Special Issue "Material Religion, Popular Belief and Catholic Devotional Practice in the Age of Vatican II (c. 1948–c. 1998): Global Perspectives"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (11 March 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Salvador Ryan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, County Kildare W23 F2H6, Ireland
Interests: late medieval and early modern Christianity; popular religion; lived religion; materiality of devotion; devotion to Christ’s passion; bardic religious poetry; hagiography; history of preaching; medieval exempla; catechisms and their use; sacred history; 19th and 20th century prayer books; relationship between popular piety and liturgy from the Middle Ages to the present day; Irish religious folklore
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will examine the worlds of material religion, popular belief, and Catholic devotional practice in the period immediately before and shortly after the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), a period of incredible flux for the faith lives of individuals and communities.

There is a rationale behind the chosen chronology. The fifty-year period of 1948–1998 begins just after the release by Pope Pius XII of the encyclical Mediator Dei on 20 November 1947 (http://www.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_20111947_mediator-dei.html). This encyclical was concerned specifically with the Roman Catholic liturgy and, in a somewhat guarded response to the liturgical reform movement, advocated a much more active participation for the laity. It cautioned, however, that “the chief element of divine worship must be interior”. It foreshadowed, in significant ways, some of the reforms that would be introduced by the Council. However, while stating some ideals, it also allowed for those who could not manage to follow a Roman missal, even in the vernacular, and stated that they could participate in the Mass and share its fruits if “they can lovingly meditate on the mysteries of Jesus Christ or perform other exercises of piety, or recite prayers which, though they differ from the sacred rites, are still essentially in harmony with them”. (108). It also stated that “when dealing with genuine and solid piety … there could be no real opposition between the sacred liturgy and other religious practices, provided they be kept within legitimate bounds and performed for legitimate purpose” (Mediator Dei, 173). Presciently, at least regarding some interpretations of the “spirit of the Council”, the encyclical warned: “Hence he would do something very wrong and dangerous who would dare to take on himself to reform all these exercises of piety and reduce them completely to the methods and norms of liturgical rites” (184). To balance this, however, it went on to “censure the inconsiderate zeal of those who propose for veneration in the Churches and on the altars, without any just reason, a multitude of sacred images and statues, and also those who display unauthorized relics, those who emphasize special and insignificant practices, neglecting essential and necessary things. They thus bring religion into derision and lessen the dignity of worship” (189).

The tightrope that Mediator Dei attempted to walk in November 1947 was one which would prove particularly challenging to the Catholic Church, both locally and universally, over subsequent years. The closing year for this Special Issue, 1998, was chosen because it marks twenty years since the election of Karol Wojtyła as Pope John Paul II, whose papacy is regarded by many as initiating a pushback on many later interpretations of Vatican II, not least in the realm of popular piety. It also marks just under a decade since the revolutions which precipitated the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe.

Finally, just three years later, in September 2001, the Plenary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, would approve a new Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, which would address many of the issues which had arisen in this area since the Second Vatican Council.

This Special Issue calls for contributions from those who wish to examine the dynamics of religious change in the realm of devotional and liturgical practice as experienced by the Catholic laity over these fifty years. The emphasis will not be on ecclesiastical documents, conciliar decrees, or theological treatises in and of themselves, but in the practical outworking of their ideas and their impact on the lives of ordinary believers in what scholars now call “lived religion”.

In launching this Special Issue, I wish to acknowledge and build upon some recent excellent work done in this area, but also to highlight some areas (thematic and geographical) which merit further attention.

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism launched a major research project designed to produce the first comparative, international, lived history of Catholicism in the Vatican II era. Its rationale arose from an awareness that “there has been virtually no attempt at comparative historical studies of the Vatican II era, to explore how this epoch of change took different shape in various social, political, and cultural contexts.” (https://cushwa.nd.edu/about/history/rationale/). An international conference on the Lived History of Vatican II followed, and was held at Notre Dame University on 24–26 April 2014 (https://cushwa.nd.edu/about/history/conference-program/), and three years later, the volume Catholics in the Vatican II Era: Local Histories of a Global Event, edited by Kathleen Sprows Cummings, Timothy Matovina, and Robert A. Orsi, was published by Cambridge University Press https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/catholics-in-the-vatican-ii-era/160B0FBBFADE523028C769B6A36AE829) and was widely praised in reviews.

