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Cultures in Conflict

Religion, History and Gender in Northern Europe c. 1800–2000

Edited By Alexander Maurits, Johannes Ljungberg and Erik Sidenvall

This book includes studies of main conflict areas in modern Western societies where religion has been a central element, ranging from popular movements and narratives of opposition to challenges of religious satire and anti-clerical critique. Special attention is given to matters of politics and gender. With this theme, it provides a useful guide to conflict areas in modern European religious history.

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Alexander Maurits

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Alexander Maurits

Catholic Celebrities, Religious Commodities and Commotions in the Light of Swedish Anti-Catholicism

Abstract In the Protestant tradition the trade and commerce that surrounded different aspects of Catholic spirituality was regarded as something relatively alien. In Protestant Sweden the critique towards these aspects of Catholicism became an essential component in the anti-Catholic rhetoric that was recurring during the latter nineteenth and the early twentieth century. From the perspective of Lutheran theologians in Sweden, this part of Catholic spirituality was regarded as superstitious and a way for the clergy to deceit ordinary people.

I

In a sense, it all started with a quarrel about commodities and commotions. When the monk Martin Luther (1483–1546) in 95 theses stated his eagerness to arrange an academic disputation about the selling of plenary indulgences, the issue of commodities stood at the centre of discussion. In 1517, a year considered to mark the dawn of the Reformation era, Luther levelled severe criticism towards central aspects of the teachings and practices within the late Medieval Roman Church. He was especially critical of the idea that indulgence letters could be bought in order to give the remission of sins without repentance. Thus, according to the teaching of the Church, people could buy letters of indulgence to lessen the temporal punishment. This custom became profitable for the Church, and benefited both the priests who sold the indulgences and the Pope who sanctioned the custom and took a fee from the priests. Protestants were to regard the custom as a deception, helping the Pope to finance the construction of the new St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, amongst other things.1

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As Luther gradually became a seminal figure of the Protestant Reformation, he began to criticise other aspects of Roman Catholic theology. When it came to the veneration of saints and relics, Luther stated that the merits of the saints were of no help to a good Christian when it came to salvation. He also denounced aspects of the Roman Catholic spirituality involving the veneration of relics, which he on some occasions considered ridiculous and imaginative.2

These ideas were to play a crucial role for the emerging Reformation and for the theological divergence that was to put its distinctive mark on much of the European society during the decades to come. As emphasised by Heinz Schilling, Europe was marked by confessionalisation during the early-modern period –that is, this was a period marked by strong nation-states with a profound national and confessional identity.3 Already from the 1520s anti-Catholic rhetoric became an important part of the Protestant national identity that was evolving in countries like Denmark and Sweden and in the northern parts of Germany.4

Of course, a period that witnessed intense religious conflicts, as for example the Thirty Years’ War (1618−1648), must be considered an epitome of confessionalisation. Though not as violent as the seventeenth century, recent research has stressed that also the long nineteenth century was marked by religious tensions and confrontations among the different confessions of western and northern Europe. The nineteenth century has even been depicted as a second confessional age.5 Although that might be to exaggerate, there is evidence to suggest that the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century was a period marked by religious pluralism and confessional tensions.6

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A crucial component of the public discourse on religion in the Scandinavian countries during the nineteenth century and at least the first half of the twentieth century was anti-Catholicism. As historian Yvonne Maria Werner has shown, Catholicism to a large extent was considered an archenemy to Swedishness. From the latter half of the nineteenth century until the 1960s, Catholicism was an important countertype, used by both liberals and conservatives in order to promote a Protestant Swedish identity. To simplify, liberals perceived Catholicism as a threat to national integrity and conservative Protestants regarded it as an unbiblical and superstitious faith.7

Among representatives of the Church of Sweden there was a recurring anxiety about Catholic propaganda that threatened the evangelical freedom that was considered as one of the keystones of Swedish Lutheranism. This notion paved the way for repeated eruptions of anti-Catholicism.

Religious unity was central both to the established Lutheran Church and the national regime. To be a Swede was to be a good Lutheran –and this was even stated in the law and in different normative interpretations of the catechism. It was the normative teaching and part of the meta-ideology of Swedish society during the early-modern period, all the way up to and including the 1950s.8 With a gradually introduced religious freedom, notions of anxiety grew, and in the case of Sweden this resulted in a more severely critical discourse towards the Roman Catholic Church. An important aspect of the criticism directed at the Roman Catholic Church concerned liturgical practices and especially the veneration of saints.

