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Title: Between Catechism and Revolution: Poland, France, and the Story of Catholicism and Socialism in Europe, 1878-1958
Authors: Kosicki, Piotr H.
Advisors: Gross, Jan T
Rabinbach, Anson G
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: activism
Subjects: History
European history
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This work examines European Catholicism’s response to socialism between 1878 and 1958 through the specific experience of Polish and French thinkers and activists. Central to the interaction between Catholicism and socialism in <italic>fin-de-siècle</italic> and 20<super>th</super>-century Europe was the goal of social justice declared by both Catholics and socialists. These two forces thus competed to address what had become popularly known by the second half of the 19<super>th</super> century as the “social question”: what to do about the growing masses of working poor emerging throughout Europe as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. The key figures who emerged within the Catholic universe as capable of making or breaking the Catholic response to the social question were individuals operating at the crossroads of intellectual and sociopolitical activism, from Rev. Wladyslaw Kornilowicz, to Jacques Maritain, to Emmanuel Mounier, to Tadeusz Mazowiecki. What Marxists termed to be the “intellectual vanguard” preparing the groundwork for a dictatorship of the proletariat had its counterpart in a range of Catholic activists who operated in a space defined by both catechism and revolution. Within this space, the activists pursued a range of projects with the declared intent of saving the souls of Europe’s working poor by either converting or “Christianizing” the continent's socialist enterprises. As the 20<super>th</super> century advanced, the laity increasingly assumed control over the Catholic vanguard, forming its own horizontal linkages across national boundaries independently of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. In so doing, the Catholic vanguard rewrote the ground-rules of how Catholicism functioned, intellectually, institutionally, and socially. These initiatives — encompassing face-to-face dialogue as well as guerrilla warfare, academic philosophy as well as high-circulation press, mainstream politics as well as radical peace activism — trained one eye on the official line dictated by the Holy See while experimenting with new forms of Catholic apostolate. Therein lay the bedrock of Catholicism’s place in the modern world, forged as a response to the social question that integrated, to varying degrees, both tradition and revolution: a new catechism that could speak to an industrialized world.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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