Between two cultures : Fr. Hermann Joseph Untraut (1854-1941) and his pioneering efforts in the liturgical movement in Wisconsin

Henry, Miranda Gail, Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia
Warren, Heather, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Fogarty, Gerald, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

In 1925, a German American Catholic parish priest from the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, the Rev. Hermann Joseph Untraut (1854-1941), published a book entitled Die liturgische Bewegung (The Liturgical Movement). Based on a series of articles for a German Catholic newspaper, the book described liturgical renewal efforts then underway among some European Catholics and called upon German Catholics in the United States to reform Catholic liturgical practices by encouraging greater lay participation in the public worship of the Church. Probably in large part because it appeared only in German at a time when the language was near extinction in the United States, Untraut's book received little notice in his own day, and scholars of American Catholicism and the liturgical movement have largely overlooked his pioneering efforts. This dissertation examines the life and legacy of this forgotten figure and places him and his work in the context of German American Catholic life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

After an overview of the movement for liturgical reform that emerged first in European monasteries in the 1830s and gradually came to influence parish life and spread to the United States in the 1920s, the dissertation looks at the situation of German American Catholics in the United States in the decades around the turn of the twentieth century. This account draws on the numerous essays Untraut contributed to his German language diocesan weekly newspaper in the 1880s, commenting on such issues as parochial education, the preservation of the German language, and the importance of German Catholic social organizations.

The remaining sections of the dissertation focus directly on Hermann Untraut. Chapter 3 recounts his biography, from his birth and education in Germany to his experiences as a pastor, chaplain, and supporter of liturgical reform in the United States. Chapter 4 describes the influence three European liturgical pioneers-Joseph Kramp, Pius Parsch, and Valentin Thalhofer-had on Untraut's ideas for liturgical renewal. Finally, Chapter 5 provides a close analysis of the theological positions and practical recommendations Untraut advocated in Die liturgische Bewegung and includes the first English translations of excerpts from his book.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Catholic, Untraut, German, liturgical movement, parish life
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