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The Catholic Historical Review 88.4 (2002) 783-784



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Österreich und der Heilige Stuhl im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Edited by Hans Paarhammer and Alfred Rinnerthaler. [Veröffentlichungen des internationalen Forschungszentrums für Grundlagenforschungen der Wissenschaften Salzburg, Neue Folge, Band 78.] (Bern: Peter Lang. 2001. Pp. 600. $79.95.)

A Sammelband, this work presents the collected papers delivered at a conference held on May 18-19, 2000, in Salzburg, Austria, as the first results of an extensive research project dealing with relations between Austria and the Holy See. Several pictures of dignitaries and historians in attendance at sessions and socials show the ambitious intentions of the undertaking. And a worthwhile project it is. These twenty papers cover many aspects of an immensely rich history as strained as it was cordial, for the rise of liberalism in the nineteenth century involved great efforts to squeeze the Church out of public life that were at first resisted by the Habsburgs with the Concordat of 1855 assigning to the Church important competences such as the schools. Although Emperor Franz Joseph occupied the throne for nearly seven decades, his patronage ultimately fell to the power of domestic anticlericals. Pushed into ignoring the Concordat in the Imperial School Law of 1869, the Emperor used the definition of papal infallibility two years later as the grounds for abrogating the Concordat entirely. [End Page 783] One of the principal interpretive schemes underlying this volume is that the Church responded to secularization by sacralizing more and more of its life. The defensive posture of the Church became an aggressive stance against its enemies, socialists and nationalists as well as liberals. The resulting centralism stopped short of integralism but not before modernism had been condemned—here the paper on Ludwig Wahrmund is excellent—and Protestants were alienated more than ever. Gustav Reingrabner's essay on anti-Catholicism among Austrian Protestants brings this into focus.

A few of the papers are prosopographies providing biographical data on diplomats, politicians, and church leaders, but more have to do with specific issues and themes of interest in church-state relations. Changes in ancient customs of naming and investing bishops receive attention, not only the rights of the Emperor but those of various bishops as well, although the outmoded right of the Emperor to veto the election of a pope gets scarcely a mention. No paper deals with the particular case of Cardinal Mariano Rampolla, whose likely election in 1903 as the successor of Leo XIII was blocked by Franz Joseph.

Two papers address the problem of marriage legislation. The Church cited the example of the United States, where the state accepts the validity of sacramental marriages without a separate civil ceremony, but the history of marriage legislation in Austria was too controversial to allow such a simple solution. Another area of interest is theology at state universities, a question whose roots lie in the Middle Ages when theology led philosophy, medicine, and law as the only departments of a university.

The papers approach the present with discussions of the Concordat of 1934 and its survival in modified form after World War II. Expropriation under the Nazis and changes in dozens of monasteries required apostolic visitations from Rome to reorganize and consolidate some institutions, the topic of a fine paper by Gerhard Winkler. A paper by Rudolph Zinnhobler deals with the tender roots of the liturgical renewal led by Pius Parsch and the youth of the Bund Neuland that found strength and confirmation in the Second Vatican Council, while another contribution by Johann Hirnsperger makes a case for the continued relevance of cathedral chapters, authorized for Innsbruck and Feldkirch but not erected, in the light of the Council's emphasis on priests' councils.

Generally written in a high form of academic German, most of the papers meet rigorous standards of scholarly research. The sources, however, are largely Austrian. This fact inevitably makes the approach one-sided despite the best intentions of the participants. Vatican sources, it seems, are still too closely guarded to provide historians a view from Rome that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 783-784
Launched on MUSE
2003-01-17
Open Access
No
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