Scotland’s Catholic Church before emancipation
in Creating a Scottish Church
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This chapter begins with an outline of the state of Catholicism in Scotland during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a period when persecution, priest shortages and incessant financial hardship plagued church development. It highlights the cultural tension operative between an indigenous Scots clergy and many of the Irish missionaries who, through their common language and shared customs, had formed strong and definitive connections with pockets of faithful in the remote Highlands. The chapter examines the evolution of Catholic relief, the process of repealing the legislation that imposed numerous civil disabilities and restrictions upon Catholics and dissenters, between 1779 and 1829. Collective assertions were welcomed by a Catholic leadership whose growing confidence was helping them to capitalise upon the situation and agitate more publicly for emancipation and social integration.

Creating a Scottish Church

Catholicism, gender and ethnicity in nineteenth-century Scotland


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