However, this large project, which broke new and important ground, was much broader in perspective than the concerns of this Special Issue. While there were some very valuable contributions dealing with popular piety and material religion, this area has hardly been exhausted. Furthermore, while the project was comparative and international in scope, there were many geographical areas which were not covered by the project and which I wish to highlight here. One of those areas, for instance, is Central and Eastern Europe.

Separately, in 2016, Piotr H. Kosicki edited Vatican II Behind the Iron Curtain, which was published by Catholic University of America Press (https://www.hfsbooks.com/books/vatican-ii-behind-the-iron-curtain-kosicki/). It aimed to fill an important lacuna. As the promotional synopsis for the book explains, “a substantial historiography has emerged across national and linguistic boundaries documenting the Second Vatican Council. And yet virtually no attention has been devoted to the links between the Council and the Catholic faithful who had found themselves living behind an iron curtain by the end of the 1940s”. But, once again, while being warmly welcomed as a hugely important study, the remit for this book was much broader than the practice of popular piety during this period. This Special Issue aims to further open up this field with respect to this region.

This Special Issue welcomes contributions on Catholic religious practices, lived religion, and the material culture of devotion during the years 1948–1998, with special emphasis on how the Second Vatican Council and its local interpretation and implementation “on the ground” shaped the devotional lives of ordinary believers. The scope of this Special Issue is global. While it certainly welcomes contributions from English-speaking countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ireland, etc. (all of which have much work still to be done), it especially welcomes articles from regions less well represented in the literature (such as Central and Eastern Europe). It also welcomes contributors who will take the opportunity to gather together and share the insights of local studies published in other (often minority) languages and which, thus far, have been inaccessible to many English-speaking readers. Contributions are also very warmly welcome from Asia, South America, and Africa. The aim of the Special Issue is to gain a snapshot of the devotional worlds of individuals and communities who lived through this period of significant change (and, it must be admitted, a much slower pace of change for some regions; but this is also worth noting). Articles are also sought from contributors who may wish to examine the changes to popular Catholicism in the age of Vatican II through the eyes of those of different faiths.

Topics which might be covered include popular religious literature and its content (and how this may have changed over time); letters sent to both Catholic publications and mainstream newspapers about the practicalities of adapting to religious change; the content and use of popular prayer books; holy cards: their iconography and use; oral histories which recall what it was like to have attended Mass in Latin all one’s life and then transfer to liturgy in the vernacular; reactions to the reordering of churches; catechetical practices; a comparative study of popular hymnody during this period; domestic piety in a period of change; the practice of pilgrimage; Eucharistic piety, holy hours and Corpus Christi processions; devotions to the Virgin Mary and the saints and what impact (if any) Vatican II had on these practices; popular religious practices and rituals surrounding the commemoration and burial of the dead; memorial cards and their use; membership of confraternities and their related duties; how the lived reality of post-Vatican II Catholics was viewed by other faiths, both within and without Christianity (and, especially, by members of the Jewish faith); changes in the practice of the sacraments in the fifty-year period between 1948 and 1998; the keeping of the liturgical year and its rituals.

Prof. Dr. Salvador Ryan

Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Vatican II
  • Second Vatican Council
  • liturgical change
  • vernacular liturgy
  • lived religion
  • domestic devotion
  • materiality
  • Catholic literature
  • saints
  • holy hours
  • rosary
  • confraternities
  • sodalities
  • processions
  • pilgrimage
  • ecumenism
  • 20th century Catholicism

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Research

Article
“As by a New Pentecost”: Embodied Prayer in Catholic Charismatic Renewal Following Vatican II
Religions 2021, 12(8), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12080591 - 31 Jul 2021
Viewed by 584
Abstract
On 25 December 1961, John XXIII convoked the Second Vatican Council with his apostolic constitution Humanae salutis, praying that God would show again the wonders of the newborn Church in Jerusalem “as by a new Pentecost”. Not six years later, in 1967, [...] Read more.
