The Catholic Church has always been a major player in European and world history. Whether it has enjoyed a religious dominance or existed as a minority religion, Catholicism has never been divorced from political life.
The alliance between altar and crown had been an established fact for several centuries. 'Priests, Prelates and People' records the Church struggling to adapt to the new political landscape ushered in by the French Revolution and shows how the formation of national states and identities was both helped and hindered by the Catholic establishment. Faced with the emergence of modern mass politics, the Catholic Church has frequently diverged from lay opinion. Nicholas Atkin and Frank Tallett show the Vatican increasingly out of step in the wake of world war, Cold War and the massive expansion of the developing world, with its problems of population growth and under-development.
Few historians have tried to undertake a full-scale history of European Catholicism, preferring to focus on individual countries or particular aspects of the Church’s political dealings. Atkin and Tallett here tackle that history in all its complexity, recognising its national and regional differences and exploring its ever-shifting ground.