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Michael Pammer: Apostasy and regolata divozione – Baroque piety, Reform-Catholicism and Laicism in Upper Austria, 1700–1820

Abstract: Under Maria Theresa (1740–1780) and Joseph II (1780–1790) the government of the Habsburg lands introduced reforms concerning religion and church. The goal of these reforms was a religion free from all elements which were regarded as shallow and accidental (and which were the hallmarks of "baroque piety"). Reason, morality and spiritualization should be the leading principles of the new "Reform-Catholicism". The dissertation deals with how these reforms corresponded with mass piety of contemporary Upper Austria. The indicators used are
– the ideas about God, the hereafter and celestic intervenients;
– the acceptance of soul masses, prayers, works of charity, brotherhoods, religious orders and parishes;
– wishes concerning the funerals.

The sources are primarily testaments and estates with regard to
– legacies and the religious rhetoric for the registration of the behavior;
– data about property, place of residence, profession, education, marital status and age that reflect the relation of the behavior to social conditions.

The statistical analysis shows that there was a largely uniform turning away from the baroque forms of piety in the whole population. This process began gingerly in the 1760s and 1770s, was fastest in the 1780s and ended in the 1790s. It resulted partly in an acceptance of Reform-Catholicism, partly in a complete break with all forms of religion ("laicism"). As laicism was not approved of by the bureaucratic reformers and as the changes in the mentality of the general population occurred partially in parallel with the reforms, the whole development cannot simply be seen as a transfer of attitudes from an enlightened elite to the masses.

Michael Pammer: Glaubensabfall und Wahre Andacht. Barockreligiosität, Reformkatholizismus und Laizismus in Oberösterreich, 1700–1820. Maschinschr. Phil. Diss. Salzburg 1990. VIII, 535 S.
[Druckfassung:] Glaubensabfall und Wahre Andacht. Barockreligiosität, Reformkatholizismus und Laizismus in Oberösterreich, 1700–1820. München (R. Oldenbourg Verlag), Wien (Verlag für Geschichte und Politik) 1994. 320 S. (ISBN 3-7028-0322-X, ISBN 3-486-55986-9