unbekannter Gast

Christlichsoziale Bewegung#

Christian Socialist Movement: At the beginning of the 19th century first signs of the Christian Socialist movement emerged in Austria, especially in Vienna, with the Romantic "Vienna circle" around Clemens Maria Hofbauer. In 1848, the year of the Revolution, S. Brunner (with his "Wiener Kirchenzeitung", Vienna church magazine, forerunner of the Catholic press), A. Guenther, J. E. Veith, C. von Hock, W. Gaertner and J. M. Haeusle established a Christian Democrat "Catholic Association", which was governed by laymen. Even though, after the suppression of the Revolution and due to the Concordat of 1855, these young forces had again to give way to the Catholic conservatism of the nobility and church, they finally became the protagonists of the Christian Socialist movement.

In 1852 the Viennese Cardinal A. Gruscha set up journeymen´s societies along the lines of the German Kolping associations. Kosegarten planned workers' representations and health insurance systems for Catholic workers. In 1887 L. Psenner and A. Latschka founded the Christian Social Association; shortly before that, the United Christians´ partnership of convenience had emerged, in which F. Piffl, F. Stauracz, Ae. Schoepfer, A. Opitz along with K. Lueger and Prince A. Liechtenstein advocated the ideas of a Christian social reform. Baron K. von Vogelsang, spiritual father of the movement, gave it its ideological principles. Among the supporters of his ideas were R. Mayer, Count R. Belcredi, A. Gessmann, Prince A. von Liechtenstein and K. Lueger, who came from the "Austrian Reformatory Association" (Oesterreichischer Reformverein) founded by A. Schneider and Zerboni. Several social laws from the 1880s were the result of the activities of these men (e.g. protection of workers laws, industrial inspectorates). Vogelsang and Liechtenstein became the founders and spiritual leaders of the "Free Association of Catholic Social Politicians", one of the centres of Christian social reform.

The movement was further consolidated by the "General Austrian Catholic Rally" in Vienna (1889) and the social encyclical "Rerum novarum" ("Of New Things",1891) issued by Pope Leo XIII. In the confederate association of manual workers Father H. Abel fought for better co-operation between masters and journeymen. During these years the individual groups of the Christian Socialist movement, the "United Christians", the "Democrats", the "Industrial Reformers", the "Christian Socialists", the "Catholic Conservatives", gradually came closer to each other. The last decade of the 19th century was decisive for the political success of the Christian Socialist movement. 1892 L. Kunschak founded the Christian Social Labour Association, one year later the various groups were merged in the Christian Social Party led by Lueger. In 1894, on the initiative of F. M. Schindler, the first course in social politics was held in the Leo Society in Vienna. Like the party´s legendary "Entenabende" (duck evenings), these courses became the intellectual centres of the new Christian Socialist movement, the further development of which, however, was more and more intimately related with party politics, in which the conservative clergy along with the bourgeoisie, the farmers and entrepreneurs increasingly gained control. As a consequence Anton Orel, whose "Austrian Association of Working Young People" (founded 1905; from 1901 "Association of Young Austrian Christians") represented a Christian anti-capitalist youth movement in the spirit of K. von Vogelsang, had to resign from the party together with his followers; moreover, L. Kunschak had already created a counter-organisation, the "Imperial Federation of Young Christian Workers.

After World War I, A. Orel´s new "Vienna movement" aimed at a radical reduction of bourgeois influence on church and political life, as was characteristic of the beginning of the Christian Socialist movement. Further important protagonists of the Vienna movement were E. K. Winter, K. Lugmayer, J. Eberle and also O. Spann. The Vienna movement brought together diverse schools of thought which, in 1925, eventually led to the manifesto "Doctrines and Orders of the Church concerning contemporary social issues", prepared by S. Waitz and Johannes Messner and completed by the Vienna Catholic Social Assembly in 1929. Between 1934-1938 the corporate state deepened the gap between the "bourgeoisie" and the Christian Social workers.

After 1945 the basis of the Christian Socialist movement was the social pastoral letter of 1957, issued by the Austrian bishops. From 1954 the Institute for Social Politics and Social Reform organized "Vienna Social Weeks". Today´s centre of the Christian Socialist movement is the Catholic Social Academy, which works out concepts for campaigns and organises events.


Das christlich-soziale Programm. Mit Erlaeuterungen von R. Schmitz, 1932; A. Fuchs, Geistige Stroemungen in Oesterreich 1867-1918, 1919; L. Kunschak, 45 Jahre Christlich-sozialer Arbeiterverein, 1937; G. Schmitz, Die Entwicklungsgeschichte der christlich-sozialen Volksbewegung in Oberoesterreich (1875-91), doctoral thesis, Vienna 1938; H. Mueller, Sozialpolitik und christlich-soziale Bewegung, doctoral thesis, Vienna 1947; F. Funder, Vom Gestern ins Heute, 1952; Aufbruch zur christlichen Sozialreform, 1953; W. Bredendieck, Christliche Sozialreformer des 19. Jahrhunderts, 1953; A. Diamant, Die oesterreichischen Katholiken und die 1. Republik, 1960; E. Weinzierl, Die Katholische Kirche, in: E. Weinzierl and K. Skalnik, Die 2. Republik, vol. 2, 1972; J. W. Boyer, Political radicalism in late imperial Vienna, 1981; E. Weinzierl, Kirche seit 1980, in: E. Froeschl, 15 Jahre, die Oesterreich veraendert haben, 1986; E. Weinzierl, Pruefstand. Oesterreichische Katholiken und der Nationalsozialismus, 1988.