On 25 December 1961, John XXIII convoked the Second Vatican Council with his apostolic constitution Humanae salutis, praying that God would show again the wonders of the newborn Church in Jerusalem “as by a new Pentecost”. Not six years later, in 1967, a group of students at Duquesne University in the United States prayed while on retreat for an infusion of the Holy Spirit that they might also experience the power of Pentecost. They received what they reported to be the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and out of the spiritual experiences of that retreat arose what would become an international movement known as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. This movement, influenced by Pentecostalism, would develop its own embodied praxis of prayer that seeks a renewed encounter with the power of the Holy Spirit made manifest at Pentecost. This article analyzes the embodied prayer language of the Renewal by drawing from Louis-Marie Chauvet’s distinction between language as mediation (or, symbol) and language as tool (or, sign). It will use Chauvet’s distinction as a hermeneutic to flesh out the relationship between post-Vatican II charismatic prayer practices and their intended purpose of participating in the encounter of Pentecost. Full article
Article
Politics of the Blessed Lady: Catholic Art in the Contemporary Hungarian Culture Industry
Religions 2021, 12(8), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12080577 - 27 Jul 2021
Viewed by 672
Abstract
I examine Hungary’s Catholic arts industry and its material practices of cultural production: the institutions and professional disciplines through which devotional material objects move as they become embedded in political processes of national construction and contestation. Ethnographic data come from thirty-six months of [...] Read more.
I examine Hungary’s Catholic arts industry and its material practices of cultural production: the institutions and professional disciplines through which devotional material objects move as they become embedded in political processes of national construction and contestation. Ethnographic data come from thirty-six months of fieldwork in Hungary and Transylvania, and focuses on three museum and gallery exhibitions of Catholic devotional objects. Building on critiques of subjectivity- and embodiment-focused research, I highlight how the institutional legacies of state socialism in Hungary and Romania inform a national politics of Catholic materiality. Hungarian cultural institutions and intellectuals have been drawn to work with Catholic art because Catholic material culture sustains a meaningful presence across multiple scales of political contestation at the local, regional, and state levels. The movement of Catholic ritual objects into the zone of high art and cultural preservation necessitates that these objects be mobilized for use within the political agendas of state-embedded institutions. Yet, this mobilization is not total. Ironies, confusions, and contradictions continue to show up in Transylvanian Hungarians’ historical memory, destabilizing these political uses. Full article
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Article
‘Scrupulous and Timid Conformism’: Ireland and the Reception of the Liturgical Changes of Vatican II
Religions 2021, 12(7), 545; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070545 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1164
Abstract
The Second Vatican Council and, in particular, its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, changed much in the daily life of the Church. In Ireland, a country steeped in the Catholic tradition but largely peripheral to the theological debates that shaped Vatican II, the [...] Read more.
The Second Vatican Council and, in particular, its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, changed much in the daily life of the Church. In Ireland, a country steeped in the Catholic tradition but largely peripheral to the theological debates that shaped Vatican II, the changes to liturgy and devotional practice were implemented dutifully over a relatively short time span and without significant upset. But did the hierarchical manner of their reception, like that of the Council itself, mean that Irish Catholics did not receive the changes in a way that deepened their spirituality? And was the popular religious memory of the people lost through a neglect of liturgical piety and its place in the interior life, alongside what the Council sought to achieve? In this essay, Dr Gary Carville will examine the background to the liturgical changes at Vatican II, the contribution to their formulation and implementation by leaders of the Church in Ireland, the experiences of Irish Catholic communities in the reception process, and the ongoing need for a liturgical formation that brings theology, memory, and practice into greater dialogue. Full article
Article
Popular-Indigenous Catholicism in Southern Mexico
Religions 2021, 12(7), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070531 - 14 Jul 2021
Viewed by 632
Abstract
This paper examines popular indigenous religiosity in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca in the 1990s, in the context of a “progressive” pastoral program formed within the campaign of the New Evangelization, and attuned to the region’s large indigenous population. Based on ethnographic [...] Read more.
