Between 1815 and 1848, an intense public debate about the problem of revolution took place in Europe. The revolutions of 1789 and 1830 were seen by many as religious phenomena that begged a
theological interpretation. In the absence of a revolutionary experience of their own, German Catholics watched the French and Belgian examples especially closely, drew conclusions about their own
situation, and thereby developed a new sense of confessional cohesion that transcended traditional social and spatial boundaries. This meant that in 1848 German Catholics possessed political models,
strategies, and options that enabled them to participate in the German revolution adeptly and with great success.
At the dawn of the age of mass communication, the Catholic press provided, for the first time, a forum in which genuine debate could occur. The author traces the emergence of this new public sphere
from 1820 and offers a precise analysis of the press, its objectives, and distribution. The study thereby also contributes to the history of the press and communications.
In this debate about revolution, Catholics of differing political and ecclesiastical orientation disseminated their theological and sociopolitical ideals and polemicized against competing models. The
author pays particular attention to the question of what foreign sources shaped German perceptions. An especially lively debate occurred within ultramontane circles, which also manifested an increasing
international communication. At the same time, the stirrings of a liberal Catholicism inspired by the Belgian model became perceptible after 1830.
At first conducted exclusively within Catholic circles, the debate about revolution for a time came to occupy the center of interdenominational controversies, which the author
also portrays very vividly.