- Member of the National Assembly and the Reichstag from 1919 to 1933
Kaas studied theology in Trier and was ordained in Rome after finishing his studies. He then obtained a doctorate in philosophy and theology. In 1905, he started studying religious law. From 1918, he worked as a professor of religious law at the University of Trier. In Munich in 1917, he became the canonical advisor of papal nuncio Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, continuing on in this role in Berlin from 1920. His close ties with Pacelli brought him a lot of influence within the Catholic Center Party. Without any serious political ambitions, he was elected to the National Assembly in 1919. However, once there, Kaas became very interested in politics and constitutional issues. Accordingly, he became a Center Party Reichstag member. In 1928, he was elected Chairman of the Center Party. As part of the party’s moderate right wing, he supported Brüning’s presidential cabinet. He underestimated the Nazis’ ambitions and tried to convince his party to cooperate with Hitler. During the vote on the Enabling Act, he pushed the Center group to vote for its adoption. He also played a crucial role in negotiating the concordat between the Holy See and the German Reich. He decided to stay in Rome permanently from 1933 on.