a grouping of ultra-Catholics continued into the twentieth century, especially around the integrist networks of the weekly Schildwache.23

Nation and religion

Unlike the Catholics, the Protestants saw themselves as the dominant confession in Switzerland. They were integrated within the freisinnige liberal-radical party which dominated political culture well into the twentieth century. The nation was a central strand in their sense of identity, which was the main reason why Protestantism did not constitute structures similar to the Catholic milieu. As a political and cultural minority, Catholics stood in opposition to the new liberal nation-state and its political system, while identifying more or less closely with the old nation (the old Eidgenossenschaft). Since Catholics created conceptions of the nation of their own, two competing, partially overlapping communicative communities can be observed - a national one dominated by liberal and Protestant conceptions, and a Catholic one.24

These mechanisms become apparent in the constructions of history and memory. The nation on the one hand, and political and social Catholicism on the other, can each be described as communities of memory, with parallel and partially overlapping narratives. Competing conceptions of the nation were created, especially where contemporary conflicts seemed to reflect historical conflicts, which applied especially to the history of the Reformation period. There, the confessional factor became an instance of difference in the construction of a Swiss national history. National-liberal and Protestant discourses described the sixteenth-century reformer Huldrych Zwingli as the prototype of a 'real' Christian and republican Swiss, defining the confessional factor as part of a dominant national narrative directly related to conceptions of the modern nation-state. In contrast, Catholics brought counter-reformers such as Cardinal Carlo Borromeo into their national narratives, and confes-sionalised the prominent medieval politician Bruder Klaus von Flue, who formerly had been an integrative historical character. The Catholic historical journal Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Kirchengeschichte was established in 1907 as a counterpart to the Protestant Zwingliana, founded in 1897.25

23 See Metzger, Die 'Schildwache'.

24 See Altermatt, 'Religion und Nation'; Metzger, 'Die Reformation in der Schweiz'; Urs Altermatt, 'Das Bundesjubilaum 1891, das Wallis und die katholische Schweiz', Blatter aus der Walliser Geschichte 21 (1989), 89-106.

25 See the contributions in Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Kirchengeschichte 90 (1996).

0 0

Post a comment