Reformkatholizismus is a term coined in 1898 by Josef Müller to describe a loosely united movement within the Catholic Church in Europe, mainly in Germany, that was active from the end of the 19th century to about World War I. It was known also as Critical Catholicism and Present–day Catholicism (Gegenwartskatholizismus ). Its leading figures, who did not work in close conjunction with one another, were mostly scholarly priests and ardent Catholics; the best known among them were Hermann schell, Albert ehrhard, Philipp Funk, Franz X. kraus, Josef Müller, Carl muth, and Josef Wittig. Their aims were political, social, and cultural as well as pastoral and disciplinary. In general they sought to rid Catholicism of the ghetto mentality ensuing on the kul turkampf and to narrow the chasm between the Church and modern culture by bringing the Church abreast of recent advances in science, history, and Biblical research, by utilizing more fully the methods and accomplishments in these fields, and by assuming a more positive and cooperative attitude toward progress in natural knowledge. Not all agreed on the specific means to attain these ends. Some opposed the trend toward increasing centralization of power in the papacy and hierarchical authoritarianism, while demanding, with a certain degree of anticlericalism, greater independence for the laity and a minimum of clerical direction. Others were hostile to neoscholasticism and Neothomism. There were demands to abolish the Index of Forbidden Books and even clerical celibacy (a demand prominent in the Diocese of Rottenburg). Reformkatholizismus differed from modernism, at least in the latter's heretical aspects, but its program suffered from the spirit pervading the Church after the condemnation of Modernism and the development of integralism. Works of Funk, Müller, and Schell were placed on the Index.
Bibliography: w. spael, Das katholische Deutschland im 20. Jahrhundert (Würzburg 1964). w. von loewenich, Modern Catholicism, tr. from Ger. by r. h. fuller (London 1959). y. m. j. congar, Vraie et fausse réforme dans l'église (Paris 1950). a. hagen, Der Reformkatholizismus in der Diözese Rottenburg, 1902–1920 (Stuttgart 1963); Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 8:1085. w. reinhard, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 1, ed. m buchberger, 10v. (Freiburg 1930–) 8:705–707. g. maron, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 3 7 v. (Tübingen 1957–65) 5:896–903.
[e. j. dunne]