February 1998 Newsletter

Association of Contemporary Church Historians

(Arbeitsgemeinschaft kirchlicher Zeitgeschichtler)

John S. Conway, Editor. University of British Columbia


Newsletter- February 1998- Vol. IV, no. 2

Dear Friends,

1) Prize awarded to Peter Hoffmann
2) Letter to the Editor: John Abbott
3) Report on Amer.Soc.Church History, Seattle
4) New issue of Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte
5) Book reviews: a) John Moses, From Oxford to the Bush b) Rainer Hering,
Vom Seminar zur Universitat
6) Book notes: Hamerow on Cardinal Faulhaber
7) Work in progress: Suzanne Brown
8) Vergangenheitsbewaltigung in Canada
9) Bonhoeffer statue

1) A belated but sincere congratulations to our list-member Peter Hoffmann of
McGill University on being awarded the 1997 Konrad Adenauer prize, sponsored
by the Humboldt Foundation, to enable him to undertake a biography of
General Ludwig Beck.

2) Letter to the Editor; John Abbott writes:” . . . I certainly agree with
what appears as your main objective: to call attention to those residual
barriers, institutional and mental, which continue to impose blinders upon
historical inquiry into religious and church matters. Especially welcome was
the emphasis upon the importance of social historical perspectives, and the
potential these still hold for church history. . . .The Editorial left me
with lingering questions, perhaps because its call for more open-endedness
was itself a little too open-ended.Some discussion of the relationship of
the history of religion to denominational histories might be of help in
drawing into clearer focus the tasks and possibilities that lie ahead . . .

3) The American Society of Church History meeting, Seattle, Jan10-11th 1998.
By some fortunate coincidence, this society arranged two sessions on the
Protestant Churches in 20th centuryGermany, which provided for five
excellent papers, and a good discussion thereafter. Both Brian Huck and
Matthew Hockenos spoke on the significance of the Darmstadt Declaration of
1947,and its political influence, as part of the post-1945 attempt to come
to terms with the Protestant church’s legacy, and provide guide-lines for the
future. Dan Borg outlined the situation in the 1920s and Doris Bergen
described the political impact of the Deutsche Christen in 1933 and 1939,
when she showed how this section of the Protestant church, in its euphoric
enthusiasm, provided legitimisation for the new Nazi regime and its
subsequent launching of war. Bob Goeckel gave an able account of the
much-disputed theme of the relationship of the churches in post-1945
East Germany and the Stasi, and put this in the wider context of the
situation in other east European churches. These were splendid contributions
to the task of coming to terms with the past.

4) New issue of Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte, 1997/1 The contents of this
belated issue concern the topic “Buergerkriegund Religion”. and consist of
papers read in Heidelberg in November 1996, dealing with two central problem
areas of civil war and religion, Northern Ireland and Bosnia. 5 useful
papers are in English, describing the complications of the Irish
situation.Particularly notable is Anne Herbst-Oltmanns’ survey of the
reactions of the major ecumenical organisations’ attempts to bring peace to
the Balkan region.
KZG is now into its 10th year of publication and remains an indispensable
and important resource for our subject. Subscriptions can be obtained via
the Editor, Prof G.Besier,Kisselgasse 1, D – 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.

