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"BismarckFailed To Control The Catholic Church In Germany" Discuss.

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"Bismarck Failed To Control The Catholic Church In Germany" Discuss Witold Kozlowski 6EN This essay will set out to present the reasons for Bismarck's failure to control the Catholic Church in Germany. It will mainly concentrate on the May Laws, since the Church's strong opposition to this particular legislation, was what brought about the causes of Bismarck's failure. The doctrine of papal infallibility by Pope Pius IX, published on 18 July 1870, immediately created a division within the German Catholics. The New Catholics regarded the question of papal infallibility as another of his attributes to be accepted, while the Old Catholics found this objectionable. Both sides of the dispute appealed to the state: the former for the support of the Pope's bulla; the latter for protection against the Episcopal inhibitions disallowing them to perform their functions (mainly university professors). ...read more.


The extreme measures contained in these laws were to force the 'weak' Catholics into utter submission. Without going into great detail of the May Laws the fundamental aim of this legislation was to make Germans attach more importance to the state than to the Church. This was done mainly by establishments such as: the state taking complete control over education, making Church appointments veto-able by the state, making civil marriage and state examinations for clergy (in philosophy, history and German literature) compulsory. Further on, most religious orders were closed down and the state discontinued maintenance for Catholic bishops and priests. Contrary to Bismarck's expectations, the reaction of the Church against these laws was exceptionally strong. The clerics built up a powerful and extraordinarily well-organised party, with great financial resources and influential press. This was the Catholic Centre Party, which informally already existed (since it consisted of Catholics). ...read more.


Furthermore, Bismarck failed to note that by taking over matters such as education, vetoing church appointments, etc., of the German Catholic Church, he stumbled onto the main ideas of the Catholic Church, as a whole, which was an international institution; and a powerful to that, with tremendous resources, power and influences in Europe. It was only when he faced the well-organised Catholic Centre Party, backed up by the whole Catholic Church, did he realise that his failure of controlling the Church lay in his misjudgment of the Catholics' response. Nevertheless, the government made no effort to enlist the sympathy of educated Catholics for the cause of freedom of opinion, which might have lessened the fierce and united Catholics' riposte thus leading to compromise on the issue of the May Laws, instead of complete withdrawal from the idea. Furthermore, a subtler legislation against the Catholics might have not caused such a united stance against the state hence gaining some control over the German Catholic in place of none. 1 ...read more.

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