Catholic Action

The Catholic Action (short KA) sees itself as a lay movement of the Catholic Church, which wants to help shape society and the Church by preaching the Gospel in the lay apostolate in the sense of Catholic social teaching.

History and Mission

The origins of Catholic Action are in Italian lay Catholicism of the 19th century. Pius X, Pope from August 1903 to August 1914, was a great patron of Catholic Action. In his encyclical Il Fermo proposito of 11 June 1905, in his Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique of 25 August 1910, he laid down the principles and the objectives and condemn the political and social modernism (see anti-modernism and anti-modernism oath ).

A very large appreciation experienced the Catholic Action with the inaugural encyclical Ubi arcano Dei by Pope Pius XI. December 23, 1922. This pope gave her a canonical status and promoted the creation of Catholic action in many countries. Politically particularly influential she was in Brazil, where it was founded on July 4, 1937, da Silveira Cintra, was heavily promoted by the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Cardinal Sebastião Leme. The intention of Pope Pius XI. was to enable the lay Catholics in public life. They sprang from the insight that the clergy in modern times is no longer strong enough to carry the Church's apostolate. Pius XI. wanted to summarize all Catholic lay movements under one roof and under the leadership of Catholic Action, and thus make the Catholic Action of the Catholic lay movement par excellence. Thus it became a mass movement. Pius XI. wanted ( and so unions ( workers' movement ), socialists ) make the Catholic Action to a counter-movement to the very large movements at that time.

In France, the Catholic Action has taken over in many areas the tasks of Charity, especially in the care of the poor and homeless.

In Germany the development of Catholic Action was always low, since a strong association Catholicism ( Pius Associations, Adolph Kolping, etc.) was created already in the course of industrialization. The Kulturkampf resulted in northern Germany to form a strong political advocacy of the Catholic population by the German Centre Party.

From today 's perspective, Pius XI initiative. Although already an appreciation of Christian lay people, but was only recognized by the Vatican II Catholic side that the ( gefirmte ) baptized a share in the priesthood of Christ ( = mediator between God and humans), and therefore it has its own functions that do not the authority of the clergy are subject.

Today, important concerns the promotion of cooperation of Christian churches, the support of family and the gospel as good news for every Christian must be made personally experienced. Politically, took over in the Federal Republic, the Central Committee of German Catholics tasks that held the Catholic Action in other countries.

However, a far more intense apostolate practice in the post-conciliar decades new spiritual communities, the largest of which were known as movements internationally, in particular the Schoenstatt Movement ( Germany ), Legion of Mary ( Irl ) Focolare Movement (Italian ), Communion and Liberation (Italian ), Community of Sant'Egidio (Italian ) and the Neokatechumenat (Spanish ). The Italian foundations have reduced the once very strong influence of the Azione Cattolica especially on the younger generation of the predominantly Catholic part of the population in Italy noticeable. The Azione Cattolica in Italy from 1943 to 1994 was strongly associated with the local Christian democracy, more so than the Central Committee of German Catholics in Germany.

One of the most important German representative was Erich Klausener, head of Catholic Action in Berlin from 1928 to 1934, which organized rallies against anti- church groups and against Nazism. Klausener was murdered during the so -called Röhm - Putsch, during which Hitler abolished many of his opponents.

Known representatives

Birgit Bolognese Leuchtenmüller, Christa Buzzi, Luitgard Derschmidt, Christa elbows, Christian Friesl, Gabriele Frittum, Walter Greinert, Peter Grubits, Margit Hauft, Erich Klausener, Nicholas Marini, Gerhard Marschütz



The Catholic Action has become important, especially in countries where the Catholic Association beings had not yet developed. Where there were already numerous Catholic changes, as in Germany, became the Catholic Action only the importance of collecting About notion that almost no longer appear today.

  • Christian Workers (YCW / KAJ )
  • Catholic Workers Movement
  • Catholic academics Association
  • Catholic Students Youth ( KSJ )
  • Catholic Rural Youth Movement of Germany
  • Central Committee of German Catholics ( ZdK )


Catholic Action Austria refers to the Catholic lay organizations at club base that have a direct close relationship to the church, and have usually made ​​a cleric as a pastor to the side, currently Bishop Alois Schwarz from Klagenfurt. President is Luitgard Derschmidt from Salzburg. Catholic Action is home to so as the governing body organizations in the areas of children, youth, high school youth, women, men, workers / and academics:

  • Catholic Youth Group Austria ( KJSÖ )
  • Catholic Youth Austria (formerly separately: Catholic working-class youth, Catholic Student Youth) ( KJÖ )
  • Catholic high school youth of Austria ( this includes: Catholic University Parish ) ( KHJÖ )
  • Catholic men's movement in Austria ( KMBÖ )
  • Catholic Women's Movement in Austria ( kfbö )
  • Catholic academics Association of Austria ( KAVÖ )
  • Catholic workers / interior motion Austria ( KABÖ )

A predecessor organization in Austria was the central point of all the non-political associations of Austria.