This paper examines popular indigenous religiosity in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca in the 1990s, in the context of a “progressive” pastoral program formed within the campaign of the New Evangelization, and attuned to the region’s large indigenous population. Based on ethnographic research in an urban Oaxacan context, I offer an account of the popular Catholic ritualization of death which highlights its independence, and sensuous, material, collective orientation. I approach popular Catholicism as a field of potential tension, hybridity, and indeterminacy, encompassing the discourses and teachings of the Catholic Church in continuous interaction with people’s own sacred imaginaries and domestic devotional practices. Full article
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Article
Shrines and Pilgrimages in Poland as an Element of the “Geography” of Faith and Piety of the People of God in the Age of Vatican II (c. 1948–1998)
Religions 2021, 12(7), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070525 - 13 Jul 2021
Viewed by 842
Abstract
This research is aimed at learning about the origins and functions of shrines, and changes to the pilgrimage movement in Poland during the Vatican II era (c. 1948–1998). The objective required finding and determining the following: (1) factors in the establishment of shrines [...] Read more.
This research is aimed at learning about the origins and functions of shrines, and changes to the pilgrimage movement in Poland during the Vatican II era (c. 1948–1998). The objective required finding and determining the following: (1) factors in the establishment of shrines in Poland during this time; (2) factors in the development of shrines with reference to the transformation of religious worship and to the influence of political factors in Poland; (3) changes in pilgrimage traditions in Poland, and (4) changes in the number of pilgrimages to selected shrines. These changes were determined by archive and library research. Additionally, field studies were performed at more than 300 shrines, including observations and in-depth interviews with custodians. Descriptive–analytical, dynamic–comparative and cartographic presentation methods were used to analyze results. Full article
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Article
Fashion and Faith: Girls and First Holy Communion in Twentieth-Century Ireland (c. 1920–1970)
Religions 2021, 12(7), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070518 - 09 Jul 2021
Viewed by 826
Abstract
With a focus on clothing, bodies, and emotions, this article examines girls’ First Holy Communions in twentieth-century Ireland (c. 1920–1970), demonstrating that Irish girls, even at an early age, embraced opportunities to become both the center of attention and central faith actors in [...] Read more.
With a focus on clothing, bodies, and emotions, this article examines girls’ First Holy Communions in twentieth-century Ireland (c. 1920–1970), demonstrating that Irish girls, even at an early age, embraced opportunities to become both the center of attention and central faith actors in their religious communities through the ritual of Communion. A careful study of First Holy Communion, including clothing, reveals the importance of the ritual. The occasion was indicative of much related to Catholic devotional life from independence through Vatican II, including the intersections of popular religion and consumerism, the feminization of devotion, the centrality of the body in Catholicism, and the role that religion played in forming and maintaining family ties, including cross-generational links. First Communion, and especially the material items that accompanied it, initiated Irish girls into a feminized devotional world managed by women and especially mothers. It taught them that purchasing, hospitality, and gift-giving were central responsibilities of adult Catholic women even as it affirmed the bonds between women family members who helped girls prepare for the occasion. Full article
Article
On the Personhood of Sacred Objects: Agency, Materiality and Popular Devotion in the Roman Catholic Philippines
Religions 2021, 12(7), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070454 - 22 Jun 2021
Viewed by 739
Abstract
This paper is an analysis of the Santo Niño de Cebu, a statue of the child Jesus that is the object of widespread popular devotion among Roman Catholics in the Philippines. The central hypothesis is that a continuing challenge of Roman Catholicism in [...] Read more.
This paper is an analysis of the Santo Niño de Cebu, a statue of the child Jesus that is the object of widespread popular devotion among Roman Catholics in the Philippines. The central hypothesis is that a continuing challenge of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines, at least from the perspective of the institutional Church, lies not in the extra liturgical performance of its rituals, but rather in the popular belief that sacred objects possess agency and personhood. The discussion of this theme unfolds over three analytical movements. The focus of the initial section is on the historical context in which the Santo Niño became established as the preeminent religious and cultural icon of the Philippines, going as far back as the sixteenth century. The discussion shifts to the topic of the agency of material objects, as cultivated in the performance of three embodied rituals conducted by thousands of Santo Niño devotees. A third analytical movement is the examination of how popular belief in the Santo Niño’s agency intersects with the institutional reforms of the Second Vatican Council, particularly as locally contextualized and enacted in the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) in 1991. Full article
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Article
Popular Hymnody and Lived Catholicism in Hungary in the 1970s–1980s
Religions 2021, 12(6), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060438 - 12 Jun 2021
Viewed by 779
Abstract
In this article, I look at how popular hymnody and the surrounding devotional and liturgical practices changed after the Second Vatican Council in Hungary. The songs amongst authoritarian, atheistic circumstances sounded astonishingly similar to the emerging “folk mass movement”. The discourse analysis of [...] Read more.
