The Assumptionists, La Croix, and the Dreyfus Affair: a resurgence of French Catholic politicization

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University of New Brunswick


When the Dreyfus Affair began in in 1894, French Catholics were significantly less politicized than they became during and after the Affair. For the Assumptionists the Affair allowed them to develop their own brand of anti-Semitic beliefs which shaped their political convictions and broader world view. Focusing on the period between 1895 and 1898, this thesis examines the coverage of the Affair by the Assumptionists' daily newspaper La Croix, to provide a perspective on French Catholic attitudes on interconnected cultural, religious, and political issues. In using the Affair as a catalyst to promote a return to traditionalist attitudes, La Croix also took the opportunity not only to encourage its particular brand of anti-Semitism, but also to link it to hatred of Freemasonry and Protestantism. The paper's contributors frequently denounced Jews while also emphasizing the nefarious influence of Freemasons and the international challenges posed by Protestant countries like England and Germany.