Thinking and believing
in Catholic literature and secularisation in France and England, 1880–1914
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The secularisation of mentalities in France and England was denoted by the shift towards a more anthropocentric conceptualisation of humanity and by the way in which certain secular discourses came to dominate the public mind. This chapter addresses how the French and English Catholic writers seek to undermine what Owen Chadwick famously called the secularisation of the European mind. The chapter considers the critique of naturalistic readings of the material world, of mechanisation, scientism and the secularising influence of German thought. Such critiques exemplify the need they felt of being buffered against secular mentalities at large. It examines the views of intellectual and anti-intellectual Catholic writers about the proper methodology with which to attack secular thought. This study shifts through the ways in which they asserted meaning in the cosmos by re-establishing links between the material and the spiritual domains.

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