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It has been said that the nineteenth century was an era of an emerging mass-production of texts and media, and this also stands as a truth for the religious field in both Catholic and Protestant countries. In the Catholic countries, this development was clearly expressed in connection to great religious personalities, who became ‘carefully constructed religious commodities’ whose fame and reputation were cultivated via various printed media.9 In Protestant countries, the new mass-production of text was used in a way that furthered the confessional cause of Protestantism. Thus, in these countries it was the biblical texts as such that were spread by different revivalist movements. Only to a minor extent stories about exemplary Protestants were spread, and in these narratives it was not the conduct of the person that was in focus. However, there was one exception; if the conduct of a person coincided with the nationalistic discourse so strong in Sweden during the latter half of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, the exemplary life of a person could be tremendously important –almost in a way that corresponded to the story of the saints within the Catholic context. This was, for example, the case with the great kings in Swedish nationalistic historical writing. They were clearly depicted as heroes for the Lutheran cause, even though it was always emphasised that their success had been achieved sola gratia Dei.10

II

In what follows, I will give, through the theoretical lens of concepts such as religious commodities and commotions, some examples of and discuss how Swedish Lutheran commentators thought of essential elements within the Catholic spirituality and how it was contrasted to the ‘orthodox’ faith of the Lutheran Churches. Including different kinds of religious artefacts as mass-produced cards, rosaries and statues the Catholic spirituality was something quite different from the Protestant spirituality that did not include such means to gain access to the divine. Thus, the approach to religious personalities differed strongly between the confessions.

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How did theologians within the Protestant Church of Sweden react to Catholic stories about sainthood and pilgrimages? What were their main concerns and what kind of confessional boundaries did they try to depict and preserve?

Of course, the theme of anti-Catholicism recurs throughout the texts discussed below. However, my goal is not to shed light on a phenomenon that others have investigated in a more proper manner, but rather to look at certain aspects of Swedish anti-Catholicism, that is, the negative stereotyping of sainthood and the commotion to which ecclesiastical celebrities within the Roman Catholic discourse gave rise.

The source material used for this inquiry spans a period from the mid-1850s until the end of the 1920s. Starting in the 1850s, I present the views on Catholicism among some leading representatives of the Lutheran Neo-Orthodoxy in the established Church of Sweden. With the writings of bishop Christian Erik Fahlcrantz (1790−1866) and professor (archbishop to be) Anton Niklas Sundberg (1818−1900) as a point of departure, the investigation moves on to the 1890s. Going through polemical Lutheran literature, it is obvious that the 1890s was a decade of growing animosity towards the Roman Catholic Church and its teachings. During this decade, there was a steady outflow of polemical pamphlets against the Roman Church. Some of them involve questions regarding saints and relics and are therefore of interest in this study.

As a consequence of a petition made in 1921 by the Catholic Apostolic Vicar of Stockholm, bishop Albert Bitter, on how the Catholic Church and the Catholic spirituality were depicted in Swedish school textbooks, the anxiety about the presence of Catholicism within Swedish society grew. This chapter ends with a few examples from this period –a period during which the ‘Catholic danger’ was considered so threating that a ‘Protestant Committee to Protect Protestantism’ was funded.11 The 1920s may be regarded as the peak of anti-Catholic notions in Sweden, even if this stream of ideas was rather obvious well up to the 1990s.

III

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As bishop in the Church of Sweden, C.E. Fahlcrantz became an important exponent for the anti-Catholic rhetoric so frequently uttered among theologians and commentators of different kinds.12 Through the writings of bishop Fahlcrantz we can get a glimpse of the situation during the mid-nineteenth century.

Between 1858 and 1861, Fahlcrantz published six booklets under the title Rome –Past and Present (Rom förr och nu). The ideas that Fahlcrantz expressed in these booklets have their Sitz im Leben. As a Member of Parliament, Fahlcrantz had engaged himself in the fierce debate about extended religious freedom, and he had been an advocate of the established societal order.13 The debate became strongly infected and severe in 1858 when a group of women were exiled because of their conversion to Catholicism. The punishment was a natural consequence of Swedish law, but internationally the incident was ridiculed and questioned as something opposed to an enlightened and modern society.14

According to Fahlcrantz, increased religious freedom not only paved the way for different Protestant denominations, it also increased the risk of hostile Catholic missionary activities in Sweden. His different booklets on the Roman Catholic Church, its dogmas and spirituality, should be seen in this context. The aim of the booklets was to give a detailed account of a phenomenon that stood in stark contrast to Lutheran theology and which also was considered to be a threat to the Swedish society at large, since the Catholic Church, according to Fahlcrantz, aimed to re-Catholicise Sweden.15

The writings of Fahlcrantz were appreciated by other influential Swedish theologians; and in a review published in 1859, the professor of Church History in Lund, Anton Niklas Sundberg, praised what he perceived as Fahlcrantz’ great insights.16 However, Sundberg’s anti-Catholic conviction and his hostile rhetoric were not new. Already three years earlier he had published an extensive review of a book by the Scottish Protestant Rev. J.A. Wylie called The Papacy: Its History, Dogmas, Genius, and Prospects.