5a) ed. John A.Moses with K.J.Cable et al., From Oxford to theBush. Essays
on Catholic Anglicanism in Australia. The Centenary Essays for the Church
Chronicle. Broughton Press, SPCK-Australia, Hall,A.C.T. and Adelaide 1997
ISBN 1 876106 06 9
In August last year we printed Matthias Zimmer’s insightful review of the
Festschrift for John Moses, honouring his years of scholarship in the field
of German history. We now have an additional reason to honour him with the
appearance of this new book of essays on Catholic Anglicanism in
Australia.John Moses, who is also an Anglican priest, has gathered a
distinguished group of authors, who seek to remind their readers of the
richness of the Catholic tradition within the Anglican Communion, a position
which Moses feels has been both neglected and maligned.The occasion for this
collection came from the unearthing in the Brisbane Diocesan archive of a
dusty file of newspaper articles, first published in 1933 to mark the
centenary of the beginning of what became known as the Oxford or Tractarian
Movement. This revival of the Catholic element in the Church of England was
associated with such luminous figures as Newman, Pusey and Keble, and
brought a new impetus to the efforts to restore church life and liturgy. It
was translated to Australia through the recruitment of numerous
Oxford-influenced priests and scholars,many of whom served in the Australian
colonies with distinction, founding dioceses and brotherhoods in the bush,
and introducing an added dimension to the range of ministries in what was
then the Church of England in Australia.Moses’ book begins by reprinting the
1933 articles, with accompanying useful biographical sketches of the
authors, most of them prominent clerics in the Australian church and
sympathetic to this wider understanding of Anglicanism. Their aim was to
defend the Catholic tradition within Anglicanism against its detractors
whether from the low-church evangelical camp, who saw them as proto-converts
to Roman Catholicism, or from Roman Catholics who rejected them as
pseudo-Catholics, deficient because they refused to acknowledge the plenary
authority of the Pope. John Moses’ own introductory article is hard-hitting,
even polemic, and criticizes both camps for their rigidity in failing to
appreciate the virtues of this segment of the Anglican understanding of
churchmanship. Catholic Anglicans, Moses believes, have rightly stressed
the insight that Catholicism is not to be equated with obedience to Rome, but
rather is a heritage enjoyed by the whole Church. The Church of England
existed long before the Reformation and the Oxford Movement sought and still
seeks to embody this continuity, rather than to stress the separation and
subsequent Protestant emphasis since the 16th century. Its achievement lay
in reviving the elements of beauty, richness and mystery in the liturgy, a
strong commitment to social service, and a recognition of the corporate
nature of the church as a whole, rather than merely the need for individual
salvation through personal redemption.
The Australian churches of the 19th century were largely the product of
rival missionary efforts. The result was a polarization between the Church of
England and other denominations, and also within the Anglican fold. The
strongest contingent of Evangelicals were to be found in Sydney and
Melbourne, but many rural and poorer dioceses were established and
maintained in the Catholic Anglican tradition. The consequent tensions for
years prevented any development of a unified Australian Anglican Church. And
the same divisions gave rise to disastrously erroneous views of each other’s
positions and often a climate of suspicion and legalistic backbiting, which
still has not been fully overcome. Many of these disputes arose over the
doctrine of authority in the Church, so the article by the Primate of the
Australian Church, Keith Rayner,depicting the Anglican perspective on this
issue, is particularly notable. In the same vein, Moses and his colleagues
are to be congratulated on this endeavour to recapture the “Vision Splendid”
of Catholic Anglicanism with its emphasis on historicity, catholicity and
intellectual vitality. This intelligent collection of essays will
undoubtedly contribute to a more open and ecumenical climate in Australia,
and at the same time also serves to give valuable insights to church
historians elsewhere.

