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’s religious and moral vocation were reconciled uneasily with the notion of the female professional.’ Religious activism, even if parochial, extended the boundaries of their identity and propelled many women religious into roles as administrators, educators and health care professionals.3 These professional roles became an important facet of their 1 2 3 An earlier version of this chapter was published as Carmen M. Mangion, ‘“Good Teacher” or “Good Religious”?: The Professional Identity of Catholic Women Religious in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales’, Women’s History

in Contested identities

leisure culture and an emergent advertising industry. 6 Research coming out of two collaborative, international projects points to an interwar Modern Girl sharing some characteristics in common: her visibility, her agency, her patterns of consumption and her associations with romance and sexuality. 7 She is identified as a localised global phenomenon who challenged conventional understandings of girlhood and thus destabilised the social order and the moral codes of the times. 8 Historian Sally Alexander emphasises the agency of 1930s English working girls at a time

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age

an emergent psychotherapeutic culture which replaced Christianity as the dominant moral resource for individuals in the first half of the twentieth century. 14 As Michael Kimmel notes, however, it was not until the late 1960s that this discourse began to infiltrate popular consciousness and, with this, take on a revised meaning. 15 The sociologists Walter Gagnon and

in The Pope and the pill
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devotional items including the rosary beads so beloved by Dublin’s mothers in the 1940s and 1950s. 2 irish women Notably, lay Irish women played important yet understudied roles in the Church from 1850 to 1950. Women dominated daily lived religion and challenged the established patriarchy through their traditional socially constructed gender roles: church-goers, managers of the holy household, moral-imparting mothers, consumers and creators of devotional culture, correspondents, gossipers, philanthropists and activists, and community members. Amidst enormous political

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Conclusion When Minister of Health Dr. Noë l Browne sought to implement state maternity-and-child health services in 1950–1951, Ireland’s Catholic bishops protested. Led by Dublin’s Archbishop John Charles ­McQuaid, they staunchly opposed the health provision proposal, arguing that through it, the state intended to infringe upon the essentially private rights of the family. The bishops also resisted the maternity scheme because they feared that Ireland, following other welfare states, might not adhere to ‘Catholic moral teaching’ under the new plan.1 In late 1950

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950
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wrecking thousands of marriages, sexually tormenting countless numbers of simple-minded people and starving millions of young children, would not any moral civilisation indict that man as the arch criminal of the day? 1 Emmanuelle Arsan, the author of a collection of famed erotic novels which inspired

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her colleagues were more than reactionary Christian women attempting to rehabilitate sexual morality; they were creators of a ‘surprising radical, unorthodox construction of gender and sexual morality’.7 Deborah M. Valenze’s work on female preachers portrays these women as mobilisers of working-class leadership who spread popular evangelicalism in the first half of the nineteenth century.8 Sean Gill links women’s ‘moral and spiritual qualities’ to their involvement in public campaigns for social reform.9 Susan Mumm suggests that Anglican women religious felt they

in Contested identities

secular fields implicitly repositioned the Church in relation to its own epistemology and moral authority. The commission’s very existence was based on the principle that sex represented a subject to be understood rather than an object to be known, a fundamental departure from the Church’s traditional stance. If the Catholic hierarchy decided that elements of sexual experience fell beyond the bounds of its

in The Pope and the pill
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made a kind of existential contract: in return for the reassurance and stability afforded by the Catholic metaphysical system, one accepted the moral imperatives that went with it, even if they were in practice sometimes inhumanly difficult and demanding. It was precisely the strength of the system that it was total, comprehensive and uncompromising, and

in The Pope and the pill

Catholic masculinity based on discipline and hierarchy.26 As later chapters will describe, this increasingly powerful clergy clashed with some lay women, who may have feared that they were losing autonomy and moral authority in an age of increasing religious orthodoxy and patriarchy. The Catholic Church of the ‘devotional revolution’ glorified female piety and virtue, thus herding Irish women into restricted roles as wives and mothers; here, again, the decades following the Great Famine were the key years of transition. Bishops and other Church leaders consistently

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950