signified a broader dispute that had emerged within Catholicism during the post-war years – what, or more pointedly who, constituted the ‘Church’? This question continues to represent a point of dispute amongst members of the Catholic community, but is only beginning to be engaged with by historians of religious change. As such, this chapter will adopt a broader, historically accurate, definition of the term

in The Pope and the pill

Wyclif’s views on the church and the papacy were recorded systematically in two roughly contemporary treatises, On the Church (1378–79) and On the Power of the Pope (late 1379). His conception of the church, like his understanding of the nature of Scripture, was underpinned quite conspicuously by his philosophical realism, which privileged the eternal over the finite and ephemeral. In the first chapter of On the Church , in response to his initial desire to describe the quiddity of the church, he therefore claims simply that the

in John Wyclif

Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism is the only book-length study of lay Catholic women in modern Irish history. Focusing on the pivotal century from 1850 to 1950, it analyses the roles that middle-class, working-class, and rural poor lay women played in the evolution of Irish Catholicism and thus the creation of modern Irish identities. This project demonstrates that in an age of Church growth and renewal stretching from the aftermath of the Great Famine through the early years of the Irish Republic, lay women were essential to all aspects of Catholic devotional life, including both home-based religion and public Catholic rituals. It also reveals that women, by rejecting, negotiating, and reworking Church dictates, complicated Church and clerical authority. Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism re-evaluates the relationship between the institutional Church, the clergy, and women, positioning lay Catholic women as central actors in the making of modern Ireland. It also contests views that the increasing power of the Catholic Church caused a uniform decline in Irish women’s status after the Great Famine of the 1840s, revealing that middle-class, working-class, and rural poor lay women fought with their priests, dominated household religion, and led parish rituals, thus proving integral to the development of a modern Irish Catholic ethos and culture.

Sex, Catholicism and women in post-war England

On 25 July 1968, Pope Paul VI shook the world. His encyclical letter Humanae Vitae rejected widespread calls to permit use of the contraceptive pill and deemed artificial contraception ‘intrinsically evil’. The Catholic Church is now commonly identified as the antagonist in a story of sixties sexual revolution – a stubborn stone resisting the stream of sex-positive modernity. There has been little consideration of how Catholic women themselves experienced this period of cultural upheaval. This book is about the sexual and religious lives of Catholic women in post-war England. It uses original oral history material to uncover the way Catholic women negotiated spiritual and sexual demands at a moment when the two increasingly seemed at odds with one another. The book also examines the public pronouncements and secretive internal documents of the central Catholic Church, offering a ground-breaking new explanation of the Pope’s decision to prohibit the pill. The materials gathered here provide a fresh perspective on the idea that ‘sex killed God’, reframing dominant approaches to the histories of sex, religion and modernity. The memories of Catholic women help us understand why religious belief does not structure the lives of most English men and women today in the way it did at the close of the Second World War, why sex holds a place of such significance in our modern culture, and crucially, how these two developments related to one another. The book will be essential reading for not only scholars of sexuality, religion, gender and oral history, but anyone interested in post-war social change.

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Selected Latin works in translation

John Wyclif (d. 1384) was among the leading schoolmen of fourteenth-century Europe. He was an outspoken controversialist and critic of the church, and, in his last days at Oxford, the author of the greatest heresy that England had known. This volume offers translations of a representative selection of his Latin writings on theology, the church and the Christian life. It offers a comprehensive view of the life of this charismatic but irascible medieval theologian, and of the development of the most prominent dissenting mind in pre-Reformation England. This collection will be of interest to undergraduate and graduate students of medieval history, historical theology and religious heresy, as well as scholars in the field.

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, the sacramental thing and not the sacrament, namely, the union of Christ with his mystical body, which is the church. Now, this last is nowhere perceptible, and consequently, the sacrament is not actually present anywhere . The objections of pagans are annihilated with this conviction, for they argue that a sow, a dog or a mouse can eat our God, because [the host] is the body of Christ, which is God. According to this same conviction, we say to them that they make a false assumption faithlessly, since such animals can indeed eat the

in John Wyclif
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early 1970s also challenged the sense that Ireland was one of the last bastions of cultural isolation and religious devotion on the continent. Of course, the most significant developments regarding the Catholic Church’s place in Ireland came in the 1990s and early 2000s, with the clerical sexual abuse scandals and controversies over the Magdalen laundries and industrial schools. These controversies led to an unprecedented questioning of the moral authority of an institution that, just a few decades earlier, wielded enormous cultural control. And these scandals placed

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950
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’s working-class mothers prayed with their rosary beads ‘in church, home, on the street, in shops or queues, almost anywhere’.3 These accounts illustrate that lay Irish women came to represent faith and nation in the modern age. They testify to the central positions that lay women held in the religious worlds of nineteenth and twentieth-century Ireland even as they document both changes and continuities in how women practiced their faith from the post-famine decades to 1950. In the immediate aftermath of the Great Famine, the Irish Catholic Church remained institutionally

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950
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cleaving between personal Catholic religiosities and the processes of the body represented a significant contraction in the ethical territory occupied by Catholic beliefs. The Catholic Church made its bed in the 1960s – of those who continue to lie in this bed, few chose to have sex in it. Certain historians have been eager to dismiss any conclusions that faintly hint at the ‘secularisation thesis’, but

in The Pope and the pill

made of each other’s life and you know he said we just didn’t know what we were doing and the Church was such a hindrance we couldn’t experiment, it was just so rigid. 1 The revelation of a second ‘immaculate conception’ was certainly unexpected, which goes some way to explaining my failure to pick up on June

in The Pope and the pill