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SETTEMBRINI’S WORLD: GERMAN AND ITALIAN ANTI-CATHOLICISM IN THE AGE OF THE CULTURE WARS

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Chapter Summary

This article analyses the progressive anti-Catholicism of liberal and democratic forces that was responsible for the outbreak of the culture wars in the nineteenth century. Liberals and democrats connected anti-Catholicism with projects of bourgeois and secular modernity. They wanted to spread bourgeois values such as the belief in freedom, progress and rationality, the separation of public and private spheres, a heterosexual matrix and modern work ethics compatible with industrial capitalism. Moreover, they aimed to secularise modern societies: to privatise religion; to differentiate religion from other spheres of such as politics, science and arts; or to substitute faith with knowledge. I will position this progressive anti-Catholicism within the European context of the culture wars. I will first define these transnational conflicts and the crucial role played by Catholicism, then compare the anti-Catholicism within the culture wars of different confessional and national contexts – Germany and Italy – and finally explore cross-border aspects such as anti-clerical media transfers and scandals, Orientalist constructions of a Catholic ‘Other’, and the appropriation of these anti-Catholic theories of secularisation by social scientists after the culture wars.1

10.1163/9789401209632_005
/content/books/b9789401209632s005
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