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True to his style of writing, Sundberg used part of the review to make various judgements on contemporary issues. He commented upon the perceived hostile activity of the Catholic Church. According to Sundberg, schisms within Protestantism, and radical political movements as communism and socialism, paved the way for the Jesuits to strengthen the power of the Catholic Church.

On at least two occasions, Sundberg discussed the role of saints and miracles within Catholic spirituality. According to Sundberg, the interest in sainthood and miracles was steadily growing within Catholic countries. Of course, there were ulterior motives for the Catholic Church to foster the idea of divine miracles. Sundberg mentions a farmer in the French city of Grenoble who was said to have been given a mission by Jesus to cure sick people. Sundberg was of the opinion that this poor and not properly educated farmer was being used by the Church authorities in order to strengthen the position of the Church. Even though scientists had proved it all to be a scam, the local authorities of the Church tried to convince people that the miracles really had occurred.17 With this in mind, Sundberg depicted the Catholic Church as not adapting to a scientific perspective and as using uneducated and poor people to maintain the societal position of the Church. According to Sundberg, a scientifically based approach should not need to submit to rigid theological teachings.

The deeds of the Catholic Church were also apparent in Scotland. Here the Jesuits, Sundberg claimed, had been successful in using art and the story of the Virgin Mary when persuading in particular women to convert.

As part of his anti-Catholic rhetoric, Sundberg also returned to what can be labelled as a use of commodities in order to foster the cause of the Church. Sundberg’s criticism in this particular case is rather similar to the arguments against indulgences that Luther had expressed some 350 years earlier. If there is an ecclesiastical market of commodities, the pursuit of the individual becomes unimportant, and thus Sundberg saw indulgences and special requiems as ‘ecclesiastical surrogates’ that put personal belief aside.18

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The examples found in the writings of Fahlcrantz and Sundberg show that there was an obvious anti-Catholic rhetoric, used by high representatives of Swedish society in the 1850s and 1860s. For some reason this anti-Catholic rhetoric seems to have grown in strength by the end of the century. Of course, this can to some extent be explained by the growing presence of Catholics within Swedish society. However, the force of this explanation should not be exaggerated, since the number of Catholics in Sweden at the end of the nineteenth century was just a few thousand. The Catholic mission to the Scandinavian countries was more successful in Denmark, where different Catholic organisations as the Jesuits and the Barnabites were well-established and gained converts in great numbers.19

Bearing in mind that the Catholic effort to win converts was relatively successful in Denmark, it may not come as a surprise that some of the anti-Catholic pamphlets were imported to Sweden from this country.20 This was the case with the text Essays against the Papal Church (Uppsatser mot Påfvekyrkan), written by the Danish priest G. Schepelern (1839−1900), and translated into Swedish by Adolf Sondén.21 Obviously, there was a growing anxiety that the Catholic Church would be as successful in Sweden as in Denmark.

Of course, Schepelern was overall sceptical and levelled severe criticism concerning all parts of Catholic teaching and spirituality. When it comes to aspects of commotion and commodities within the realms of Catholic spirituality, Schepelern’s account of the ideas within the Roman Catholic Church on saints and relics covers some ten pages, and in this section his negative opinions and anti-Catholic agenda become obvious.

The fundament of his criticism was that the idea of saints was unbiblical. According to Schepelern, the teachings regarding saints had pagan roots, and the Roman church had integrated these ideas in a period of spiritual decay. As for other important Catholic dogmas, they erroneously implied that the teaching of the Church was superior to Scripture.22

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Schepelern argued that the worship of saints was something characteristic of Christians with a pagan inclination. According to Schepelern, these Christians had difficulties to comply with the idea of a single all-encompassing God, whom they regarded as a fearsome judge. They were not at ease with a God that one needed to fear. As for the pagan roots of the worship of saints, Schepelern emphasised that saints also could be found in large amounts within religious traditions as Hinduism and Buddhism, but also in the ancient Greco-Roman traditions. Schepelern thereafter tried to give an account of the history of the Christian church, and how venerable martyrs, who were included in different intercessions, had been supplemented by saints to whom Christians were told they could turn as mediators with God due to their splendid deeds. The author also dwelled on the papal rules regarding canonisations that were implemented from the twelfth century. He also made fun of the worship of saints, and especially the fact that there seems to be a saint that suits every single aspect and event of life.

