to this is male practice in the most devout northern Spanish valleys. The extent of difference between men and women varied greatly between and within countries. The nineteenth century was particularly significant for the development of women's religious orders - not only in Roman Catholic countries, but in the Church of England and the Lutheran churches. In part it may be related to different patterns of population balance and changes in the family as a result of increased women's employment. It is also seen in the development of nursing as a career, and ultimately in the development of women doctors and teachers. The latter two occupations became the entry point for women into overseas missions.
A final reflection concerns anticlericalism. In many ways this was concentrated in predominantly Roman Catholic countries. It was initially inspired by revolutionary ideas, and it became a staple of secularising political programmes, based on the assumption that the church in general and the clergy in particular were opposed to enlightened thinking. In predominantly Protestant countries anticlericalism does not seem to have been so strong. This may partly reflect the fact that generally in such countries the clergy had already lost significant political power during the Reformation, and were firmly subordinate to lay leadership, either locally among landowners and political hierarchies or in a wider national scene, as in Denmark, for example. In countries such as Britain the legal existence of several churches meant that it was possible to be religious without being attached to a clerically dominated national church. In Nonconformist churches the relative balance of power between clergy and laity was different from that in the Church of England - Wesleyan Methodists perhaps being the group among whom the position of the clergy was strongest. But another point needs to be made. In Roman Catholic countries the massive reduction in the numbers of male regular clergy as a result of the French Revolutionary era profoundly changed the balance of power in favour of the parochial clergy. When this is combined with the reduction of the significance of many lay brotherhoods, it can be seen that there was a significant change in the way in which religion was perceived at the local level. The parish priest's loyalty to Rome immediately became much more important. Sperber's verdict on western Germany that 'the growing central-ity, prestige, and authority of the local priest was apparent in all aspects of Catholic religious life' was true of Catholic Europe more generally.52 It is also significant that the way in which the lives of the local church, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, were reformed in different European countries in the
52 Sperber, Popular Catholicism, p. 94.
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