5b) Rainer Hering, Vom Seminar zur Universitaet.
Die Religionslehrerausbildung in Hamburg zwischen Kaiserreich und
Bundesrepublik. Hamburg: Doelling und Galitz Verlag 1997,234pp. Rainer Hering
has spent much of the past decade producing articles about various aspects
of religious education and educators in Hamburg. This book is an appropriate
and very useful culmination of his efforts. Hering makes thorough use of
church, state and private archives as well as interviews to craft a solid
and intelligent study, providing a clear narrative about the training of
religious education teachers in Hamburg, followed by comments from four
participant/eye witnesses. He also gives short biographical sketches of four
dozen individuals, along with a thorough and useful bibliography.This book
deals with a narrow topic, focussing on the preparation of teachers of
religion in Hamburg over a period of about a century. One is introduced to a
long list of individuals – pastors, bishops,politicians and educators – most
of whom have not caught our attention before and would be unlikely to do so
outside the confinesof this book. However Hering also touches upon several
issues of general significance.First, there is a complex of issues
surrounding religious education in modern German schools. Hering shows that
from the Wilhelmine era on, representatives of the Lutheran church in
Hambiurg viewed religious education as a way to forestall or reverse the
secularization of German society. To that end they tried to achieve greater
influence over the training and appointment of teachers of religious
education and over the content of the education provided to students. As
Hering describes their attitude about the end of the last century: “. . .der
Schuler sollte eine persoenliche Beziehung zu Christus als dem Erloeser
finden. . .Eine kritische Reflexion der Unterrichtsinhalte war nicht
vorgesehen” (20).During the ensuing century such a goal proved less and less
achievable. Although religious education remained a staple part of the
school curriculum (non-mandatory in Hamburg since 1905), the specific
political climate in Hamburg, influenced by the SPD, and the general
direction of society, influenced by secularization and then
multiculturalism, meant that the church could never create the system of
religious education it most desired. By the 1970s everyone recognised that
“critical reflection” was necessary, and religious education moved from
teaching specific Lutheran doctrine to a consideration of ethical and
spiritual issues in the modern world. Hering also illustrates the gradual
professionalization of schoolteaching as an occupation. During the
Kaiserreich, university education was required only for those destined to
teach at the secondary level. Primary teachers, by contrast, were trained
without benefit of Abitur, and were ready to go to work by about the age of
twenty. During the Weimar period, Hamburg created its own university (1919)
and also began requiring a university training for all its teachers. Hering
describes at length how this affected the provision of religious education
for future reachers, again noting the differing expectations of church and
state. The second important focus in this book is Hamburg itself. For
a variety of reasons, Hamburg represents a unique locale for the study of
religious education. Hering find comments already in the mid-19th century
claiming that Hamburg’s “real church” was the stockmarket, and that by the
turn of the century it was considered “die unkirchlichste Stadt des Reiches”
(22). Thus the trend towards a secular society came early in Hamburg, so
that this analysis of the issues might claim to be a study of the cutting
edge. It is also worth noting that Hamburg has inspired a good deal of
important research on the Nazi era, as seen, for example, in the work of
Ursula Buttner or Geoffrey Giles, The reserve police battalion described by
Chris Browning, and later used by Daniel Goldhagen, also came from
Hamburg.That points us to the Third Reich and thus to perhaps the most
important issues described by Hering. He gives a nicely nuanced view of
religious educators and religious education during the Nazi era. It is clear
that religious education did not prosper, though the required changes in
curriculum and teaching personnel took about a year and a half to take
effect. From that point on, the Old Testament received much less attention
and virtually all faculty were members of the Party and/or enthusiasts of
the “Deutsche Christen”persuasion. Even that enthusiasm did not prevent the
virtual removal of religious education from Hamburg University after 1939-40.
The sensitivity and complexity of the Nazi past is illustrated very nicely
in Hering’s presentation. He begins, for example, by stating “Die . .
Hinweise auf nationalsozialistische Aktivitaeten einzelnersollen jedoch
keinen’ Enthuellungcharakter’ haben; eine moralischeoder gar juristische
Wertung bzw. Verurteilung ist nicht das Ziel dieser Arbeit” (15). However,
he proceeds to describe the enthusiasm for Nazi politics and ideas exhibited
by a number of individuals with significant post-war careers in education
and thechurch. For example, Simon Schoeffel, Bishop of Hamburg from1933-34
and again from 1946-54, led the right-wing”Evangelischen Elternbund” in
Hamburg which sided with the Nazis in the elections of 1933 (35). Hering
then adds in a footnote about Bernhard Lohse’s biography: “Diese Aspekte
werden nicht beruecksichtigt”So too Helmuth Kittel (not to be confused with
Gerhard Kittel), a student of Emanual Hirsch, taught New Testament in
Hamburg from 1931-33: “Lange Zeit galt Helmuth Kittel aufgrund
seiner Verkuendingungskonzeption als Anhaenger der Bekennenden Kirche.
Tatsaechlich war er jedoch ueberzeugter Anhaenger des Nationalsozialismus und
Deutscher Christ und hatte bis zum Beginndes Zweiten Weltkrieges in diesem
Sinne publiziert” (64). Hering notes the anti-Jewish stress in Kittel’s
work, before and even after1945. Because of his activities and membership in
both the NSDAP and the SA, Kittel had to teach at the Paedogogische
Hochschulen in Celle and Osnabruck before returning to a chair in religious
education at Muenster in 1963.To cite a final example, Hering describes the
racist language and assumptions in the writings of Kurt Leese, professor at
Hamburg from 1935-1940, who also received an honorary doctorate from Marburg
in 1957. Leese’s voelkische and biological assumptions could be read as
inherently National Socialist, yet he was released from the university in
1940 on charges of being politically unreliable and a “judenfreund” (84-87).
By describing these individuals, Hering helps to show the pervasiveness of
ideas which undergirded the Nazi regime, and which dominated the teaching of
religious education in Hamburg during the 1930s. Hering also argues for
refinement in our analysis: similarities in vocabulary and discourse do not
automatically identify individual who supported the Nazi regime root and
Robert P.Ericksen, Olympic College, Bremerton, Washington,USA