According to Schepelern, the worship of saints was not only a medieval phenomenon, but also a contemporary one, but the Catholic Church had been forced to downplay its oddest expressions due to criticism from Protestants.23

Schepelern regarded the worship of saints as something superstitious, and he exemplified this by stressing the fact that the Italian and Spanish peasantry, like the old Greeks, punished their ‘madonnas and saints when they do not do their duty and fulfil their desires’.24 In this sense, Catholic spirituality was unreasonable and superstitious. According to Schepelern, this distinct feature of superstition was obvious to bishops and priests within the Catholic Church, though they were keen to uphold this part of Catholic spirituality since it was an important means for the Church to control the people. Furthermore, Schepelern was of the opinion that there was an obligation to worship and to invoke the saints within the Catholic Church. From his Protestant point of view this was considered as yet another sign of a strictly authoritarian Church and also as a severe violation of the first commandment.25

Starting as early as in the 1890s, Carl Skog (1859−1935) was to become one of the most prominent critics of Catholicism within the Church of Sweden. Skog, who was a vicar in Brunflo and later on in Edsele, published several booklets on the theme, and they are all –to a larger or lesser extent –based on the polemics against Catholicism that was so widespread at this time.26

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In the pamphlet, What is Roman Catholicism. A Word to the educated and not so educated amongst our people (Hvad är den romerska katolicismen. Ett ord till de bildade och icke bildade bland vårt folk), Skog addressed what he perceived as an increasing Catholic missionary effort amongst Protestants in the Nordic countries. According to Skog, the threat was imminent and risked to shatter the evangelical light of the Reformation.27 In anti-Catholic booklets published in 1899 and 1901, Skog returned to this theme. In his opinion, the Catholic Church threatened to overthrow the ideas and results of the Reformation, and to bring Protestants back to Rome. Most eager to accomplish this goal were the Jesuits, who were described to be of much consequence within the Catholic Church.28

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In a chapter with the title ‘Sainthood, relics, and amulets –heathenism’, Skog argues that the message of the Bible had been put aside in favour of the tradition of the Catholic Church and the veneration of priests, the Virgin, the saints and their relics. Besides the preposterous Mariology, the Catholic priests and monks mislead the people by encouraging them to venerate saints. To Skog, the cult of saints was superstition and fetishism. He was of the opinion that false relics had been manufactured in thousands in order to be sold and to increase the finance of the Church: ‘Each Church or place, which is in the possession of a relic, becomes a sought after place of pilgrimage, which brings in fortunes on the pilgrims.’29 However, this idolatry, and the commotion that came with it, did not limit itself to the relics. In addition also pictures and amulets were sold by the Church. In accordance to Schepelern, Skog thought that the use of relics and amulets within the Catholic Church could be compared to the pagan spirituality of, for example, Hinduism and Buddhism.30

However, these writers considered that the greedy nature of the Catholic Church and its propensity to make money did not confine itself to making gains from pilgrimages and the selling of religious pictures and amulets. According to Skog, the custom of selling indulgences was still present in the Catholic Church, and he concludes that ‘the papal Church still capitalizes on and trades with the forgiveness of sins.’31 But the selling of indulgences was not only a way for the Catholic Church to earn money, but it was also a tool which could be used to control the laypeople of the Church. With indulgences, the Church could attract and/or scare people, and thus lure them to participate in mass and confession and to give alms. According to Skog, the whole idea of indulgences appeared even stranger since it, even among Catholic theologians, was considered uncertain whether or not indulgences were sufficient to help the sinner.32

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In a booklet on the Catholic catechism published in 1896, Skog moved on to discuss the cult of the Virgin Mary within the Catholic Church. It may come as no surprise that he regarded this cult as a clear expression of idolatry.33 According to Skog, the relics of the Virgin were spread across Catholic Europe. In a most ironic manner, Skog gave an account of the cult of the Virgin in Loreto, Messina and Lourdes. To Skog, the cult in Basilica della Santa Casa in Loreto, surrounding what is perceived as the Virgin’s house and a statue of the Virgin, said to have been sculpted and painted by Luke the evangelist, was yet another example of how the church capitalised on pilgrimages: ‘Three different popes have certified the reality of the miracle, and annually an immense number of pilgrims arrives to the church with alms amounting to enormous sums.’34 As for Messina, Skog elaborates on the relics of the Virgin in the Cathedral of Messina. His sceptical attitude is obvious when he explains that the Cathedral is said to be in possession of parts of the Virgin’s hair and, in addition to this, a letter from the Virgin in which she promises to be the patroness of Messina.35

