Gundlach, Gustav

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Social philosopher; b. at Geisenheim (Rheingau), Germany, April 3, 1892; d. Mönchengladbach, June 23, 1963. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1912 and was ordained priest in 1923. After graduate studies at the University of Berlin he became professor at the seminary of Sankt-Georgen in Frankfurt-am-Main. In the first years of the National Socialist regime he transferred his teaching activities to the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. At his retirement, he returned to Germany to become director of the Catholic Social Sciences Center, created by the bishops at Mönchengladbach, but died soon after.

Gundlach was a continuator of the school of Heinrich Pesch, founder of solidarism, whose economic and social thought was inspired by natural law and new scholasticism. He had a powerful influence on Catholic social thinking in the 1940s and 1950s and is reputed, not without foundation, to have had a decisive part in the preparation of various social statements of Pope Pius XII. The introduction of the term "subsidiarity" is attributed to him. In the postwar years he became particularly involved in discussions in Germany over the relation of Catholic social doctrine to socialism, and related questions such as codetermination. His postulation of an absolute right of self defense, however, met with criticism by contemporary theologians.

Bibliography: Die Ordnung der menschlichen Gesellschaft, 2 v. (Cologne 196465).

[r. a. graham]