n January 1887, The Times published its response to the beatification by Leo XIII
of fifty-four EnglishCatholic martyrs of the Reformation era. It gave most space to
Thomas More (1478–1535) and John Fisher (1469–1535), declaring itself ‘gratified at
any opportunity of recalling to the world the fame of two eminent countrymen’. As
for this particular honour,
Beatification and canonization meant more formerly than now. Sir Thomas More’s most
fervent admirers will hardly pray to him or implore for his mediation. Not
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.
Drawing upon a multi-disciplinary methodology employing diverse written sources, material practices and vivid life histories, Faith in the Family seeks to assess the impact of the Second Vatican Council on the ordinary believer, alongside contemporaneous shifts in British society relating to social mobility, the sixties, sexual morality, and secularisation. Chapters examine the changes in the Roman Catholic liturgy and Christology, devotion to Mary, the rosary and the place of women in the family and church, as well as the enduring (but shifting) popularity of Saints Bernadette and Thérèse. Appealing to students of modern British gender and cultural history, as well as a general readership interested in religious life in Britain in the second half of the twentieth century, Faith in the Family illustrates that despite unmistakable differences in their cultural accoutrements and interpretations of Catholicism, English Catholics continued to identify with and practise the ‘Faith of Our Fathers’ before and after Vatican II.
many tensions. Two concerned the ‘Catholic Whig’ project, associated
with higher-class Catholic schools and the upper clergy, of creating an
Irish Catholic professional class to participate in the administration of
Ireland and the wider British world; and relations between Irish and
The prestige and influence of the EnglishCatholic revival was a
source of strength to Irish Catholicism, while EnglishCatholic apologists often cited Irish popular Catholicism as shaming British unbelief.
At the same time, Irish Catholics were widely
As we saw in Chapter 7 , the French and EnglishCatholic writers conceptualised dogma, the incarnation and liturgy in ways that favoured the corporate form of Catholic religiosity while undermining buffered individuality and the notion of a meaningless and purposeless cosmos. Still, the problems for a Church that claimed divine origins were considerable in a secular context. Secular culture considered the notion of God’s direct intervention in history as problematic. Likewise, secular mentalities all too often saw the hierarchical Church as an authoritarian and
assessment, echoed by many other commentators,
the movement from Latin to English, the changed responses and postures
during the service and the introduction of communion in both kinds
(‘drink the wine and chew the wafer’), represented a radical transformation in EnglishCatholics’ spiritual and devotional life. And so it did, on
one reading. The Mancunian Catholic attending, perhaps sporadically,
her parish church in 1980 would encounter a new rite, celebrated in her
own language and conducted by a priest facing the congregation from an
altar in the centre of the church
The figure of the buffered individual takes on a different meaning when we move from the realms of psychology, moral choice and belief into the public domain. As French and EnglishCatholic writers explore political, social and economic issues, the stakes of secularisation become societal in nature.
As we saw in the Introduction, Cavanaugh’s essay on the secular State emphasises two trends of particular note. The first is that theories of politics in the early modern period posited the radical autonomy of the
backgrounds, and educational experiences of the far from homogeneous
community classed as ‘EnglishCatholic’ throughout this book? What were
032-056 FaithFamily Ch 2.indd 32
English Catholicism reconsidered33
its key religious, social and political organisations, and what importance
and influence did they have within, and beyond, Catholicism? Who were
its leading episcopal and intellectual figures?
Following on from a historiographical survey of the nature of the
EnglishCatholic community in the middle of the twentieth century, this
The conditions of individual secularisation described in Chapter 1 posed two sets of moral problems for believers in France and England at that time. The first concerns how human behaviour is to be mapped out if belief in God has become deistic or has collapsed into atheism. The second concerns the alternative moral criteria to counter the anthropocentrism transmitted by individual secularisation. These two sets of problems provide vital perspectives from which to read French and EnglishCatholic literature in the late nineteenth and
The aim of this book has been to cast light on the paradox of French Catholic literary resistance to secularisation in the period 1880–1914, and on its coincidental parallels among EnglishCatholic writers of the same period. The task of remapping these writings against an analytical grid of secularisation theory was prompted by the weaknesses which we argued were inherent in approaching these writings simply under the confessional label of ‘Catholic’. This process has meant not discarding the category of Catholic literature, however