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Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France Volume 2: The Religion of the People and the Politics of Religion$
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John McManners

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198270041

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198270046.001.0001

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On the Margins of Official Religion

On the Margins of Official Religion

(p.119) 27 On the Margins of Official Religion
Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France Volume 2: The Religion of the People and the Politics of Religion

John McManners

Oxford University Press

To the reformist clergy, some of the traditional pieties of Catholicism, notably processions, the cult of relics, pilgrimages, and the presence and life of hermits, had become marginal and at best in need of oversight. All of these, however, remained popular with ordinary people, and the majority of the clergy supported and took part in them. Marginal activities covered a wide range of practices, from ostentatious processions in towns and long pilgrimages to manifestations of local piety, originating in ancient vows and expressing the unity of the community. They also provided occasions for social enjoyment and merriment; viewed with irony by reformers and Enlightened thinkers, but not considered by the majority as incompatible with true piety.

Keywords:   hermits, pilgrimages, popular religion, processions, relics

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