Elizabeth C. Tingle
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The authority of tradition
Catholicism in Nantes, 1560–89
in Authority and society in Nantes during the French wars of religion, 1559–98
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This chapter discusses the forging of Catholic confessional identity, of religious and military strife, its relationship with indigenous spiritual revival and Tridentine reform, and its impact upon the political culture of Nantes during the mid-sixteenth century, by which time Catholic spirituality was undergoing change. Historians such as A. Galpern have argued that belief and participation in traditional rituals declined in this period. In a study of the Champagne region, Galpern argues for a decrease in religiosity in the 1540s and 1550s, shown by changing styles of religious art, which became less emotionally intense; changes in poor relief, with the rise of centralised municipal institutions; a drive against beggars and indiscriminate almsgiving; and declining confraternity membership. It is also suggested that there was increasing alienation of certain social groups from collective piety, in particular, a distancing of elites from popular groups, a product of increasing hierarchy in towns, growing oligarchy in city government, and differentiation in guilds between masters and journeymen.

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