The topic of this article is 'apocalypticism', that is, a catastrophic vision of modern civilization with no prospect of a turnaround in one's inner world, as it appears in the works of four Czech Roman Catholic thinkers, who were emigres after the Communist takeover of 1948. While in his native land, the historian and columnist Karel Schwarzenberg (1911-1986) wrote in a starkly apocalyptic, anti-civilization spirit, in the tradition of Leon Bloy and Josef Florian. In exile, however, his apocalypticism became milder, and was projected more into his experience of the liturgy (the fleetingness of time). The apocalypticism of the historian, Christian sociologist, publicist, writer, and politician Bohdan Chudoba (1909-1982), and the Germanist, political philosopher, and translator Rio Preisner (1925-2007) was, by contrast, intensified while emigres. Independently of each other, they created great bodies of work (Preisner was published, but Chudoba's writing has remained largely in manuscript), in which they tried to present a total vision of history, which was, from their perspective, necessarily doomed. Similarly, they perceive the attempt to modernize the Church after the Second Vatican Council as part of this catastrophic process, because the Church, in their opinion, was conforming to negative tendencies in the world. The Germanist and theologian Vladimir Neuwirth (1921-1998) wrote 'Apokalypticky denik' (Apocalyptic Diary), which is not 'apocalyptic' in the usual sense of the word. Rather, it is 'consoling' - the apocalypse is an ever-present dimension of human existence and the world, and one must be able to live with it and accept it. It follows from the comparisons in this article that the apocalypticism of Schwarzenberg and Neuwirth, both of whom worked with Czech emigre clergymen and their associates who mostly agreed with the changes after the Second Vatican Council, tended to diminish, whereas Chudoba and Preisner, who parted on bad terms with those clergymen and their associates, became entrenched in their position as 'lone critics on the margin of a (rotten) Church'. It seems that work with Church institutions to some extent protected emigre writers from extreme apocalyptic tendencies. (The emigre novelist Jan Cep is a similar example.) According to the author, however, there is a fundamental difference between the two lone, 'real' apocalyptics: whereas Chudoba ended up in Spain in true isolation, without having any hope towards the end of his life that his ideas would find a wider audience, Preisner, in America, lived to see the day when a vision of the world very close to his own would move from the margins back to the forefront of public discourse in the opinions of the American Neo-Conservatives of the early twenty-first century.
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