15 August 2011

NINETY-FOURTH

"…Bismarck inaugurated what liberals dubbed the 'struggle for culture', a series of laws and police measures which aimed to bring the Catholic Church under the control of the Prussian state.  The Catholic clergy refused to co-operate with laws requiring them to undergo training at state institutions and submit clerical appointments to state approval.  Before long, those who contravened the new laws were being hounded by the police, arrested and sent to gaol.  By the mid-1870s, 989 parishes were without incumbents, 225 priests were in gaol, all Catholic religious orders apart from those involved in nursing had been suppressed, two archbishops and three bishops had been removed from office and the Bishop of Trier had died shortly after his release from nine months in prison.  What was even more disturbing was that this massive assault on the civil liberties of some 40 per cent of the population of the Reich was cheered on by Germany's liberals, who regarded Catholicism as so serious a threat to civilization that it justified extreme measures such as these."  —  Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, p.13