Church and Society in Catholic Europe of the Eighteenth by William J. Callahan, David Higgs

By William J. Callahan, David Higgs

Of the nice eu associations of the outdated Regime, the Catholic Church on my own survived into the trendy international. The Church that emerged from the interval of progressive upheaval, which all started in 1789, and from the lengthy strategy of financial and social transformation attribute of the 19th century, was once very varied from the good baroque Church that built following the Counter-Reformation. those experiences of the Church in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germane, Austria, Hungary and Poland at the eve of an period of innovative swap check the nonetheless intimate dating among faith and society in the conventional ecu social order of the eighteenth century. The essays emphasize social functionality instead of theological controversy, and consider concerns comparable to the recruitment and position of the clergy, where of the Church in schooling and bad relief', the significance of renowned faith, and the evangelization of a mostly illiterate inhabitants by means of the non secular orders.

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Surely the same was true of the sixteenth century? And what about the Enlightenment: certainly an intellectual movement 32 Olwen Hufton counter to the very concept of religion must have traumatic and deleterious effects? The two questions are in fact probably intrinsically interknit and indeed crucial to an understanding of the eighteenth century. Such a tendency towards slippage amongst the masses was not new. But whereas in the past there had existed or had come to exist some intellectual movement to bring the aberrant to their senses, perhaps involving an alternative religious philosophy but emphatically of a religious nature, this was lacking in an eighteenthcentury context and the intellectual movement which did exist was for the first time in history atheistical.

In Galicia, Asturias, Guipuzcoa and La Mancha, seculars outnumbered regulars by three to one; in Palencia, Madrid (city), Cordoba, Valladolid, Aragon and Salamanca, the regular clergy slightly exceeded the secular, and there the general proportion of priests to the total population was significantly higher. The distribution of clergy also affected the urban character of the Spanish church. Regions with large rural populations scattered among impoverished country villages and with few sizable towns were badly served.

On aggregate France had far too many churches in the period for its needs but in particular instances they were so ill-distributed as to leave burgeoning faubourgs and new complexes chronically under-served. Let us take two instances, the faubourg Boutonnet at the gates of Montpellier studied by Xavier Azema, and Clermont de Lodeve. Boutonnet lost its church during the wars of religion and during the next century the few hundred inhabitants complained of children dying unbaptized and adults sent to meet their maker without the solace of absolution when they petitioned the bishop of Montpellier for a church.

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