The Making of a Catholic Parish in Eighteenth-Century Hungary: Competing Interests, Integration, and Interference
Béla Vilmos Mihalik
Research Centre for the Humanities
In this essay the potentials for political interaction among local communities will be examined through parish organization in the century following the expulsion of the Ottomans from the territory of Hungary, i.e. the period referred to as late confessionalization (1681–1781). Roughly 150 years of Ottoman occupation had wreaked havoc on the parish network, which was reorganized over the course of the eighteenth century. Village communities took the initiative to establish parishes, but as they did so, the clashing interests of the Catholic Church, the landlords, and the state had to be addressed and negotiated. The dynamics of this process and the ways in which the local communities were able to assert their specific needs should therefore be discussed. The complexity of often divergent interests and aims compelled the communities to devise cautious means of communicating with the competing groups, and it also helped further the internal integration of the local societies and the integration of these communities into church and secular structures. However, growing state influence made abundantly clear that the roles of the church administration and the parishes would soon undergo slow but meaningful change.
Keywords: late confessionalization, parishes, local communities, community politics, integration