Abstract and Keywords
Beginning with the French Revolution and the Enlightenment and their effects on the political life and systems of Europe, this chapter discusses the broader impact of the collapse of the political systems in Germany, the modernization of the regimes, as well as the attempts at restoration after the defeat of Napoleon. The author examines conservative and neo-confessional movements, as well as the increasing secularization of societies in Western Europe. Following the increasing success of nationalism in the Austrian, Russian, and Turkish Empires and in the Italian peninsula, the chapter traces its impact on the development of ultramontanism. Responses by Christian thinkers to political transformations are grouped under the three headings of accommodation, reaction, and escape. The chapter concludes by suggesting that the growing autonomy of both the political and ecclesial systems provided the background for the increasing irrelevance of the churches in the twentieth century.
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