Catholic Party (Belgium)

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Catholic Party
French: Parti catholique
Dutch: Katholieke Partij
Historical leadersCharles Woeste
Paul de Smet de Naeyer
Jules de Burlet
Auguste Beernaert
Gustave Sap
Succeeded byChristian Social Party
Trade Union wingConfederation of Christian Trade Unions
IdeologyBelgian nationalism
Christian democracy
Political positionCentre-right
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Colours  Gold

The Catholic Party (French: Parti catholique; Dutch: Katholieke Partij) was a Belgian political party established in 1869 as the Confessional Catholic Party (Dutch: Confessionele Katholieke Partij).


In 1852, a Union Constitutionnelle et Conservatrice was founded in Ghent, in Leuven (1854), and in Antwerp and Brussels in 1858, which were active only during elections. On July 11, 1864, the Federation of Catholic Circles and Conservative Associations was created (French: Fédération des Cercles catholiques et des Associations conservatrices; Dutch: Verbond van Katholieke Kringen en der Conservatieve Verenigingen).

The other group which contributed to the party were the Catholic Cercles, of which the eldest had been founded in Bruges. The Malines Congresses 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 Circles, which was founded on October 22, 1868.

The Catholic Party, under the leadership of Charles Woeste, gained an absolute majority in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives in 1884 from the Liberal Party in the wake of the schools dispute. The Catholic Party retained its absolute majority until 1918. In 1921, the party became the Catholic Union, and from 1936 the Catholic Bloc.

At the end of World War II, on 18–19 August 1945 the party was succeeded by the PSC-CVP.

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

Chamber of Deputies[edit]


  • Gerard, Emmanuel (2001). The Emergence of a People's Party: The Catholic Party in Belgium, 1918–1945. Christian Democracy in 20th Century Europe. Böhlau Verlag. pp. 98–121.
  • Gerard, Emmanuel (2004). Kaiser, Wolfram; Wohnout, Helmut (eds.). Religion, Class and Language: The Catholic Party in Belgium. Political Catholicism in Europe 1918-45. Routledge. pp. 77–94. ISBN 0-7146-5650-X.
  • 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