|Silesian Apostasy-Priest and Nationalist|
Johannes Ronge (+1887)
(kreuznet) German Catholicism was a phenomenon of the 19th century. It was also called the German Catholic movement.
Since the middle of the 1840s the movement was active in the German Federation.
"Rigid and Reactionary"
The German Catholics did not want to follow the faith of the Church any longer.
They considered these to be "rigid and reactionary".
The initial event of their rise was a protest against the display of the Holy Robe by Bishop Wilhelm Arnoldi (+1864) in Trier.
This happened in 1844.
Nationalism Instead of Religion
The German Catholic Movement was affected by the ideology of Social Liberalism and German Nationalism.
After the collapse of the nationalistic March Revolution in 1848/49, they were initially thrown in the crate by the anti-nationalistic Principalities.
German Catholicism formed itself together with the originally protestant Lichtfreunden [Friends of Light] in a "Free Religion Movement". This finally disintegrated.
The Back Ground
After the coronation of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. (+1861) in Prussia, the Kulturkamp [cultural war against Catholicism] and the persecution of Catholics ceased.
The most visible expression of this was the allowance of Trier's pilgrimage to the "Holy Robe".
It was an indescribable success.
Within fifty days, half a million pilgrims drew near the reliquary.
A Luther too Late
The Silesian apostasy-priest and Nationalist, Johannes Ronge (+1887), protested with a public outcry against this "charade".
That was an opportunity for him to turn against the allegedly "tyrannical power of the Roman hierarchy."
Ronge fell into the role of a second Martin Luther in the eyes of Catholics. He found, none the less, an echo chamber in the anti-Church media.
Modern to the Death
The movement initiated by Ronge contrived to make the overwrought Protestantism new.
It subjected Biblical exegesis to a rationalist ideology, which it asserted absolutistically as the only norm.
He rejected the Catholic Magisterium and Papal Primacy.
Naturally he disparaged the language of the Church, the veneration of Saints, Penance [Confession], and above all, celibacy and the traditional form of the Liturgy.
It was merely baptism and the "Meal" which he recognized as Sacraments.
He also opposed the Church's practice regarding mixed marriages.
A New Morality
Under Ronges' leadership the last German Catholic Council too place in Leipzig in 1845.
It was organized by the soon to be hung Nationalist, Robert Blum (+1848) from Vienna.
Blum was a media boss and a skirt chaser, who impregnated many women and left them in the lurch.
And then the Spirit Left
The center of German Catholicism were the industrial regions in Silesia and Saxony as well as in Rhineland.
In 1847 there were around 250 communities with about 60,000 members, a quarter of whom were former protestants.
The German Catholic Movement was not religiously oriented, rather it was a religious breakaway movement. It would only last for a few years.