authority. It was thus the fears aroused by the European revolutions of 1830 and 1848 which led Rome, in part by reviving full-blown worship and devotion as a means of attaching Catholics more firmly to the faith, to seek to unify those within the fold; it was the threat presented to the Vatican by the Italian Risorgimento that paved the way for the Syllabus of Errors; and it was the crisis over the loss of the Papal States in 1870 which led to the declaration of papal infallibility in faith and morals - popularly misunderstood to mean papal inerrancy in everything - also in 1870.4
Historians who favour this sort of institutional interpretation tend to see the whole paraphernalia of changes to nineteenth-century Catholic worship and devotion as little more than an accompaniment to the Vatican's essentially political struggle to close ranks, strengthen internal unity and command obedience throughout the Catholic world, homogenising religious practice for much the same reasons that it sought to tighten ecclesiastical discipline: to mould Catholics everywhere into a single, powerful pro-papal lobby. Although few historians go so far as to claim changes in Catholic piety to have been the result of a 'strategy carefully managed by Rome' in which 'control' was exercised through 'the daily rituals and practices of Catholics',5 or else linked to a conspiratorial centre based in Geneva,6 scholars with expertise in nineteenth-century Catholicism in a variety of countries have noted that an increase in devotions usually described as 'Roman', 'Italianate' or 'Ultramontane' coincided with the withdrawal of Catholic communities from non-Catholic society, leading to the creation of what has been called the Catholic 'ghetto'.7
To those who believe that the Catholic Revival was primarily about trying to stamp out devotional diversity among Catholic communities in order to increase papal and ecclesiastical authority, its legacy can hardly be viewed otherwise than with distaste and regret. Thus Emmet Larkin has presented us with a picture of a clerically led 'devotional revolution' in mid-century Ireland in which the gradual squeezing out of traditional folk practices, such as the pattern and the wake, went hand in hand with the systematic undermining of a native Gaelic spirituality.8 John Bossy, too, has noted how traditional English Catholic piety, as encapsulated by the recusant Bishop Challoner's famous prayer book, The garden of the soul, came, in the wake of 'Second Spring' propaganda of the 1840s and 1850s, to be increasingly criticised as
4 For fuller discussions of the Syllabus and the 1870 definition see chapters 2 and 15.
5 McSweeney Roman Catholicism, p. 38.
6 Lamberts, 'L'Internationale noire'.
7 McLeod, Religion and the people of western Europe, p. 36.
8 Larkin, 'The devotional revolution in Ireland'.
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