The Church hoped, by "putting young priests into secular clothes and letting them work in factories, to regain the confidence of the French working class, which [had] almost completely abandoned the Catholic faith. In , Pius XII in an apostolic exhortation on the priestly life expressed "reservations and suspicions of the worker-priests …"  Loew's May report defending the movement, written to Giovanni Montini future Pope Paul VI , the assistant Cardinal Secretary of State , was not well received. Many of the priests joined in campaigns for improved pay and conditions and the movement became prominent in the industrial unrest of and This resulted in the factory owners complaining to the Catholic Church that the priests were being divisive by supporting the unions.
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The French bishops informed the worker-priests that they must return to their parishes. About 50, however, chose to stay on at their work. Moreover, by , of some 90 priests, 10 had married, and about 15 were working with the communists. In November , all worker priests were recalled and required to leave their work and unions.
In , priests were allowed to return to the industrial workplaces, and in the s there were about 2, priests of the workers mission in France, although they were aging in line with the wider population of Catholic priests in that country. However, the worker priests had gained certain insights about the alienation of the Church from the modern world and the poor from their experience as workers. Textbooks The Oregon Room - Well described books!
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Western European Liberation Theology: The First Wave (1924-1959)
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Science sellers 76, items Shop. In concentrating on various Catholic thinkers, Horn paints a vivid picture of a critical and questioning body of thought which either fed into or was deliberated at Vatican II, which emboldened politically and socially committed Catholics in its wake. Through the course of this examination, three currents emerge. First, Horn addresses ecclesiological issues of the structure of the church, both between priests and the episcopacy and between clergy and laity.
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In fact, the concomitant tension between hierarchy and egalitarianism is a recurring theme throughout the work as a whole. Horn is careful not to set up any binary opposition between a conservative episcopacy and radical church grass roots; nonetheless, he places repeated emphasis on the popular initiatives which ran quickly ahead of what church superiors deemed permissible and whose energies were dissipated as they were subsequently reined in. Second, Horn discusses a theological basis, stressing the imperative of an enhanced awareness of a Christian duty as an active component in the building of this world, in the here and now, engagement as well as commitment to emancipation, which in turn, is connected to the ultimate destiny of humanity and salvation.
Rather than relying on pre-established and traditional doctrine to judge present-day reality, Catholic believers were enjoined to trust in modern scholarly investigatory methods before making value judgements on the phenomena of the contemporary world Such was the spark for a flurry of engagement with sociological, historical, and anthropological approaches, including radical and Marxist traditions. In what ways, then, did these trends of thought manifest themselves or translate into developments within European Catholicism, approximately between the early s and mid- s?
This includes what he identifies as the second wave of worker priests, who followed in the steps of those who in the s and s had pioneered the practice of taking up full-time blue-collar labor with a mission to reversing the de-Christianization of the working class. Horn discusses the increased numbers of worker priests in Belgium and France in this period, and their tendency to sympathise more with New Left movements rather than older trade unions and Left parties favored by the first wave.
Yet it was their Italian counterparts who set new standards of militancy, despite not getting off the ground until While the conflicts these often entailed with national episcopacies is well dealt with by Horn, it would have been interesting to know more about the concrete ways in which worker-priests engaged with their fellow workers, rather than their rationale for doing so. Another instructive example examined is that of the Septuagint group in the Netherlands, revealing of not simply what positions were held by radical Catholics, but also the processes of formulating them and their reception.
Those energies, as had become clear by the early s, were in the end largely dissipated with little gain. Next, Horn examines spontaneous ecclesial communities, or, base communities, albeit only in the Italian case. He reveals a rich culture of such informal associations, which combined ecclesial and social action outside of the regular channels of the church.
Its red priest Don Marinas officiated at the unprecedented marriage ceremony in September of two couples, which propelled the Torinese base community to national fame. Both bridegrooms were priests who, in a stark challenge to church procedure, refused to renounce their ordination.
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