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362BOOK reviews Political Catholicism in Europe, 1918-1965. Edited by Tom Buchanan and Martin Conway. (New York: Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press. 1996. Pp. ix, 312. $85.00.) Compare the number of major English-language books on European poUtical CathoUcism with those on socialism or fascism. This is not an issue of quality, since the field is distinguished by such able general studies as Michael Fogarty's and by admirable monographs from Richard Webster, R. E. M. Irving, Noel Cary, and others. But whUe such works merit praise as high as that bestowed on any books on sociaUsm, the number of studies does not do justice to one of the most important phenomena of our century. One explanation for the dearth of English-language works on European poUtical CathoUcism is that it is a subject largely foreign to most of the English-speaking nations, with Ireland as the clear exception. Although CathoUc parties have made themselves felt and even dominated politics in many European (and LatinAmerican) nations, they have never constituted a real force Ln North America or Britain. Another reason might be political Catholicism's sUppery nature. It does not fit easUy into the dominant liberal-fascist-marxist scheme of twentieth-century Anglo-American political thought. For this, poUtical CathoUcism bears some of the blame. It has manifested itsetf aU over the spectrum, from Salazar's Estado Novo to Sturzo's Partitopopolare , from Maritain to Maurras. This diversity is addressed in Political Catholicism in Europe, 1918-1965, edited by Tom Buchanan and Martin Conway. The two recognize the differences within the world of Catholic poUtics but add that, nevertheless, a "distinctive CathoUc tradition has been evident in many—if not aU—of the countries of Europe . . . and that significant simUarities existed between these manifestations ofpoUtical CathoUcism for it to be possible to consider it as a European phenomenon" (p. 6). If our studies of Marxism can include Stalin, Mao, and Gramsci.then why couldn't a survey ofpoUtical Catholicism embrace Ignaz Seipel and Giuseppe Dossetti? Buchanan and Conway have assembled an impressive group of essays. Along with Conway's introduction, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Ireland are represented. AU ofthe essays are first rate, although they are not uniform. This is inevitable. The 1918 and 1965 dates, for example, are not hard and fast and are quite rightly manipulated by the authors to make their essays more complete. In the Spanish case, for instance, 1975 makes more sense than 1965. Europe's 1918 to 1965 landscape, furthermore , is crossed by a very high waU—the war years from 1939 to 1945. And although aU chapters cover the ¦whole span, most of them lean predominantly into the earUer, though shorter, era before World War II. This tempers our understanding of poUtical CathoUcism because, in most countries during the 1920's and 1930's, the subject cannot be considered without reference to its relationship to the radical right. WhUe some leaders such as Sturzo opposed fascism , others made deals with it and have justly drawn criticism from the left. On the other hand, for the most part, poUtical CathoUcism after World War II was BOOK REVIEWS363 different. UsuaUy as Christian Democracy, its record was cleaner and, with the possible exception of Belgium, it achieved more success in the fifty years after 1945 than during the thirty years before it. Of course, critics stUl note, as does Karl-Egon Lonne in his essay, that postwar Christian Democrats StiU leaned toward conservatism. Lonne sees this in part as a result of the triumph ofJesuit personalist thought over Dominican Christian socialism. John PoUard also recounts the faUure of the ItaUan DCs left wing during the 1950's, or perhaps more exactly, the Party's reluctance to experiment. The ItaUan case, especiaUy, begs the need to carry the analyses past the mid-1960's and end with the catastrophe of the 1990's. Some chapters maintain a strictly poUtical focus while others, particularly the one on the Netherlands by Paul Luykx, enrich the discussion with considerations of political Catholicism's social impact. The place of the Holy See, furthermore, is sometimes missing in the analyses. Although part of Conway...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 362-363
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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