In this article, I look at how popular hymnody and the surrounding devotional and liturgical practices changed after the Second Vatican Council in Hungary. The songs amongst authoritarian, atheistic circumstances sounded astonishingly similar to the emerging “folk mass movement”. The discourse analysis of Hungarian popular hymnody contributes to a new perspective of Eastern European Catholicism and helps us understand how “lived Catholicism” reflects the post-Vatican spirit. Post-Vatican popular hymnody, a catalyst for a new style of devotional practices, is understood as “performed theology” behind the Iron Curtain expressing relationality, as it actualizes and manifests spiritual, eschatological, and ecclesial relationships. Full article
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Article
Rosaries and Statues: Mediating Divine Intervention in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea
Religions 2021, 12(6), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060376 - 21 May 2021
Viewed by 863
Abstract
In the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB) in Papua New Guinea, the changes of Vatican II led to significant Church reform, creating “Liklik Kristen Komuniti” (small Christian communities) that gave more responsibility to the laity. Moreover, as elsewhere in the world, Charismatic Catholicism [...] Read more.
In the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB) in Papua New Guinea, the changes of Vatican II led to significant Church reform, creating “Liklik Kristen Komuniti” (small Christian communities) that gave more responsibility to the laity. Moreover, as elsewhere in the world, Charismatic Catholicism was introduced and embraced. At the same time, private devotions, and in particular devotions to Mary, became immensely popular and powerful in Bougainville. This is partly due to the Bougainville crisis (1988–1998), which caused immense suffering, but also triggered a surge in popular devotions as people looked for spiritual guidance to deal with the hardships of the crisis. This paper shows how in the context of social and economic upheaval, charismatic popular devotions became increasingly influential with rosaries and statues becoming important mediums in facilitating healing and socio-political renewal. This shows the strength of popular devotions and the importance of material religion in particular. It also elucidates how popular devotions in Bougainville are part of global Catholic developments, as well as transnational practices that place Mary in the center of devotional practices. Full article
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Article
Religious Heritage and Nation in Post-Vatican II Catholicism: A View from Quebec
Religions 2021, 12(4), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040259 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 563
Abstract
With Quebec’s croix de chemin (wayside crosses) as a jumping off point, I explore the importance of heritage creation as the province transitioned away from pre-Vatican II Catholicism in the 1960s and 1970s. I include two ‘sites of memory’: fieldwork with contemporary cross [...] Read more.
With Quebec’s croix de chemin (wayside crosses) as a jumping off point, I explore the importance of heritage creation as the province transitioned away from pre-Vatican II Catholicism in the 1960s and 1970s. I include two ‘sites of memory’: fieldwork with contemporary cross caretakers and archival materials from a major government-funded inventory of the crosses in the 1970s. Heritage professionals have generally implied that Catholic objects lose their sacred meaning to become objects of nation-building, while caretakers view them as still-active objects of devotional labour. Regardless, I find that both parties view themselves as laying claim to “modern” ways of interacting with religious objects, while also assuming that a cohesive national identity rests in part on promoting a rural Catholic past. More broadly, I argue that neither side can be fully understood without attention to the convergence of three trends in the 1960s and 1970s: Quebecois and other emergent nationalisms, Catholic liberalization, and the rise of an international heritage industry. Full article
Article
The Metamorphosis of Written Devotion in the Age of Vatican II (c. 1948–c. 1998) in Hungary—Guestbooks in Hungarian Marian Shrines
Religions 2021, 12(4), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040235 - 25 Mar 2021
Viewed by 463
Abstract
This article presents the Hungarian manifestations of a written devotional practice that emerged in the second half of the 20th century worldwide: the rite of writing prayers in guestbooks or visitors’ books and spontaneously leaving prayer slips in shrines. Guestbooks or visitors’ books, [...] Read more.
