Catholic resistance to the multi-national empires of Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria in Ireland, Poland and Hungary, as well as among the diasporas of emigrants from those countries. Faith flourished among regional groups like the Bretons, resistant to the centre, and more could be said here about smaller nationalities which achieved a greater self-consciousness in the nineteenth century, like the Croats, Slovenes and Czechs. Religion, however, also acted as a spur to European imperialism, and Protestantism could be described as the ideology of the global British empire, and as part of the manifest destiny of the expanding United States. In the new French empire, anticlericalism was not for export, until the advent of the administration of Emile Combes, as in spite of tensions the church was seen as an instrument of France's civilising mission. In some new British colonies like New Zealand, the French missionaries found the Protestant churches and settlers already in possession, and British Protestant and French Catholic rivalry in evangelism spurred their competing wills to empire across the Pacific and through Africa. Religion was intimately bound up with national culture and character: British Australia was predominantly Protestant, and reproduced the denominational divisions of Victorian Britain with fervently Catholic and Nonconformist minorities, though after 1840 without an established church. Yet it wore its Protestantism with a difference - some might say with an indifference - combining generally Christian convictions with strong culture-based reservations in the national psyche about the institutional churches.
One purpose of this work is simply to supply the necessary information for understanding a subject and its latest literature. There is one wholly regrettable omission from this volume, in its aspiration to give the whole of Christianity a fair coverage, and that is of the Eastern Orthodox, which leaves the work with an unhappy appearance of incompletion. They are to be covered in a volume of their own; this was not by a decision of the editors. The Eastern rite Christians sometimes called Greek Catholics or Uniates in communion with the pope, who were awkwardly poised between the Orthodox and overregulation from Rome, have their own chapter, and references to them occur in others.
In a volume of this kind, there is bound to be some variety of method and approach, in the use of narrative and the balance between breadth and depth of analysis, though all contributors claim the kind of unity of subject indicated in their titles. As the chapters are intended to be read as self-sufficient entities, there is also an overlap of subject matter, as in the various discussions of social patterns of religious practice; in the two accounts of the Scottish Disruption, seen from different angles; in the chapters on the papacy and the Risorgimento; and in the matter of the Irish Catholic diaspora, which has its own chapter and
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