It may be one thing that pilgrimages were an inherent part of the culture and customs in Catholic countries, but according to Skog the commotion regarding pilgrimages was also part of the re-Catholicisation of Sweden. He reinforced this position by exemplifying with Lourdes, where there was a marble tablet with the inscription ‘Venerated Mother, have Sweden in your mind.’ This, as well as a papal promise of indulgence for the faithful if they prayed for the conversion of the Scandinavian countries, was considered by Skog as a clear sign of the strategy of Rome to make Sweden a Catholic country once more.36

Skog may be seen as the most virulent representative of Swedish anti-Catholicism, and perhaps even as somewhat of a bizarre exception. It is thus important to bear in mind that representatives from both the Catholic Church and the Church of Sweden on different occasions and in different contexts tried to oppose his views.37

The idea that the Roman Catholic Church capitalised on the feelings of its laypeople and even betrayed them in order to gain more worldly wealth seems to be a prominent part of the anti-Catholic discourse. Skog may be the most prominent representative of this kind of argument, but the theme can be found elsewhere as well.38

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Even if the thoughts expressed by Skog could be considered as aggravated, anti-Catholic sentiments were an important part of the national rhetoric in Sweden. This became obvious in 1921 when the Catholic Apostolic Vicar of Stockholm, bishop Albert Bitter, filed a petition on the way in which the Catholic Church and Catholic spirituality were depicted in Swedish school textbooks to the Swedish parliament. Amongst other things, the bishop was concerned about the way in which history textbooks described the veneration of the Virgin Mary and saints. This petition caused an immense debate with strongly anti-Catholic overtones. In the press, the petition was considered as Catholic propaganda, and after an investigation, the governing board concluded that the Catholic criticism was groundless and exaggerated. There were of course other adjacent rancorous debates as well.39

One booklet that was published in the wake of the Bitter-petition was Arvid Gierow’s The Roman Danger (Den romerska faran). The booklet of vicar Gierow (1873−1944) was initially given as a lecture for pastors in the Diocese of Lund –a diocese that encompasses the southernmost part of Sweden. In the aftermath of the Great War, Gierow concluded that Catholicism was the confession that at first glance seemed to best fit the spiritual needs created by the war. With the help of its primitive spirituality –characterised by certain protective saints and different forms of magic –the Catholic priests were able to offer counselling and comfort to distressed souls.40 According to Gierow, the Catholic spirituality also seemed to attract women to a larger extent than men. Gierow considered Protestantism to have a masculine emphasis that within the Catholic Church was compensated for by the veneration of the Virgin Mary and different female saints. Gierow then moves on to discuss the petition of Bitter. In opposition to Bitter, Gierow emphasises that the spirituality of ordinary Catholics shows that they tend to believe the saints to be like gods and that pictures or sculptures that depict Jesus or saints are of divine nature.41

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IV

The trade and commerce that surrounded different aspects of Catholic spirituality was regarded as something alien from the perspective of Swedish theologians. On the Protestant side, there were few, if any, similarities to the religious objects, merchandise and promotional material that were an essential part of Catholic spirituality.

Bearing in mind the strict confessional divides that characterised Europe during this period, it comes as no surprise that the Swedish commentators we have met in this chapter were profoundly sceptical towards several parts of Catholic faith and spirituality. To a large extent they remained loyal to fundamental principles of the Reformation, such as sola scriptura and sola fide. To some extent, one can say that they were able to see through the ‘devotional-promotional communication’ that was used by the Roman Catholic Church for ‘inspiring allegiance for an individual, political entity, or religion’.42 As has been emphasised above, they considered the commercialisation of sainthood within the Roman Catholic Church as a threat towards the mono-confessional Swedish religious landscape and as a means of the Roman Catholic Church to gain converts. In part their fears were accurate. The general perception of Catholicism was strongly sceptical within the Swedish society at large, but a growing curiosity towards the Catholic faith can also be found, most notably among the intelligentsia where cultural figures like the author Lydia Wahlström (1869−1954) and the author and journalist Sven Stolpe (1905−1996) showed an increasing, and to some extent appreciative, interest in Catholicism.43

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Ending with a more tentative reflection, one could contemplate on the consequences that this divergence of views on the more physical and concrete parts of spirituality has had when it comes to the role of the Christian churches in our present-day societies. Of course secularisation has diminished the role of the Christian churches in Europe, and perhaps more so in Protestant than Catholic countries. However, the physical aspects of Catholic faith –to some extent supported by religious commodities as mass-produced pictures and statues –are still present in Catholic countries in Europe. Thus, there still seems to be a market for religious commodities in these parts of Europe. From the perspective of secular Sweden44 one could even say that these commodities in some sense drench the public and private spheres with religion. The Protestant countries in Europe mostly lack this dimension of religiosity. The consequences that this lack of a religious environment may have for the status of religion on a discursive level should not be underestimated,45 especially not in a globalised world where religion perhaps is more present than ever before.46

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Werner, Yvonne Maria, Världsvid men främmande: Katolska kyrkan i Sverige 1873−1929, Stockholm 1996.

