In his book, Disruptive Power: Catholic Women, Miracles, and Politics in Modern Germany, 1918-1965, Marist College professor Michael O’Sullivan explores the revival of Catholic faith in Germany from 1920-1960, fueled in large part by Marian devotion. Yet ironically, this new sense of devotion, primarily from traditionalist Catholics, unintentionally weakened the institutional Church, O’Sullivan argues.
His book, which won the Waterloo Centre for German Studies Book Prize, explores this turbulent period in German Catholicism, and in an interview with Crux, O’Sullivan offers his thoughts on what it means for one of the most influential Catholic nations in the world today.
“I have trouble thinking of an era in European history where popular religion and sainthood was not politicized. In an example from the medieval period, my colleague at Marist College, Janine Larmon Peterson, just wrote a book that shows how the political situation on the Italian peninsula during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries shaped the reception of local and unsanctioned saints’ cults” Michael O’Sullivan said.