Catholic religiosity and the hierarchical Church
in Catholic literature and secularisation in France and England, 1880–1914
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This chapter aims to explore some of the inner dynamics of French and English Catholic literary revivals in ways that cast more light on the confrontation between secularisation and resistance to it. One possible objection to the critics of secularisation is that the indices of religiosity in society show that secularisation has not occurred, or that it is at the least mitigated. This study provides an analysis of secularisation in which the model of the buffered individual poses two problems for religion when it is considered corporately. The first is that the buffered individual's mind-centred view of reality tends to undermine confidence in a commonly received meaning and purpose in the cosmos. The second is that the buffered individual's capacity for disengagement from this community of knowledge reinforces the model of radical individual autonomy, which Cavanaugh identifies as the basis on which secular politics is constructed.

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