(in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Giovanni Vian, University Ca'Foscari, Venice)
German Catholicism lived through a deep crisis in the years after 1900: At stake was the autonomous activity of the Catholic laity in politics, culture and society which coincided with a new openness towards protestantism. The champions of such a relativ autonomy and opening were opposed to ‚integralists‘ in theology, laity, the episcopate, and last not least the Roman Curia, which favoured a strict confessionalism and hierarchical control over all fields of Catholic life. Pope Pius X. enforced this integralist position in Italy (by dissolving the „opera dei congressi“ of the laity) and in France (by banning the christian democratic „Sillon“-movement). In Germany, however, compromises with the Roman authorities were found on all fields of contention: concerning the interdenominational character of the Christian Unions, the independence of the Centre Party from the hierarchy and also concerning the controversy about ‚Catholic literature‘. In the papal encyclical ‚Singulari quadam‘ (1912), for instance, the Christian Unions were at least ‚tolerated‘. The project puts these controversies in a European context and reconstructs the internal decision-making process of the Roman Curia in this ‚integralist controversy‘ for the first time on the basis of the entire accessible archival documentation. The outcome of the ‚integralist controversy‘ had a decisive bearing on the positioning of German Catholicism within society during the 20th century.