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Confessional Mobility and English Catholics in Counter-Reformation Europe$
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Liesbeth Corens

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198812432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198812432.001.0001

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The Exile

The Exile

(p.23) 1 The Exile
Confessional Mobility and English Catholics in Counter-Reformation Europe

Liesbeth Corens

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the broad conceptualization of mobility by Catholics. It explores the different understandings of migration for Protestants and Catholics, and highlights the specifically Catholic interpretations of mobility. A narrative of ‘exile’ is not dominant in Catholics’ writing on mobility; instead, the centrality of ‘mission’ in Catholic thinking becomes manifest. This changes the dynamic of how we should interpret mobile Catholics: not as isolated sufferers, but as militant defenders of their Church. Rather than victims escaping hardship, English Catholics went abroad with a mission and purpose. Moreover, the preference for ‘missionary’ over ‘exile’ indicates that Catholics did not understand physically leaving their country as breaking all ties with it in order to embrace the life of an isolated wanderer. On the contrary, expatriate Catholics were seen as active participants in an English Catholic community that did not have clearly defined geographical borders.

Keywords:   exile, mission, saints, global Catholicism, English Catholicism, Counter-Reformation, Low Countries

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