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JOSEPH MAUSBACH (1860-1931) AND HIS ROLE IN THE PUBLIC LIFE OF THE EMPIRE AND THE WEIMAR REPUBUC BY Wilhelm Rlbhegge* Translated by Ralph Keen Among the archives of the University of Münster is an unusual condolence document. Numerous letters of sympathy were sent upon the death on January 3 1 , 193 1 , ofJoseph Mausbach, a moral theologian and cathedral provost who for almost forty years had taught at Münster.1 The Cardinal Secretary of State, Eugenio PaceUi, who had been papal nuncio in Germany (1917-1929) and would later become Pope Pius XII, assessed the loss suffered not only by the faculty or the Bishopric of Miinster/'but aU of Catholic Germany."2 The dean ofthe EvangeUcal Theological Faculty wrote to the dean of the neighboring CathoUc Theological Faculty: "With the senior member of your faculty has departed one of the most notable personaUties of German CathoUcism, one of the best-known CathoUc theologians of Germany, a defender of the Christian faith among the German people, a leader in the defense against the present-day powers hostUe to Christianity."5 *Herr Ribhegge is professor ofmodern German and European history in the University of Münster. 'Universitätsarchiv Münster, Katholisch-theologische Fakultät, Kondolenzakte zum Tode von Prof. Dr.Joseph Mausbach, 1931. 2Ibid. 5IbId. Biographical treatments include: "Joseph Mausbach," in Mautz, BiographischBibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, V, 1071-1077; Josef Rief, "Joseph Mausbach," in Theologische Realenzyklopädie, XXIII, 283-286. A contemporary appreciation, with a bibliography of ninety-four titles, is Georg Schreiber,foseph Mausbach (1861-193T): Sein Wirken für Kirche und Staat (Münster, 1931); Eduard Hegel, Geschichte der Katholisch-Theologischen Fakultät Münster 1 773-1964 (2 vols.; Münster, 1966-1971). See also the critique of Mausbach's political writings during World War I in Horst Hermann ,"Deutschland darf den Willen Gottes vollstrecken! Katholische Kriegsdoktrin von 1914-1918 an der Universität Münster," in 200 fahre zwischen Dom und Schloss, ed. Lothar Kurz (Münster, 1980), pp. 34-46. 11 12JOSEPH MAUSBACH (1860-1931) AND HIS ROLE IN THE PUBLIC LIFE Almost aU the documents point to the role that Mausbach played in German pubUc Ufe. Together with a coUeague from the CathoUc Theological Faculty at Münster, Franz Hitze, Mausbach was a delegate to the Weimar National Assembly in 1919 as weU as a leading member of its constitutional committee. He co-operated in the preparation of the articles of the Weimar Constitution dealing with the relation of church and state, which were incorporated into the Basic Law of the Federal RepubUc of Germany in 1949.This legislation was seen as a significant historical compromise after the coUapse of the state church in the wake of the revolution of 1918. It was a compromise achieved among social democrats, Uberals, and conservatives; between Protestants and CathoUcs; and between the mainline churches and the smaU reUgious communities: a distinct advance, accompanying the transition from German society under the Empire to the modern democracy of the twentieth century. Mausbach became a professor in 1892 at age 32; his appointment, like that of the young CathoUc social reformer Franz Hitze to the newly created chair of"Christian social science" in 1893, came at a time when the Münster Academy was transforming itself into a university. The official in charge of higher education for the Prussian Ministry of Culture, Friedrich Althoff, strove to modernize Prussian higher education during his administration (1882-1907) and thereby also supported the work of younger Catholic academics, in order to facilitate the integration of CathoUcs into the new empire after the Kulturkampf.4 Thus Mausbach 's academic career in the Empire advanced without evident problems or hindrances. But his life, so far as it reflects pubUc affairs, was beset with conflicts which cannot now be easily imagined: ecclesiasticalreUgious , spiritual, poUtical, national, and international. It was Mausbach's official calling to take a position with regard to aU these conflicts, for his teaching responsibUities in Münster were moral theology and apologetics.5 4Charles McClelland, State, Society and University in Germany, 1700-1914 (Cambridge , 1980),pp. 281-283; Fritz K. Ringer,Die Gelehrten.Der Niedergang der deutschen Mandarine 1890-1933 (Munich, 1987), p...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 11-41
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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