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3 • The secular concerns of contemplatives The management of religious communities implied necessary interaction with secular life. If their raison d’être was spiritual, monasteries nevertheless depended upon pragmatic factors to survive. It was rarely possible for religious women to die to the world fully, and the survival of their houses demanded that they maintained a modicum of commerce with the outside.1 Contemplative life could not exist without constant negotiations with local authorities and secular interlocutors regarding settlements, lands, properties

in English Benedictine nuns in exile in the seventeenth century
The conversion of Irish Catholics, c.1721–34

temporal and spiritual allegiance to the pope, the arch-enemy of all Protestant countries. This threat would only be removed when Ireland was made Protestant. Many Irish Protestants regarded it as part of their religious duty to save the souls of a Catholic population who would otherwise be damned as a result of their adherence to a ‘superstitious’ and ‘idolatrous’ faith. Catholicism was also seen to be inimical to economic development owing to its discouragement of individual responsibility, an overabundance of holy days and the possession of a clergy that posed a

in Witchcraft and Whigs
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preaching and preaching aids The decades either side of the year 1200 saw a remarkable re-orientation in the religious life of western Europe, characterised in large part by a new and urgent interest in the spiritual life and moral welfare of the laity. From the thirteenth century onwards this led to a remarkable explosion in popular preaching, which is associated mainly with the orders of friars. For while

in Friars’ Tales
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other representative women, provide the introductions to each chapter. When women’s history emerged as a field in the 1970s, much of historians’ effort went toward recovering the details of women’s lives. This book contributes to that tradition, but also responds to Jacqueline de Vries’s call for a focus on women’s religious experiences ‘constructed within specific social, emotional, institutional, and theological circumstances.’3 It is the first scholarly examination of the entire history of nineteenth-century British Methodist women’s preaching. Inevitably it draws

in Women and the shaping of British Methodism
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compulsory schooling. Most Catholic religious congregations overcame their scruples about National Schools; 75 per cent of convent primary schools by 1850 were under the National Board of Education system, despite the religious restrictions. Though some congregations held aloof, most nuns, brothers, parish priests, clergymen and Protestant voluntary groups were glad to get the money and satisfied to comply with the regulations – in impoverished areas, in particular, it was the only way they could survive.12 4883 Social Change PT bjl.qxd 46 13/6/07 11:07 Page 46

in Social change and everyday life in Ireland 1850–1922

4 • The missionary spirit of enclosed nuns Despite the strict decrees of the Council of Trent on conventual enclosure, female religious institutions in the seventeenth century were in frequent interaction with the outside world. Communities depended upon it for their economic stability and growth. In return, nuns played an active role in the spiritual welfare of their patrons. They educated the young, and they provided counsel and offered retreats for adults; they also prayed for the souls of the departed. Because of the situation of Catholics at home, and

in English Benedictine nuns in exile in the seventeenth century
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Belief and agency in wartime

• 4 • Coping Belief and agency in wartime Introduction: belief in ‘total war’ Now may God bless you all. And may He defend the right. For it is evil things that we shall be fighting against – brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution – and against them, I am certain that the right will prevail.1 Thus Neville Chamberlain concluded his radio broadcast of 3 September 1939, announcing that Britain and the empire were at war, with a religious blessing, and a claim that God would be on the side of Britain and her allies. Chamberlain was

in Dying for the nation
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British measures against the clergy

these are likely to have resulted more often from ignorance or indifference than from the intention to offend religious sensibilities. Thus aggressive or insensitive behaviour during raids of churches could easily result in the accusation of sacrilege. The most celebrated case happened during a raid by the military on a temporary church in Dunmore, County Galway, in October 1920. Dean Thomas Macken, the parish priest, was celebrating mass in a school building used as a church in an outlying part of his parish. He was addressing the congregation after the conclusion of

in Freedom and the Fifth Commandment

. Refusing to abandon her belief that she had an ‘extraordinary call,’ her choices were limited to speaking to women only with her superintendent’s permission, clandestine preaching as her husband’s substitute, or joining a breakaway sect. Yet Methodism still contained the conditions that had encouraged women in Wesley’s lifetime. The emphasis on the transforming power of personal religious experience and the evangelical momentum, while dulled in official Wesleyanism in the difficult years of the Napoleonic Wars, emerged   43   LLoyd_02_chap 1-4.indd 43 17/09/2009 10

in Women and the shaping of British Methodism
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Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66

Introduction Chapter 1 Introduction: church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66 Elliot Vernon T he topic of church polity is one of the ‘Cinderella’ subjects of early modern religious history, late to the ball but entrancing none the less.1 The chapters presented in this volume argue that the topic of church polity was a crucial factor in the politics of the British Atlantic world during the mid-seventeenth century. By ‘church polity’ is meant the manner in which the church is structured and governed. It is related to the term

in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66