6) Book notes; T.Hamerow contributes an insightful but critical chapter 8 to
ed.David Wetzel, From the Berlin Museum to the Berlin Wall. Essays on the
Cultural and Political History of Modern Germany, Praeger, Westport,
Connecticut/London 1996, pp 145-168, dealing with the career of Cardinal
Faulhaber. Faulhaber was a “representative of an ecclesiastical elite
in Germany that entered into a Faustian bargain with the dark forces of
totalitarianism. . . . He was an important spiritual leader condemned to
live in a time of destruction and cruelty. But blinded by a sense of
national humiliation, by fear of social upheaval, by hostility to the
secular outlook of modern society, and by nostalgia for a vanished age of
confessional orthodoxy, he never fully grasped the universal moral
implications underlying all religious faith”.:

7) Work in progress: Suzanne Brown, University of Maryland. I am working on
the papers of Alois, Cardinal Muench, sometimePapal Visitator to Germany
after 1945, and Catholic Liaison to theAmerican Military Government in
Germany, now held at theCatholic University in Washington, D.C. I am using
these as a lens to magnify the thoughts, feelings and difficulties of
post-war German lay Catholics. I am interested in the ways in which their
post-war identity was shaped by their experiences during the Third Reich and
the war. Many lay Catholics wrote Muench very frank letters, and poured out
their troubles, possibly because most Catholic newspapers described him as a
German (his family emigrated to the USA in the 1880s) and as sympathetic to
the sufferings of Germans, due to his pastoral letter “One World in Charity”
published in 1945 or 1946. These letters are fascinating. So far I have found
that most average lay Catholics felt victimized in various ways by the
Nazis, and did not consider either non-Catholics or non-Germans to have been
victims of Hitler. If they did consider them, Catholics felt akin to them as
“fellow-sufferers”.Such feelings left little or no room for a sense of
responsibility or guilt for the crimes of the Third Reich.

