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Catholicism, Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century France$
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Kay Chadwick

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780853239741

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846312779

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True and false modernity: Catholicism and Communist Marxism in 1930s France

True and false modernity: Catholicism and Communist Marxism in 1930s France

Chapter:
(p.73) 4 True and false modernity: Catholicism and Communist Marxism in 1930s France
Source:
Catholicism, Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century France
Author(s):

David Curtis

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780853239741.003.0005

This chapter examines what it calls the ‘false’ modernity of capitalist democracy or Communist totalitarianism with respect to the relationship between Catholicism and Communist Marxism in 1930s France. In particular, it considers the ideal of a nouvelle chrétienté and how it gave rise to forceful critiques of this ‘false’ modernity and inspired well-informed dépassements of the ideology of Communism that was labelled by the Catholic Church as an integral anti-Catholicism. The chapter then discusses the political, social, and intellectual challenge posed in the Popular Front period by Communism in general and by the French Communist Party in particular. It also analyses the reactions of Catholics to the events of the Popular Front period and the interaction of Catholic Churchmen and laymen with the intellectual currents of the late 1920s and the 1930s, with emphasis on catholicisme intégral's rejection of a dechristianised modern world and its project of a ‘true’ modernity. Finally, the chapter assesses Jacques Maritain's theory of the primacy of the spiritual.

Keywords:   modernity, democracy, totalitarianism, Catholicism, Marxism, France, nouvelle chrétienté, Communism, Catholic Church, French Communist Party

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