Gender, belief and memory If accessing personal experiences in the past is a difficult task in general, then getting at the sexual and religious experiences of Catholic women is a particularly perilous pursuit. Both religious belief and sexual behaviour are widely considered to be private, intimate aspects of personhood. This may have been the case for matters of sex for

in The Pope and the pill

M&H 04_Tonra 01 08/04/2014 07:15 Page 72 4 Irish-Catholic women and modernity in 1930s Liverpool Charlotte Wildman World War One ‘marked the beginning of a Catholic revival’ in Britain and America suggests Patrick Allitt, reflected by ‘a period of bolder social policy, accelerated institutional growth, and a new concern with intellectual life’.1 The confidence of the Catholic Church was particularly striking because of the notable number of high-profile religious conversions made by public intellectuals in the two decades after 1918: Evelyn Waugh, Graham

in Women and Irish diaspora identities

11 The voices of Catholic women in Ireland, 1800–1921 Caitriona Clear This chapter 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 and independence/partition. It looks at women whose words and deeds had an impact in the so-called public sphere – organisational management, work which gave them authority over others (teaching, nursing, social work/­ philanthropy) campaigning, politics and writing. In paying attention to these

in Irish Catholic identities

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.

Catholic women religious in nineteenth-century England and Wales

Roman Catholic women's congregations are an enigma of nineteenth century social history. Over 10,000 women, establishing and managing significant Catholic educational, health care and social welfare institutions in England and Wales, have virtually disappeared from history. In nineteenth-century England, representations of women religious were ambiguous and contested from both within and without the convent. This book places women religious in the centre of nineteenth-century social history and reveals how religious activism shaped the identity of Catholic women religious. It is devoted to evolution of religious life and the early monastic life of the women. Catholic women were not pushed into becoming women religious. On the basis of their available options, they chose a path that best suited their personal, spiritual, economic and vocational needs. The postulancy and novitiate period formed a rite of passage that tested the vocation of each aspirant. The book explores the religious activism of women religious through their missionary identity and professional identity. The labour of these women was linked to their role as evangelisers. The book deals with the development of a congregation's corporate identity which brought together a disparate group of women under the banner of religious life. It looks specifically at class and ethnicity and the women who entered religious life, and identifies the source of authority for the congregation and the individual sister.

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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Irish Catholic women, for the first time, at the centre of public discussion and analysis. As always, lay Catholic women responded to the late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century transformations in myriad ways and, as they had done for over a century, made significant contributions to the new Ireland that was emerging. The Irish feminist movement flourished in the 1960s and 1970s and has become more visible again in recent decades, particularly in the fight for abortion rights. Through it, an unprecedented number of Irish women activists have called for

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

Later marriage was a life-cycle stage peculiar to both Catholic women and a particular historical moment. A distinctly ‘modern’ life cycle emerged in the decades after the Second World War – demographic statistics suggest that by the 1970s, British women were ending their period of childrearing at a considerably earlier stage than ever before. In the mid-nineteenth century

in The Pope and the pill

The final chapter of this book looks at Catholic women’s sexual and religious development in the years that preceded their marriages. For all the interviewees bar one, this period did not involve any penetrative intercourse. For the vast majority, there was also little to no genital activity of any kind with a partner, while only six spoke of solitary masturbation. This

in The Pope and the pill
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that I’ve been brought up with, I now find it increasingly difficult to believe in them, towards the end of my life. 3 This moment of raw emotional expression encapsulated not only the experiences of many Catholic women, but also, in ways that might not seem immediately apparent, the questions that faced

in The Pope and the pill