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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.

Alison Forrestal

languish in limbo. Seizing the initiative, the 1645 Assembly published the regulations, no doubt in the dawning awareness that papal endorsement would not be forthcoming then or in the future. In fact, it had never been likely that Rome would approve decrees that so trenchantly defended episcopal authority at the expense of papal authority. Successive popes perceived the Déclaration as an act of serious disobedience by French bishops, especially since the episcopate presented it as a piece of finalised legislation rather than as a catalogue of suggestions which would

in Fathers, pastors and kings
Carmen M. Mangion

orders’ unseemly because they performed their work outside the cloister and in public spaces.3 Given the importance of a non-cloistered existence to her teaching sisters, Billiart wished to protect them from the caprice of episcopal authority.4 The conflict over authority and governance5 that arose between Julie Billiart and Bishop Demandolx was not particularly unique; stories of similar conflicts are part of convent tradition in many religious institutes.6 Active congregations of women operating in nineteenth-century England and Wales provided a different setting for

in Contested identities
The polity of the British episcopal churches, 1603–62
Benjamin M. Guyer

there hath been these orders of Ministers in Christ’s church; Bishops, Priests and Deacons’.3 Originally stated in the Ordinal of 1550, Cranmer’s view helped define later pro-episcopal apologetics, especially during and after the British civil wars. Despite turbulent and often unwanted political change, there was much stability in Anglican practice, even if varying emphases existed in Anglican theology and devotion. A LITURGICAL INHERITANCE For the vast majority of seventeenth-century English, the most tangible expression of episcopal authority at the parochial level

in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66
Joseph Hardwick

overlook the limitations of the colonial diocesan revival. Bishops may well have gone out with ambitious plans but once in the colonies they found themselves confronting lay communities who were more interested in protecting the rights of pew-holders than in taking on board Tractarian lessons about episcopal authority. Furthermore, like their counterparts in Ireland, colonial bishops found that it was difficult to enforce

in An Anglican British World
Cheshire on the eve of civil war
Authors: and

This book aims to revisit the county study as a way into understanding the dynamics of the English civil war during the 1640s. It explores gentry culture and the extent to which early Stuart Cheshire could be said to be a ‘county community’. It investigates the responses of the county’s governing elite and puritan religious establishment to highly polarising interventions by the central government and Laudian ecclesiastical authorities during Charles I’s Personal Rule. The second half of the book provides a rich and detailed analysis of the petitioning movements and side-taking in Cheshire during 1641-42. This important contribution to understanding the local origins and outbreak of civil war in England will be of interest to all students and scholars studying the English Revolution.


Feudalism, venality, and revolution is about the political and social order revealed by the monarchy’s most ambitious effort to reform its institutions, the introduction of participatory assemblies at all levels of the government. It should draw the attention of anyone interested in the sort of social and political conditions that predisposed people to make the French Revolution. In particular, according to Alexis de Tocqueville’s influential work on the Old Regime and the French Revolution, royal centralization had so weakened the feudal power of the nobles that their remaining privileges became glaringly intolerable to commoners. Feudalism, venality, and revolution challenges this theory by showing that when Louis XVI convened assemblies of landowners in the late 1770s and 1780s to discuss policies needed to resolve the budgetary crisis, he faced widespread opposition from lords and office holders. These elites regarded the assemblies as a challenge to their hereditary power over commoners. The monarchy incorporated an administration of seigneurial jurisdictions and venal offices. Lordships and offices upheld inequality on behalf of the nobility and bred the discontent evident in the French Revolution. These findings will alter the way scholars think about the Old Regime society and state and should therefore find a large market among graduate students and professors of European history.

Abstract only
Joseph Hardwick

voluntarism with ecclesiastical authority: Irish prelates in particular had to find a way to harness the energy and enthusiasm of evangelical religion without compromising their own authority or the distinctive principles of the Anglican faith. 9 But the problem was particularly acute in the colonial world. As we have seen, Robert Gray had difficulty asserting his episcopal authority in a colony where lay communities tended to see

in An Anglican British World
Open Access (free)
Alison Forrestal

its instigators made significant and widely adopted contributions. While their primary interest was the improvement of standards among the lower clergy, their teachings could not but influence contemporary conceptions of episcopal authority and hierarchical status. Ideas on episcopacy were disseminated in both oral and written form, through informal conversation, oratory, correspondence and reflections as well as through published texts. Obviously, bishops like Camus and Godeau were in the best possible position to express their opinions on, for example, episcopal

in Fathers, pastors and kings
Alison Forrestal

. In this particular case, the canons justified their resistance to the bishop’s jurisdiction by pointing to a papal bull of 1458 which, they claimed, exempted them from episcopal jurisdiction. When the bishops’ masons arrived to dispose of the altar, the canons imprisoned them in the cathedral until Sourdis, in a grand gesture of episcopal authority, swept into the church, denounced the canons, released the masons and personally oversaw the altar’s destruction.9 This episode was unusual, however, for two reasons. In the first place, the chapter pointed to a papal

in Fathers, pastors and kings