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The relationes ad limina of the German Bishops

From Post-War Emergency to Confronting the ‘Double’ Materialist Threat (1948-58)

Francesco Tacchi    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



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.

13 Dicembre 2022
03 Novembre 2022
27 Agosto 2022

Keywords: Catholic Church in GermanyGerman EpiscopateCold WarMaterialismRelationes ad limina

Copyright: © 2022 Francesco Tacchi. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.