Czech Intellectual Jiří Němec and Austrian-left Catholicism Thought


The presented study aims to define the origin and character of transnational intellectual relations between Czech Catholic philosopher and essayist Jiří Němec and the intellectual group of Austrian left Catholics in the 1960s. The article traces the impact and influence of Austrian left Catholicism on the thought and spiritual development of Jiří Němec. Additionally, the study identifies notable intellectual aspects, significance, and the history of Austrian left Catholicism in the 20th century, as well as its relation to Czech Catholicism, notably during the period of the Second Vatican Council. Austrian left Catholicism developed in response to the crisis of society, national identity, and statehood in Austria during the 20th century. Its intellectual and spiritual aspirations, however, extended beyond the Austrian horizon, with its intellectual legacy resonating throughout Central Europe. Respected figures of Austrian left Catholicism, such as August Maria Knoll, Wilfried Daim, or Friedrich Heer, were public intellectuals who addressed critical issues of the modern era, such as democracy, equality, and social revolution, envisioning the synthesis of democracy and modern Catholicism. The study aims to answer the question of how their vision corresponded with the religious and political thought of Jiří Němec, the most distinctive Czech Catholic intellectual in the second half of the 20th century.