8) Vergangenheitsbewaltigung in Canada.The following speech was delivered by
the Minister of Indian Affairs to a large public gathering in Ottawa on Jan
7th 1998
(Ed.note: Most of the residential schools referred to were run by
thec hurches, and were phased out 30 years ago)
“As aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians seek to move forward together in
a process of renewal, it is essential that we deal with the legacy of the
past affecting the aboriginal peoples of Canada,including the First Nations,
Inuit and Metis. Our purpose is not to rewrite history but, rather, to learn
from our past and to find ways to deal with the negative impacts that certain
historical decisions continue to have in our society today. The ancestors of
First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples lived on this continent long before
explorers from other continents first came to North America. For thousands of
years before this country was founded, they enjoyed their own forms of
government. Diverse, vibrant aboriginal nations had ways of life rooted in
fundamental values concerning their relationships to the Creator, the
environment, and each other, in the role of elders as the living memory of
their ancestors, and in their responsibilities as custodians of the lands,
waters and resources of their homelands. The assistance and spiritual values
of the aboriginal peoples who welcomed the newcomers to this continent too
often have been forgotten. The contributions made by all aboriginal peoples
to Canada’s development, and the contributions they continue to make to our
society today, have not been properly acknowledged. The government of Canada
today, on behalf of all Canadians,acknowledges these contributions.Sadly,
our history with respect to the treatment of aboriginal peoples is not
something in which we can take pride.. Attitudes of racial and cultural
superiority led to a suppression of aboriginal culture and values. As a
country, we are burdened by past actions that resulted in weakening the
identity of aboriginal peoples, suppressing their languages and cultures, and
outlawing spiritual practices. We must recognize the impact of these actions
on the once self-sustaining nations that were disaggregated,
disrupted, limited or even destroyed by the dispossession of traditional
territory, by the relocation of aboriginal people, and by some provisions of
the Indian Act. We must acknowledge that the result of these actions was the
erosion of the political, economic and social systems of aboriginal peoples
and nations. Against the backdrop of these historical legacies, it is
remarkable tribute to the strength and endurance of aboriginal People that
they have maintained their historical diversity and identity. The government
of Canada today formally expresses to all Aboriginal people in Canada our
profound regret for past actions of the federal government which have
contributed to these difficult pages in the history of our relationship
together. One aspect of our relationship with Aboriginal People over this
period which requires particular attention is the residential school system.
This system separated many children from their families and communities and
prevented them from speaking their own languages and from learning about
their heritage and cultures. In the worst cases, it left legacies of personal
pain and distress that continue to reverberate to this day. Tragically, some
children were the victims of physical and sexual abuse. The government of
Canada acknowledges the role its played in the development and administration
of these schools. Particularly tothose individuals who experienced the
tragedy of sexual and physical abuse at residential schools, and who have
carried this burden believing that in some way they must be responsible,
we wish to emphasise that what you experienced was not your fault and should
never have happened. To those of you who suffered this tragedy at
residential schools, we are deeply sorry. In dealing with the legacies of the
residential school system, the government of Canada proposes to work with
First Nations, Inuit and Metis people, the churches and other interested
parties to resolve the long-standing issues that must be addressed. We need
to work together on a healing strategy to assist individuals and communities
in dealing with the consequences of this sad era of our history. No attempt
at reconciliation with aboriginal people can be complete without reference
to the sad events culminating in the death of theMetis leader Louis Riel.
{Hanged for insurrection, 1886] These events cannot be undone; however, we
can and will continue to look for ways to affirm the contributions of Metis
people in Canada and of reflecting Louis Riel’s proper place in Canada’s
history. Reconciliation is an ongoing process. In renewing our partnership.we
must ensure that the mistakes which marked our past relationship are not
repeated. The government of Canada recognizes that policies that sought to
assimilate aboriginal people,women and men, were not the way to build a
strong country. We must instead continue to find ways in which aboriginal
people can participate fully in the economic, political, cultural and social
life of Canada in a manner which preserves and enhances the collective
identities of aboriginal communities, and allows them to evolve and flourish
in the future.”

9) Bonhoeffer statue A statue of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, sculpted by Tim
Crawley, is one of10 stone carvings of Christian martyrs of the 20th century
to beplaced on the west portal of Westminster Abbey, London next summer. The
unveiling ceremony will be held on July 9th 1998. It will be conducted by
the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
will attend, as will numerous church dignitaries from around the world. A
commemorative book describing the witness of these 10 Christian martyrs is
being edited by Dr Andrew Chandler, Directorof the George Bell Institute,
Queen’s College, University of Birmingham. The chapter on Bonhoeffer is
contributed by Klemens von Klemperer. This should be available in time for
the unveiling ceremony.
With all best wishes,
John S.Conway