On the Margins of Official Religion

John McManners

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

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780198270041
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600692 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

 On the Margins of Official Religion

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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

Chapter.  16653 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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