Werner, Yvonne Maria, ‘ “Den katolska faran”: Antikatolicismen och den svenska nationella identiteten i ett nordiskt perspektiv’, in Scandia 81:1 2015, pp. 40−61.

Werner, Yvonne Maria, Kvinnlig motkultur och katolsk mission: Sankt Josefsystrarna i Danmark och Sverige 1856−1936, Stockholm 2002.

Werner, Yvonne Maria, Nordisk katolicism: Katolsk mission och konversion i Danmark i ett nordiskt perspektiv, Göteborg & Stockholm 2005.

Werner, Yvonne Maria, Katolsk manlighet: Det antimoderna alternativet –katolska missionärer och lekmän i Skandinavien, Göteborg & Stockholm 2014.

Werner, Yvonne Maria & Jonas Harvard (eds), European Anti-Catholicism in a Comparative and Transnational Perspective, Amsterdam & New York 2013.


1S. Hendrix, ‘Martin Luther, reformer’, in R. Po-Chia Hsia (ed.), The Cambridge History of Christianity: Reform and Expansion 1500−1600, Cambridge 2007, pp. 3−19; H.A. Obermann, Luther: Man between God and the Devil, New York 1989, pp. 74−81, 187−192.

2Obermann 1989, p. 18.

3H. Schilling, Religion, Political Culture and the Emergence of Early Modern Society: Essays in German and Dutch History, Leiden 1992, pp. 205−245.

4Kekke Stadin, Stånd och genus i stormaktstidens Sverige, Lund 2007, pp. 169−179; David Gudmundsson, Konfessionell krigsmakt: Predikan och bön i den svenska armén 1611−1721, Lund 2014.

5Olaf Blaschke, ‘Das 19. Jahrhundert: Ein Zweites Konfessionelles Zeitalter?’, in H.-P. Ullmann (ed.), Geschichte und Gesellschaft 2000:1, pp. 38−60.

6See, for example, Hugh McLeod, Secularisation in Western Europe, 1848−1914, Basingstoke 2000. A brief overview on how this idea of a combined process of secu-larisation, on the one hand, and confessionalisation, on the other, also could be seen in the Swedish context can be found in Alexander Maurits, Den vackra och erkända patriarchalismen: Prästmannaideal och manlighet i den tidiga lundensiska högkyrkligheten, ca 1850−1900, Lund 2013, pp. 35−50, 251−252. A more recent approach to the issue, and a proof that secularisation is not a linear process even in Sweden, is David Thurfjell, Det gudlösa folket: De postkristna svenskarna och religionen, Stockholm 2015, pp. 38−66.

7Yvonne Maria Werner, ‘ “Den katolska faran”: Antikatolicismen och den svenska nationella identiteten i ett nordiskt perspektiv’, in Scandia 81:1 2015, pp. 40−43. Anti-Catholicism must be considered as a transnational phenomenon. In different Protestant countries the similar negative stereotyping was used by the anti-Catholic commentators; see, for example, Yvonne Maria Werner & Jonas Harvard (eds), European Anti-Catholicism in a Comparative and Transnational Perspective, Amsterdam & New York 2013) and Stephen Prothero, Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections): The Battles That Define America from Jefferson’s Heresies to Gay Marriage, San Francisco 2016, pp. 55−98. The idea of ‘countertypes’ is derived from historian George L. Mosse, who uses the concept in his analysis of modern masculinity, George L. Mosse, The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity, New York 1996, pp. 3−39, 56−76. Werner and Harvard uses the term ‘unifying other’ to describe the role played by anti-Catholicism in Sweden and other Protestant countries.

8Maurits 2013, p. 37. An English introduction to the Swedish religious context during the period discussed in this chapter can be found in Lars Österlin, Churches of Northern Europe in Profile: A Thousand Years of Anglo−Nordic Relations, Norwich 1995.

9S. Deboick, ‘Céline Martin’s images of Thérèse of Lisieux and the creation of a modern Saint’, in P. Clarke & T. Claydon (eds), Saints and Sanctity, Woodbridge 2011, p. 377.