This article presents the Hungarian manifestations of a written devotional practice that emerged in the second half of the 20th century worldwide: the rite of writing prayers in guestbooks or visitors’ books and spontaneously leaving prayer slips in shrines. Guestbooks or visitors’ books, a practice well known in museums and exhibitions, have appeared in Hungarian shrines for pilgrims to record requests, prayers, and declarations of gratitude. This is an unusual use of guestbooks, as, unlike regular guestbook entries, they contain personal prayers, which are surprisingly honest and self-reflective. Another curiosity of the books and slips is that anybody can see and read them, because they are on display in the shrines, mostly close to the statue of Virgin Mary. They allow the researcher to observe a special communication situation, the written representation of an informal, non-formalised, personal prayer. Of course, this is not unknown in the practice of prayer; what is new here is that it takes place in the public realm of a shrine, in written form. This paper seeks answers to the question of what genre antecedents, what patterns of behaviour, and which religious practices have led to the development of this recent practice of devotion in the examined period in Hungarian Catholic shrines. In connection with this issue, this paper would like to draw attention to the combined effect of the following three factors: the continuity of traditions, the emergence of innovative elements and the role of the church as an institution. Their parallel interactions help us to understand the guestbooks of the shrines. Full article
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Article
Lived Religion among Montreal’s Grey Nuns during the Vatican II Era: A Subject of Debate
Religions 2021, 12(4), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040226 - 24 Mar 2021
Viewed by 522
Abstract
This article deals with changes in the devotional practices of the Grey Nuns of Montreal in the context of the Second Vatican Council. This apostolic Congregation, active since the 18th century, has preserved the prayers and devotions instituted by its foundress, Marguerite d’Youville, [...] Read more.
This article deals with changes in the devotional practices of the Grey Nuns of Montreal in the context of the Second Vatican Council. This apostolic Congregation, active since the 18th century, has preserved the prayers and devotions instituted by its foundress, Marguerite d’Youville, in its daily religious practice. Under the effects of the decree Perfectæ caritatis and the motu proprio Ecclesiae Sanctæ, the general chapters of the ad experimentum period became the theatre of exchanges and debates around this heritage. Between the desire to adapt and the fear of losing popular and spiritual traditions, these consecrated women testify to their ability to make choices, to make necessary changes, and to preserve a delicate balance between the past and the present in their lived religion. Full article
Article
Saints on Stage: Popular Hagiography in Post-WWII Italy
Religions 2021, 12(3), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030216 - 21 Mar 2021
Viewed by 471
Abstract
This article brings to light several examples of the hagiographic plays staged in Italy during the 1950s and early 1960s in parishes, schools, and oratories. The article begins with a brief introduction to the continued tradition of staging the lives of the saints [...] Read more.
This article brings to light several examples of the hagiographic plays staged in Italy during the 1950s and early 1960s in parishes, schools, and oratories. The article begins with a brief introduction to the continued tradition of staging the lives of the saints for educational purposes, which focuses on the origins, aims, and main characteristics of theatre for young people of the Salesians, the order founded by Don Bosco in 1859. Next, it offers a brief panorama of the pervasive presence of the lives of the saints in post-WWII Italy. The main discussion of the article concerns the hagiographic plays created for the Salesian educational stages in the years between 1950 and 1965, especially those regarding the lives of young saints Agnes and Domenico Savio. The article concludes that the Salesian plays on the lives of the saints, far from constituting a mere exercise in hagiography, had a definite educational goal which applied to both performers and audiences in the specific times of Italy’s reconstruction and the cold war. Full article
Article
‘Em Procissão Solene a Deus Orando, para os Batéis Viemos Caminhando’—The Long Ebb-Tide of Catholic Public Piety in the Former-Portuguese Enclave of Macao
Religions 2021, 12(3), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030193 - 16 Mar 2021
Viewed by 432
Abstract
When the City of the Name of God of Macao marked 400 years of Portuguese administration in 1956, the Catholic community’s participation was marked by a wide range of activities that included liturgical celebrations, public processions and other devotions that involved large numbers [...] Read more.
