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The Popes and European Revolution$
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Owen Chadwick

Print publication date: 1980

Print ISBN-13: 9780198269199

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198269196.001.0001

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The Religion of the People

The Religion of the People

(p.3) 1 The Religion of the People
The Popes and European Revolution

Owen Chadwick (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

An account is given of the slow reforming changes that occurred in the Catholic Church in Europe in the eighteenth century, before the Enlightenment. The Church of that time still mingled magic with religion, and this was fostered by materialistic moments in the cult of saints, certain forms of faith‐healing, the use of holy objects such as relics or Biblical texts in the manner of charms, the more superstitious goals of pilgrimage, and the crudities of a mental haze about indulgences. Witches became less persecuted, Jews less uncomfortable, science began to play a part in everyday life, historians began to criticize saints, sanctuaries became less important, public opinion moved against the mendicant and beggar, and educated opinion became more confident in assailing the ‘childish’ (cults, symbolism, etc.) in the Church. The congregation became weightier in the structure of worship, there were sporadic attempts to make people understand by the use of readings in the vernacular or Bible reading by laymen, to revive the communion at its proper place in the liturgy, and some forms of Church music were popularized.

Keywords:   Catholic Church, change, Church music, communion, Europe, faith‐healing, history, Jews, liturgy, pilgrimage, public opinion, reform, religious history, saints, sanctuaries, symbolism, vernacular, witches, worship

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