10Anders Jarlert, Sveriges kyrkohistoria, vol. 6: Romantikens och liberalismens tid, Stockholm 2001, pp. 110−112, 161−163; Harry Lenhammar, ‘Tryckpressarna i kyrkans och väckelsens tjänst’, in Oloph Bexell, Sveriges kyrkohistoria, vol. 7: Folkväckelsens och kyrkoförnyelsens tid, Stockholm 2003, pp. 306−315; Tine Van Osselaer & Alexander Maurits, ‘Heroic Men and Christian Ideals’, in Yvonne Maria Werner (ed.), Christian Masculinity: Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Leuven 2011, pp. 63−94 (83, 87). For a discussion on Catholic heroes and heroines, see Tine Van Osselaer, The Pious Sex: Catholic Constructions of Masculinity and Femininity in Belgium, c. 1800–1940, Leuven 2013, pp. 149−169.

11Werner 2013, p. 137

12Bengt Hildebrand, ‘Christian Erik Fahlcrantz’, in Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, band 15, 1956, p. 19.

13Per Dahlman, Kyrka och stat i 1860 års svenska religionslagstiftning, Skellefteå 2009.

14Erik Sidenvall, ‘Tolkningen av “katolikmålet” 1858 i ett internationellt perspektiv’, in Kyrkohistorisk årsskrift 102 (2002), pp. 97−101. Fahlcrantz also engaged in a polemical debate with the Catholic priest in Stockholm, A. Bernhard.

15C.E. Fahlcrantz, Rom förr och nu. Första häftet, Westerås 1858, pp. 3−13; C.E. Fahlcrantz, Samlade skrifter. Sjette bandet, Örebro 1865, pp. 98−121.

16Anton Niklas Sundberg, ‘Literatur. Rom förr och nu’, in Swensk Kyrkotidning 1859:9, pp. 129–142.

17Anton Niklas Sundberg, ‘Ur Påfwedömets nyare historia’, in Swensk Kyrkotidning 1856:11, pp. 173–174.

18Anton Niklas Sundberg, ‘Allmänna Tidsbetraktelser och återblick på det sistförflutna året’, in Swensk Kyrkotidning 1859:1, pp. 15–16.

19Yvonne Maria Werner, Kvinnlig motkultur och katolsk mission: Sankt Josefsystrarna i Danmark och Sverige 1856−1936, Stockholm 2002; Yvonne Maria Werner, Katolsk manlighet: Det antimoderna alternativet –katolska missionärer och lekmän i Skandinavien, Göteborg & Stockholm 2014, pp. 39−44.

20Yvonne Maria Werner, Nordisk katolicism: Katolsk mission och konversion i Danmark i ett nordiskt perspektiv, Göteborg & Stockholm 2005, pp. 9−14.

21C. Weltzer & P.G. Lindhardt, ‘G. Schepelern’, in Dansk Biografisk Leksikon, 3. udg., Gyldendal 1979−84. Retrived from http://denstoredanske.dk/index.php?sideId=297000 2017-03-17.

22G. Schepelern, Uppsatser mot Påfvekyrkan (Öfversättning av Adolf Sondén), Stockholm 1891, pp. 188−189. The idea that the worship of saints has its similarities with customs within Hinduism and Buddhism can also be found in the pamphlet I hvilka stycken lär vår evangelisk-lutherska kyrka på grund af Guds ord annorlunda än den romersk-katolska kyrkan?, Lund 1903, p. 14.

23Schepelern 1891, pp. 190−193.

24Schepelern 1891, p. 193.

25Schepelern 1891, pp. 194−197.

26Arne Palmqvist, ‘Kyrkoherde C.A. Skogs kritik av den romerska katolicismen’, in Kyrkohistorisk årsskrift 93, 1993, pp. 151−158.

27Carl Skog, Hvad är den romerska katolicismen: Ett ord till de bildade och icke bildade bland vårt folk, Stockholm 1892, pp. 5−7. The notion of an imminent threat is also present in the introduction to Carl Skog, Den katolska kyrkan och herrens lag: Bidrag till ett rätt förstående af den svenska katolska katekesen samt af den katolska sedeläran öfver hufvud, Stockholm 1896, pp. 3−6. Historian Yvonne Maria Werner has shown that there was an increasing interest within the Roman Catholic Church to send missionaries to the Nordic countries; see Werner 2005, pp. 9−14 and Werner 2014. Thus one could say that Skog was right in regard to the question of increased missionary activities.

