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Between Theological Positions and National-Political Interests. Catholic Bishops as Actors in the German-French and German-Polish Reconciliation after World War II, 1945–1990

The project – funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) – investigates the interdependence of religious and political factors in two bilateral reconciliation processes after World War II – the German-French and the German-Polish. It employs an actors-focused perspective which centers on Catholic bishops.
In the course of the both reconciliation processes the bishops were caught in loyalty conflicts between the theological idea of reconciliation on the one hand, and their integration into a particular political, national and societal environment on the other. The interdependence of religious and political factors in reconciliation are clearly visible in the distinctions and alterations in the way that bishops in Germany (GDR and FRG), France and Poland dealt with the common Christian idea of reconciliation.
The project offers a comparative analysis of both reconciliation processes in the European context on the backdrop of the Cold War. The results of the project may contribute to the development of strategies of conflict resolution, which is relevant to the tensions currently appearing in Europe.