Private religion
in Catholic England
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The wide variety of religious commitments which were available generally required an individual to set him or herself aside from 'normality', either through commitment to a religious order, the life of a hermit or the extreme of total seclusion in an anchorage. The activities within the private oratories have led one commentator to refer to the household itself as a 'religious community'. For those who sought advanced domestic spiritual satisfaction, an episcopal licence for the celebration of divine offices within a private chapel or oratory was necessary. The inventories offer insights into the furnishing of the private sacred spaces, although what they actually reveal about the owners of the property is perhaps less easily discernible. To turn from the creation of officially sanctioned oratorical spaces to the acceptance of some degree of practical regulation is a major shift in direction, but nevertheless remains within the sphere of private religion.

Catholic England

Faith, religion and observance before the Reformation

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