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Association of German Catholics, Founding Manifesto (July 8, 1872)

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“For God and the Fatherland” shall be our motto in the struggle that we are taking up at this critical juncture.

But we can only hope to prevail if we present a united front; therefore, all Catholic men in Germany have to come to an understanding about the principles that will guide their public activities. They have to unite for common action in order to exert the appropriate influence on political life.

Only by means of solid and comprehensive organization will we be able to support our press against the superior influence of our adversaries, to make our voice count in political elections, and to force governments to pay attention to our interests.

For the purpose of bringing about such unity among all German Catholics, an association has recently been founded in Mainz, whose statutes are being published by the undersigned executive committee. All Catholic men in Germany who cherish freedom of the church no less than the welfare of the Fatherland are invited to join.

The most sacred values are in danger. Let us rise as loyal sons of the church and the Fatherland. Let us fight tirelessly and courageously for justice and truth. Justice must remain justice, and the ultimate victory is the victory of truth.

Mainz, July 8, 1872.

The Executive Committee of the Association of German Catholics; Baron Felix von Loë [ . . . ], President, and 20 additional signatories.

Source: Emil Friedberg, ed., Aktenstücke, die altkatholische Bewegung betreffend, mit einem Grundriß der Geschichte derselben [Documents Relating to the Old-Catholic Movement, with an Outline of Its History]. Tübingen, 1876, pp. 85-88.

Original German text reprinted in Wilfried Loth, Das Kaiserreich. Obrigkeitsstaat und politische Mobilisierung [The Kaiserreich: Authoritarian State and Political Mobilization]. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1997, pp. 174-77.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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