The presence of the Church of England
in NorthAmerica offers an interesting case study of the later Stuart
church, where some of the issues and problems encountered by the church in
Old England were transplanted to British NorthAmerica, but also where the
radically different religious, political, and socio-cultural contexts across
the Atlantic threw up new challenges for the church. This chapter will focus
Irish diaspora Catholicism in
In their global faiths as in their insular polities, the experiences of the
Irish at home entailed a series of unstable ‘identities’ to ease relations
with others. This was so despite their obligation of due deference to
political authority, regardless of those exercising it. The search for
status and prestige imposed choreography of positioning in social life
which weakened any consistent outward witness to Catholic values.
Impoverished political identities exacerbated this, regardless of their
Identity is contingent and dynamic, constituting and reconstituting subjects with political effects. This book explores the implications of Protestant and 'British' incursions for the development of Irish Catholic identity as preserved in Irish language texts from the early modern period until the end of Stuart pretensions. Questions of citizenship, belonging, migration, conflict, security, peace and subjectivity are examined through social construction, post-colonialism, and gendered lenses from an interdisciplinary perspective. The book explains the issue of cultural Catholicism in the later middle ages, by way of devotional cults and practices. It examines Catholic unionism vis-a-vis Victorian politics, military and imperial service, the crown, and the position of the Catholic Church with relation to the structures of the state in Ireland. In particular the North American experience and especially the importance of the USA for consolidating a particular interpretation of Irish Catholic nationalist identity, is explored. Children studied in English Catholic public schools like Stonyhurst and Downside where the establishment Irish Catholics and rising mercantile classes sought to have the characteristics of the Catholic gentleman instilled in their progeny. The book sets out to detect the voices of those Catholic women who managed to make themselves heard by a wider audience than family and friends in Ireland in the years between the Act of Union of 1800 and independence/partition. It considers what devotional interests both Gaelic Irish and Anglo-Norman actually shared in common as part of a wider late medieval Catholic culture.
This brief historiography of women religious is, of necessity,
summarised in a broad manner. Much of the work in the chapters that follow
will compare and contrast women religious of England and Wales with Irish,
French, NorthAmerican and Australian women religious to provide an
understanding of the similarities and differences in religious life. Some of
these differences in religious life, as discussed in the next chapter, stem from
the unique history of Catholicism in England and from the social, political
and religious environment that Catholicism
, women’s congregations
expanded from their origins on the continent and in England and Ireland, to
NorthAmerica, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa.
Visits like that of Mother Philomena Higgins which recounted the ‘hardships
& work’ and the transformation of this ‘spirit of . . . joyful sacrifice’
conjured an image of the women religious that populated these far-flung
convents. Women religious imagined the ‘deep, horizontal comradeship’
with each member of the congregation; this reinforced their corporate
identity.75 They considered themselves part
heart of the
church’s mission. Their identity, however, continued to be informed by ideas
about femininity and morality. The nineteenth century saw the churches converge in the belief that the reform of society would ultimately be accomplished
through the pious influence of women and that this group required ‘proper’
instruction. In Catholic circles the reform of women fell largely to women religious, those engaged in social welfare work with women and girls.
Across Europe and NorthAmerica, women religious successfully navigated
the patriarchal terrain to achieve a
What is it like to be a Muslim possessed by a jinn spirit? How do you find refuge
from madness and evil spirits in a place like Denmark? As elsewhere in
Europe and North America, Danish Muslims have become hypervisible through
intensive state monitoring, surveillance, and media coverage. Yet their religion
remains poorly understood and is frequently identified by politicians,
commentators, and even healthcare specialists as the underlying invisible cause
of ‘integration problems’. Over several years Christian Suhr followed
Muslim patients being treated in a Danish mosque and in a psychiatric hospital.
With this book and award-winning film he provides a unique account of the
invisible dynamics of possession and psychosis, and an analysis of how the
bodies and souls of Muslim patients are shaped by the conflicting demands of
Islam and the psychiatric institutions of European nation-states. The book
reveals how both psychiatric and Islamic healing work not only to produce relief
from pain, but also entail an ethical transformation of the patient and the
cultivation of religious and secular values through the experience of pain.
Creatively exploring the analytic possibilities provided by the use of a camera,
both text and film show how disruptive ritual techniques are used in healing to
destabilise individual perceptions and experiences of agency, so as to allow
patients to submit to the invisible powers of psychotropic medicine or God.
The later Stuart church inherited many of the problems that had been faced by its antecedents at institutional, social, and intellectual levels, but was also rocked by several new and profound challenges. It is important, therefore, to locate the established church within a long-term framework of gradual developments and sharp disjunctures. This book offers an account of how clerics and laymen experienced the events of the period between the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and the Hanoverian succession of 1714. Politics and religion under the later Stuarts were powerfully intermingled, rather than sharply differentiated categories. Some clerics exercised considerable secular power, whilst many laymen dictated the terms of the church's position at local and national levels. Indeed it could hardly have been otherwise when religious beliefs were made into a shibboleth for holding public office and clerics expounded political maxims from pulpits across the land. Having sketched in the basic framework of relevant events in the later Stuart period, and their historical and geographical contexts, it remains to conclude by drawing them together. Three themes emerge as paramount because of their capacity to ignite contemporary discussion in the light of past experience. These include: the conflicting sources of authority for the Church of England, the relations between clergy and laymen, and the question of how successfully the church exercised its pastoral function.
. In 2006 I published a
long book covering the crusades as a whole. It appeared on both
sides of the Atlantic. The reaction revealed patterns of engagement and partisanship to rival the most extreme earlier examples
of distortion. In general terms, academic commentators and
writers in print tended to assess the work – positively and negatively – on its own terms of intellectual and historical merit.
Elsewhere, mainly but not exclusively in NorthAmerica (and not
excluding some professional scholars), and especially on the
internet, the work was more frequently judged
open debate within the Catholic Church – has been the stuff of New York Times
headlines. His related court battle with the Catholic University became a rallying
point for defenders of academic freedom across NorthAmerica, and stands as an
inspiration to defenders of freedom of conscience everywhere.
Charles Curran’s investigation and, many would say, persecution at the hands
of the Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – headed at the time
by one Joseph Ratzinger – appears remarkable when one reads his published work.
Curran has called for a re