28Carl Skog, Hafva vi i wårt protestantiska land någon särskild anledning att vara på vår vakt emot katolicismen och dess förvillande läror? Föredrag hållet vid Ev. Fosterlands-Stiftelsens årsmöte i Blasieholmskyrkan, Stockholm 1899, pp. 5−6, 14. The notion of an imminent Catholic threat is also present in Carl Skog, Den Katolska Kyrkan och Bibeln, Stockholm 1901, p. 7. A more nuanced approach, based on statistics, can be found in Henry William Tottie, Hvilka kraf ställa de moderna försöken till en romersk kontrareformation på vår kyrkas presterskap?, 1890, pp. 7, 10−11.

29Skog 1892, p. 27. The ‘superstition and fetishism’ of the Catholic Church can also be found in Skog 1899, where he exemplifies with wax candles depicting the lamb of God, which are sold and considered to protect against evil spirits, bad weather conditions, different diseases and catastrophes and human anxiety. To have this effect the candles must be made of wax from candles that have been lit in churches in Rome.

30Skog 1892, pp. 28−29; Skog 1896, pp. 18−19. The idea that there is a connection between the prayers to saints in order to avoid certain kind of diseases and pagan religions, and that the interest in relics and holy pictures is something unbiblical could also be found in other anti-Catholic pamphlets.

31Skog 1892, pp. 27−38

32Skog 1896, p. 41.

33Carl Skog, Katolska sanningsvittnen i verklighetsbelysning: Svar till mina vedersakare på den romerska sidan, Sollefteå 1933, pp. 68−70.

34Skog 1933, p. 72. The Swedish original: ‘Tre påvar hava intygat undrets verklighet och ofantlig pilgrimsskaror vallfärda dit för varje år riktande kyrkan med allmosor till ofantliga belopp.’

35Skog 1933, p. 73

36Skog 1899, p. 18.

37One such example can be found in J.A. Hammargren, Kyrkoherde Skog som apologet, Sundsvall 1931.

38One example of this line of rhetoric can be found in G. Hagstrand, Nyteologi –Katolicism –Världskristendom, Karlskrona 1928 in which Hagstrand argues (p. 32) that the priest, who gains income from the worship of relics, deceives the people.

39Werner 2013, pp. 141−144.

40A. Gierow, Den romerska faran: Föredrag vid Lunds stifts prästsällskaps årsmöte den 30 augusti 1921, Lund 1921, p. 23. A brief biography of Gierow can be found in Bror Olsson, ‘P. Arvid Gierow’, in Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, band 17, 1967−1969, p. 115.

41Gierow 1921, pp. 24, 32. As a representative for right-wing women, Blenda Sylvan (1867−1935) was convinced that there was a genuine Catholic threat to Sweden, and this was an opinion that she made clear in the booklet The Roman Propaganda (Den romerska propagandan). In her opinion, the development in countries like Denmark and Norway and the fact that there was a Catholic prayer book for the conversion of Scandinavia confirmed this. According to Sylvan, Catholics who read the prayer book on a regular basis were promised 300 days of indulgence. Sylvan considers the indulgence to be a spiritual accident insurance. In contrast to the ideas put forward by Bitter, Sylvan argued for a more profound Lutheran education and upbringing. See B. Sylvan, Den romerska propagandan (Sveriges moderata kvinnoförbund), Stockholm 1924, pp. 4−6.

42J. Tilson Donn, The Promotion of Devotion, Saints, Celebrities, and Shrines, Champaign, Ill. 2011; J. Tilson Donn & C. Yi-Yuan, ‘Saintly Campaigning: Devotional-Promotional Communication and the U.S. Tour of St. Thérèse’s Relics’, in Journal of Media and Religion, 1/2, 2002, p. 81.

43Yvonne Maria Werner, Världsvid men främmande: Katolska kyrkan i Sverige 1873−1929, Stockholm 1996, pp. 338−340.

44The World Values Survey continuously ranks Sweden in the top when it comes to Secular-rational and Self-expression values, see http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSContents.jsp?CMSID=Findings (retrieved 2017-03-16).

45On secularisation on the discursive level, though mainly focusing on Britain, see Callum Brown, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding secularization 1800−2000, London 2001. For an insightful account on different types of secularisation, see Hugh McLeod, The Religious Crisis of the 1960s, Oxford 2007, pp. 257−265 and Hugh McLeod, ‘Introduction’, in Hugh McLeod & Werner Ustorf (eds), The Decline of Christendom in Western Europe, 1750−2000, Cambridge 2003, pp. 13−16.

46B.S. Turner, Religion and Modern Society: Citizenship, Secularisation and the State, Cambridge 2011.