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The Catholics: General Assembly of the Catholic Associations of the Rhineland and Westphalia (1849)

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And now, in conclusion, yet one more recollection; as a distant, impartial observer, I have frequently made the observation that ill-feeling toward the Prussian government exists, which is especially deep-rooted and widespread in the Rhine province. The same [ill-feeling] exercises great influence, is biased against everything emanating from the government, [and] lends some things a certain tint. In these provinces, mistrust of the tendencies of the government appears, more than anywhere [else], to be influential and to block the way for an impartial appraisal of constitutional questions. (Quite true!) How dangerous it is, therefore, especially for associations in these provinces, to take on a particular political direction! How easy, as a result, it would be for the Church to be made to appear in systematic opposition against the government, against the cabinet ministry, even against more highly placed persons. And every attack elicits a corresponding resistance; incurable discord could result for years to come, the power of Catholicism [would] have to polish itself off in partisan battles. A third party that is pursuing its aims unscrupulously is now already strong, the prospects are that it will become even more powerful, and this very [party] is going to benefit from battles like this. Then it would always be the overly close link between Church and politics that would be sowing evil seed, and this seed would then overgrow the good that these associations are otherwise suited to endow.

[ . . . ]

Source: Heinz Boberach, ed., Rheinische Briefe und Akten zur Geschichte der politischen Bewegung 1830-1850 [Rhenish Letters and Files on the History of the Political Movement 1830-1850], vol. 3, ed. Joseph Hansen. Düsseldorf: Droste, 1998, pp. 130-33, 134-45.

Translation: Jeremiah Riemer

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