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Title: The Catholic Church in England : the politics of allegiance and identity, 1791-1908
Author: Barnes, Olive Rose Mary
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis argues that the increasing visibility of Catholics and Catholicism in nineteenth century England and Wales reduced the prejudice against them and their religion; that they developed an identity which was incontrovertibly English in spite of the absorption of a very large number of Irish migrants; and that by the end of the century their allegiance to the nation was no longer suspect. Visibility was expressed in three forms. New churches were built throughout the country in every county in England and Wales. Many of these locations had no knowledge or experience of Catholicism since the Reformation. Myriad difficulties were faced, and overcome, chief amongst which was the institutional poverty of the Church. This thesis will show how this was done and the support given to this project by the Irish migrants. A second form of visibility was the re-introduction of Catholic cultural practices such as processions. These often became significant events in towns as disparate as Preston, where Catholicism had survived, and Cardiff, where it was re-introduced in the nineteenth century. The local press reported fully and favourably on them. Finally, Catholics became visible through participation in public life. Prejudiced press comment on such participation lessened as the century progressed. 1908 was a seminal year in English Catholic history. Confidence was such that a great celebration of the Eucharist was planned by the Church. This occasioned a confrontation with the Government due to the disabling laws still outstanding on the statute book. Now however, England witnessed, not a recurrence of outraged national prejudice, but universal approbation for Catholics. Many were unaware that such laws, originally designed to protect the Protestant Constitution against subversion by Catholics, were still extant. The Church, and Catholics, had taken their place in English national life, their allegiance was no longer suspect and their identity as English no longer questioned.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available