The latest issue of the Review of the Faculty of History of the University of Fribourg, Schweitzerische Zeitschrift für Religions- and Kulturgeschichte (110/2016, p. 53-83.) published the article which John van den Hengel wrote for the Seminar on the apocalyptic in Fribourg and Lucerne in April 2016. The article is entitled “Crisis within Modernity: Léon Dehon and the Social Reign of the Sacred Heart.” To have some idea what the article is about, here is the abstract of the article:
In the foreshortened political space for Catholics after the French Revolution and the ascendancy of the republican movement in France, it is possible to note an increasing tendency toward an apocalyptic reading of the time among Catholics. An important tool for such a self-understanding was the devotion to the Sacred Heart, which experienced an explosive growth in France in the 19th century. The devotion provided a clearly apocalyptic interpretation of French history. The paper will explore this apocalyptic interpretation through the works of Léon Dehon, a priest and founder of a religious community dedicated to the Sacred Heart and a proponent for a social Catholicism in France. Particularly in his writings between 1889 and 1903 he promoted a social, apocalyptic reading of the Sacred Heart devotion as alternative to the Republican, secularist reading, founded on the French Revolution and the declaration of the Rights of Man. In searching for a redemptive moment, Léon Dehon looked to the social reign of the Sacred Heart as a way of overcoming the capitalist, industrial economy which he saw was wreaking enormous economic hardship for workers. The Sacred Heart and its social reign was a critique of the policies of the Third Republic and an alternative grounded in a concrete, religiously motivated, social action in line with the social encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891).