When the City of the Name of God of Macao marked 400 years of Portuguese administration in 1956, the Catholic community’s participation was marked by a wide range of activities that included liturgical celebrations, public processions and other devotions that involved large numbers of the lay faithful, members of confraternities, in addition to the clergy and religious of the enclave. Twenty-one years later the Diocese of Macao celebrated its own quatercentenary with celebrations of a decidedly more sober character and at the retrocession of Macao to Chinese control in December 1999, other than a few liturgical events and hierarchical presence at civic ceremonies, the Church was all but invisible. As the Diocese of Macao plans for its 450th anniversary, some of the former richness has begun to return. This paper outlines the long ebb tide and now-nascent flow of the tide of Catholic public piety in Macao over this period by reference to the Catholic religious processions of the City and seeks to offer tentative explanations grounded in the theological, ecclesial, political and cultural winds that have blown across the Pearl River Delta since the end of the Second World War. Full article
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Article
Sacred Trees, Mystic Caves, Holy Wells: Devotional Titles in Spanish Rural Sanctuaries
Religions 2021, 12(3), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030183 - 10 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1197
Abstract
This paper explores how local, lived religion has creatively linked spiritual insights and popular devotions in ecologically valuable settings helping generate and preserve the rich Spanish biocultural heritage. Focusing on a selection of Sacred Natural Sites (SNS), mostly Marian sanctuaries, it shows that [...] Read more.
This paper explores how local, lived religion has creatively linked spiritual insights and popular devotions in ecologically valuable settings helping generate and preserve the rich Spanish biocultural heritage. Focusing on a selection of Sacred Natural Sites (SNS), mostly Marian sanctuaries, it shows that local “geopiety” and religious creativity have generated “devotional titles” related to vegetation types, geomorphological features, water, and celestial bodies. It also argues that, despite mass migration to urban centers, the questioning of “popular religion” after the Second Vatican Council, and the rapid secularization of Spanish society over the past fifty years, a set of distinctive rituals and public expressions of faith—some of them dating back to the Middle Ages—have remained alive or even thrived in certain rural sanctuaries. These vernacular devotions, however, do not necessarily announce the advent of the postsecular. Finally, it suggests that Protected Area (PA) managers, regional governments, custodians, anthropologists, tourism scholars, and theologians should work together in order to analyze, interpret, and help solve the management challenges highly popular SNS face. Full article
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Article
Liturgical and Pastoral Activity as a Crime in Soviet Ukraine: The Case of Greek Catholic Priest, Roman Bakhtalovskyy, CSsR (1897–1985)
Religions 2021, 12(3), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030174 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 463
Abstract
This article examines the liturgical life of the “Underground” Greek Catholic Church through the example of the life of the prominent priest, writer and poet, Roman Bakhtalovskyy, CSsR. After 1946, the Soviet government in Ukraine prohibited the activity of this Church. Therefore, the [...] Read more.
This article examines the liturgical life of the “Underground” Greek Catholic Church through the example of the life of the prominent priest, writer and poet, Roman Bakhtalovskyy, CSsR. After 1946, the Soviet government in Ukraine prohibited the activity of this Church. Therefore, the sacramental activity of Greek Catholic priests was performed in complete secrecy until 1989. The analysis of archival criminal cases is an important source of research during this difficult period for the Church, in which pastoral activity was a pretext for arrest and imprisonment, and sacred objects were seized during searches. This article analyzes in detail the criminal case of Fr. Roman Bakhtalovskyy, which was opened by special services in 1968–1969. The confiscated objects of analysis provide valuable information about the liturgical activity, devotional practices and spirituality of that period of persecution of Catholics in Soviet Ukraine which coincided with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and their implementation elsewhere. Full article
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Article
Towards the Founding of a Native Clergy and the Revival of ‘Mamacha Cocharcas’: Popular Lived Catholicism in the Wake of Vatican II
Religions 2021, 12(2), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020142 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 473
Abstract
In the years directly following the Second Vatican Council under the guidance of its second bishop Mons. Enrique Pelach i Feliu, the Andean diocese of Abancay—founded in 1959 in one of the most rural and most indigenous areas of Peru—experienced the founding of [...] Read more.
