Catholic Party (Belgium)
The first Catholic Party in Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 was established in 1869 as the Confessional Catholic Party .


In 1852 a Union Constitutionelle et Conservatrice was founded in Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

, in Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

 (1854), and in Antwerp and Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 in 1858, which were active only during elections. On 11 July 1864 the Federation of Catholic Circles and Conservative Associations was created .

The other group which contributed to the party were the Catholic Cercles, of which the eldest had been founded in Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

. The Roman Catholic conferences in Mechelen
Mechelen Footnote: Mechelen became known in English as 'Mechlin' from which the adjective 'Mechlinian' is derived...

 in 1863, 1864 and 1867 brought together Ultramontanes or Confessionals and the Liberal-Catholics or Constitutionals. At the Congress of 1867, it was decided to create the League of Catholic Cercles, which was founded on 22 October 1868.

The Catholic Party, under the leadership of Charles Woeste
Charles Woeste
Charles, Count Woeste was a Belgian Roman Catholic politician of German descent.He was born in Brussels, the son of Edouard Woeste, who was of Prussian descent and who became a naturalized Belgian on 15 January 1841. Edouard Woeste was consul for Prussia from 1843 to 1853, and married Constance...

, gained an absolute majority in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives in 1884 from the Liberal Party
Liberal Party (Belgium)
The Liberal Party was a Belgian political party that existed from 1846 until 1961, when it became the Party for Freedom and Progress, Partij voor Vrijheid en Vooruitgang/Parti de la Liberté et du Progrès or PVV-PLP, under the leadership of Omer Vanaudenhove.-History:The Liberal Party was founded...

 in the wake of the Schoolstrijd. The Catholic Party retained its absolute majority until 1918. In 1921, the party became the Catholic Union, and from 1936 the Catholic Block.

At the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, on 18–19 August 1945 the party was succeeded by the PSC-CVP
Christian Social Party (Belgium, defunct)
The Christian Social Party was a Belgian Catholic political party, which existed from 1945 until 1968.-History:At the end of World War II, on 18–19 August 1945 the Christelijke Volkspartij-Parti Social Chrétien was founded under the presidency of August de Schryver as the successor to the...


Notable members

  • Auguste Beernaert, Nobel Peace Prize
    Nobel Peace Prize
    The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

     in 1909.
  • Jules de Burlet
    Jules de Burlet
    Jules Philippe Marie de Burlet was a Belgian Catholic Party politician.Born in Ixelles, de Burlet was educated as a lawyer. He practised law in Nivelles, where he made his home, and he served as mayor of the town from 1872 to 1891.From 1884 he represented the Nivelles constituency in the Belgian...

  • Paul de Smet de Naeyer
    Paul de Smet de Naeyer
    Paul Joseph, Count de Smet de Naeyer was a Belgian Catholic Party politician.Born in Ghent, son of a cotton industrialist, he was himself also an industrialist and a banker...

  • Jules Vandenpeereboom
    Jules Vandenpeereboom
    Jules Henri Pierre François Vandenpeereboom was a Belgian Catholic Party politician.Vandenpeereboom was born in Kortrijk and educated as a lawyer...

  • Jules de Trooz
    Jules de Trooz
    Jules Henri Ghislain Marie, Baron de Trooz was a Belgian Catholic Party politician.De Trooz was born in Leuven, and had studied philosophy before entering politics. He represented Leuven in the Belgian Chamber of People's Representatives from 1899 onwards, serving as Education and Interior minister...

  • Gustaaf Sap
  • Frans Schollaert
    Frans Schollaert
    François Victor Marie Ghislain Schollaert was a Belgian Catholic Party politician.Born in Wilsele, Schollaert trained as a lawyer and practiced in Leuven. He served as head of the Flemish farmer's union, the Boerenbond...

  • Charles de Broqueville
    Charles de Broqueville
    Charles Marie Pierre Albert, Count de Broqueville was the 20th Prime Minister of Belgium, serving during World War I. He was born in Postel, Belgium. He was the leader of Belgium's Catholic Party, and he served as prime minister between 1911 and 1918...

  • Gérard Cooreman
    Gérard Cooreman
    Gérard François Marie Cooreman was a Belgian Catholic Party politician.Born in Ghent, Cooreman was trained in law, and practised as a lawyer, but was more active as a businessman and financier, and became involved with Catholic social groups.In 1892 Cooreman was elected to the Belgian Senate, and...

  • Henri Baels
    Henri Baels
    Henri Louis Baels , was a ship-owner from Ostend who subsequently was with the Catholic Party, in Belgium.-Background:He was the son of Julius Ludovicus Baels and wife Henri Louis Baels (Ostend, 18 January 1878 - 18 June 1951), was a ship-owner from Ostend who subsequently was with the Catholic...

See also

  • Politics of Belgium
    Politics of Belgium
    Politics of Belgium takes place in a framework of a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic, constitutional monarchy, whereby the King of the Belgians is the Head of State and the Prime Minister of Belgium is the head of government in a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by...

  • Christene Volkspartij
    Christene Volkspartij
    The Christene Volkspartij was the first Belgian Christian democratic political party. The party was founded in 1891 by the Belgian priest Adolf Daens, who was inspired by the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII....

  • Rerum Novarum
    Rerum Novarum
    Rerum Novarum is an encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on May 15, 1891. It was an open letter, passed to all Catholic bishops, that addressed the condition of the working classes. The encyclical is entitled: “Rights and Duties of Capital and Labour”...

  • Graves de Communi Re
    Graves de Communi Re
    Graves de Communi Re was an encyclical written by Pope Leo XIII in 1901, on Christian Democracy. It is part of a larger body of writings known as Catholic social teaching, that trace their origin to Rerum Novarum which was issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891...


  • Th. Luykx and M. Platel, Politieke geschiedenis van België, 2 vol., Kluwer, 1985
  • E. Witte, J. Craeybeckx en A. Meynen, Politieke geschiedenis van België, Standaard, 1997
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