Book Series Bibliothèque de la Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique, vol. 116

The Controversy over Integralism in Germany, Italy and France during the Pontificate of Pius X (1903-1914)

Claus Arnold, Francesco Tacchi, Giovanni Vian

  • Pages: 184 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English, French
  • Publication Year:2024

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60490-9
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60493-0
  • E-book
  • Available

The controversy over Integralism in Italy, France and Germany, in a comparative perspective, on the basis of new material from the Vatican Archives.


Claus Arnold is Professor of Medieval and Modern Church History at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
Francesco Tacchi is a post-doctoral Fellow in History of Christianity and the Churches at Ca' Foscari University of Venice.

Giovanni Vian is Professor for the History of Christianity and the Churches at Ca' Foscari University of Venice.


In the years after 1900 the autonomous activity of the Catholic laity in politics, culture and society was opposed by ‘integralists’ in theological circles, in the laity as well as in the clergy, and last but not least in the Roman Curia. The integralists favoured a strict confessionalism and hierarchical control over all fields of Catholic life. Pope Pius X enforced this position in Italy and in France by solemnly condemning the autonomist Christian Democracy of Romolo Murri and the ‘Sillon’ movement of Marc Sangnier. In Germany, however, compromises with the Roman authorities were possible on all fields of contention: concerning the interdenominational character of the Christian trade unions, the independence of the Centre Party from the hierarchy and also during the controversy over the ‘Catholic belles-lettres’. Finally, in the papal encyclical ‘Singulari quadam’ (1912) the interconfessional Christian trade unions were at least ‘tolerated’. The present volume analyses these struggles in a comparative perspective and, by evaluating the entire accessible archival documentation, it reconstructs for the first time the respective internal decision-making processes of the Roman Curia. The result of this entire research is a profiling of three important European Catholicisms in the controversy over integralism. This conflict had a decisive bearing on the long-term positioning of French, German and Italian Catholicism within their respective national societies.



I. The German Controversy over Integralism and the Making of the Encyclical Singulari quadam
Francesco Tacchi

II. Between Social Catholicism and Integralism. Toniolo’s "Network"
Giovanni Vian

III. Integralism in the French Context. The Conflict over the Christian Democratic Sillon and the Doctrine of Priestly Vocation by Joseph Lahitton
Claus Arnold

IV. Appendix of Documents on the Condemnation of the Sillon