This short book describes the negative effects exerted by Catholicism on the large majority of Catholics. It is critically focused on such issues as: papal infallibility; believing in miracles; the imposition of rules that cannot be followed (condemnation of any sexual act not directed to procreation); easy forgiveness; the exclusion of women; the cult of Saints as "protectors"; the ostentation of power and richness; the pursuing of pseudo-values, such as chastity; the undue interference in the sphere of politics. In the two final chapters, a general comment is given.
The book presents authoritative and comprehensive analysis of the role of the Catholic church in France over 50 years of social, political and theological change. The impact of social secularization, of the changing role of women, attitudes to sexuality, of dramatic political change - from Algeria, the 1960s, the Mitterand era and the rise of Le Pen - and of battles over education are presented in historical context. The church's responses to challenges to its authority, its teachings and structural resources are analysed. The conclusion asks 'Wither the Catholic Church?' in modern France.
Recent scholarship has held that Germany's Catholic population, particularly in rural areas, consistently withheld support from the Nazi Party until its takeover of power in 1933. In "Catholicism, Political Culture, and the Countryside" Oded Heilbronner makes a careful study of an important counterexample, that of the southern part of the state of Baden, a Catholic region where the Nazi party enjoyed massive support from 1930 onwards.
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