Mark I 56

The Primacy of the Spiritual 59

A Second Renaissance 62

A New Mysticism 66

The Mystical Body of Christ 69

Catholic Action and the Mystical Body of Christ 72

The Competition of Mystiques 76

From a Reinterpretation of the Past towards a Design for the Future 79

Towards a Theology of the Laity 81

The Promotion of the Laity 84

Jacques Maritain 89

The New Christendom, Mark II 92

The Socialist Alternative 95

The Personalism of Emmanuel Mounier 98

Anarchism, Communism, and the New Left 101

Marie-Dominique Chenu 103

Towards a Theology of Labour 106

3 The Politics of Left Catholicism in the 1940s 110

The 'First' Christian Democracy 110

Christian Socialism in Post-War Germany 113

A Catholic Shift to the Left: Belgium and France 116

Il Gruppo Dossettiano 120

The Birth of the Sinistra Cristiana 124

Marxism and Catholicism 125

Forging an Anti-Fascist Consensus? 130

The Road towards Self-Dissolution of the PSC 133

TheAchievements of the Christian Communists 134

The Partito Cristiano-Sociale 136

The Organizational Trajectory of the PCS 141

Don Primo Mazzolari 144

A Preacher in the Piazza 146

Preparing an Event 149

The Convegno delle Avanguardie Cristiane 151

Don Primo's Kreuzweg 155

Don Zeno Saltini 156

The Schedule of an Agitator 159

Creating Piccoli Apostoli: Nomadelfia 165

The Movement of Human Fraternity 167

Another Stillborn Revolution 171

4 The Mouvement Populaire des Familles 175

Franco-Belgian Cooperation 175

The Ligue Ouvrière Chrétienne 177

Assuring Food on the Table 180

Production and Fashion 183

Squatting 185

Women in the MPF 187

The Mouvement and French Communism 193

The Case of Saint-Étienne 198

Efforts at United Fronts 201

Take-Off and Deconfessionalization 203

The High Point of MPF Influence 207

Post-1945 Decline 210

A Rival Organization Sponsored by the Church 213

The Belgian MPF 214

5 A Working-Class Apostolate beyond Catholic Action: Team Building, Base Communities, and Worker Priests 225

Belgian Critics of Tradition 225

La France: Pays de Mission? 227

Cardinal Suhard 232

The Mission de France 235

Cultural Immersion 242

The Mission de Paris 246

Constructing Christian Communities 252

A Fascination with Community 261

From Community Focus to Workplace Orientation 265

French Underground Priests in Nazi Germany 270

Mission de Belgique 272

The Gleichschaltung of the Worker Priests 275

The Taming of the Mission de France 280

The Mission Ouvrière 287

An Aggiornamento of the Catholic Church? 289

Conclusion 291

Two Waves of Progressive Catholicism 291

European Influence on Latin American Liberation Theology 293

The Dialectic of History 296

Bibliographic Essay 303

Index 311

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