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"This irreligious art of liing": strategies of disguise in post-reformation English catholicism

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Historical Sociology
Issue number3
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)328-340
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In the long Tridentine phase of Catholic history, the conduct of the Church, faith and praxis was nothing if not demonstrative in its execution, devising, for example, a triumphalist architectural and artistic form, the baroque, that shouted out its advertisements for an apparently ultra-confident creed. The great Council that created the tone of Catholicism over the four centuries that followed it defined the priest in particular as a public exemplar of the faith, a man of unambiguous integrity, stable residence and assured income. In England, as in the Netherlands, in contrast, the practice of the faith was covert, not overt, and priests were men on the run, sacerdotal vagrants, adopting a culture of deceit and disguise that aligned their lifestyles were those of any criminal underground: they used disguises, false papers, encoded language, aliases and fictive personae, employed chains of people-handlers and safe-houses, setting up patterns of behaviour that distanced them (a) from the clerical requirements of the Tridentine Church itself and (b) from assumptions about truth that were becoming firmly embedded in English Protestant culture: Catholicism itself could be presented as an "irreligious art of liing".

Bibliographic note

RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : History