The relationes ad limina of the German Bishops
From Post-War Emergency to Confronting the ‘Double’ Materialist Threat (1948-58)
The paper analyses the content of the relationes ad limina drawn up by German bishops between 1948 and 1958. In their abundance of information, these documents make it possible, among other things, to shed light on the episcopate’s view of the material and moral condition of the German Catholic population in the immediate post-war period and in the 1950s, as well as on the situation of the Catholic Church in the two German states (FRG and GDR) separated by the ‘Iron Curtain’. In the last years of Pius XII’s pontificate, a cause of great concern for the ecclesiastical hierarchy was on the one hand ‘practical’ materialism in a West Germany that was experiencing a phase of rapid economic growth, and on the other dialectical materialism in an East Germany under Soviet influence.