This study examines the strategies adopted by the Catholic church in the post-World War II German-speaking area to curtail the ‚communist threat‘. The text compares two dioceses, St. Pölten in the eastern part of Austria, and Munich-Freising in Bavaria, that saw the need to react to the rise of communist regimes immediately outside their borders in East-Central Europe with the means at their disposal. The starting point for this analysis is the „Decree against Communism“ of Pope Pius XII, which belongs to a long tradition of ecclesiastical criticism directed against the great ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries, and which was widely adopted by the German-speaking clergy. The discussion of the methods by which the church attempted to influence the east-west conflict and their constraints will address three topics: aid for refugees, the social question, and issues related to schooling. In these areas, the church used a variety of resources to achieve its aims and exploited the Roman curia’s position as a global actor – from its parishes and monasteries at the local level to its spheres of political influence at the nation-state level.
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