In the years directly following the Second Vatican Council under the guidance of its second bishop Mons. Enrique Pelach i Feliu, the Andean diocese of Abancay—founded in 1959 in one of the most rural and most indigenous areas of Peru—experienced the founding of a new seminary intended to train a new generation of native clergy, and a concerted clerical effort to revive and promote the Marian pilgrimage of the Virgin of Cocharcas. The former meant the advent of a generation of native clergy made up of men born and raised in rural farming families in Abancay and native speakers of Quechua, the local indigenous language, which transformed the relationship between the institutional Church and indigenous Catholics from one rooted in antipathy and hostility to one based in a shared cultural background and language. The latter meant the elevation of the indigenous figure of Sebastian Quimichu as exemplar of both Andean Catholic faith and practice for his role in founding the Marian shrine of Cocharcas, and the legitimisation of popular Andean Catholic practices that had previously been stigmatised. This article provides a dual historical and ethnographic account of these events, and in doing so demonstrates the profound transformation of rural Andean lived religion and practice in the years following Vatican II. Full article
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Article
Empty Night: Kashubian “Home Liturgy” in the Context of Death
Religions 2021, 12(2), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020136 - 20 Feb 2021
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Abstract
Based on ethnographic field research and thanatological literature, this article analyzes the continuing, but rapidly disappearing, Kashubian custom of bidding farewell to a deceased member of the local community known as “empty night”. Its essence is the night prayer vigil in the house [...] Read more.
Based on ethnographic field research and thanatological literature, this article analyzes the continuing, but rapidly disappearing, Kashubian custom of bidding farewell to a deceased member of the local community known as “empty night”. Its essence is the night prayer vigil in the house of the deceased, performed by neighbors and relatives. The prayer consists mainly of singing religious songs on “the last things”—in particular about purgatory, human fragility, God’s mercy, and the Passion of Christ. The efforts of the orants are motivated by the concern for the salvation of the soul of the deceased, that is, the shortening and relieving the purgatorial punishment. The centuries-old tradition of “empty night” has been rapidly disappearing over the past 50 years as a result of both economic and social transformations, the gradual erosion of living faith, and the abandonment of the priority of salvation by younger Kashubians. The progressive medicalization of life and change of the approach to death play a crucial role in weakening the tradition of the ancestors. Thus the traditional “empty night” becomes a relic of “tamed death,” giving way to its tabooization and the illusion of “technological immortality”. Full article
Article
The Tenacity of Popular Devotions in the Age of Vatican II: Learning from the Divine Mercy
Religions 2021, 12(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12010065 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1153
Abstract
Despite is global popularity in recent decades, the Divine Mercy devotion has received scant scrutiny from scholars. This article examines its historical development and evolving appeal, with an eye toward how this nuances our understanding of Catholic devotions in the “age of Vatican [...] Read more.
Despite is global popularity in recent decades, the Divine Mercy devotion has received scant scrutiny from scholars. This article examines its historical development and evolving appeal, with an eye toward how this nuances our understanding of Catholic devotions in the “age of Vatican II.” The Divine Mercy first gained popularity during World War II and the early Cold War, an anxious era in which many Catholic devotions flourished. The Holy Office prohibited the active promotion of the Divine Mercy devotion in 1958, owing to a number of theological concerns. While often linked with the decline of Catholic devotional life generally, the Second Vatican Council helped set the stage for the eventual rehabilitation of the Divine Mercy devotion. The 1958 prohibition was finally lifted in 1978, and the Divine Mercy devotion has since gained a massive following around the world, benefiting in particular from the enthusiastic endorsement of Pope John Paul II. The testimonies of devotees reveal how the devotion’s appeal has changed over time. Originally understood as a method for escaping the torments of hell or purgatory, the devotion developed into a miraculous means to preserve life and, more recently, a therapeutic tool for various forms of malaise. Full article
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Article
Popular Piety and Devotion to Parish Patrons in Poland and Spain, 1948–98
Religions 2020, 11(12), 658; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11120658 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 671
Abstract
This paper will show the dynamics of change in the celebration of the parish patron’s day at the turn of several decades (before and after the Second Vatican Council) at a Marian shrine in Poland and the cult of Cross from Monjardin in [...] Read more.
This paper will show the dynamics of change in the celebration of the parish patron’s day at the turn of several decades (before and after the Second Vatican Council) at a Marian shrine in Poland and the cult of Cross from Monjardin in Spain. It will refer to various forms of ritual which are manifestations of popular piety: cultural expressions, services, prayers and songs which form part of the veneration of Our Lady of Sorrows, Chełmno and the Cross in Villamayor de Monjardin. The article will also examine the different ways in which these feasts were celebrated during the period and the impact they had on the religious life of pilgrims. The study will be based on written sources: memories, diaries, newspaper clippings, and historical studies which are instrumental in demonstrating the transformation of how the parish patron’s day was celebrated over time. Full article
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