The Priest, the Nun, and Confession: An Anti-Catholic Stereotype and Anglican Sisterhoods in Victorian England
Appeared in Summer/Autumn/Winter 2004, Vol. XXIX, Nos. 2, 3, 4
When the former Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Chiniquy, wrote The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional in 1874, his words touched a sensitive religious nerve in countries such as England which treasured its Protestant heritage. In his book, Chiniquy attacked the practice of auricular confession in the Catholic Church and claimed that the confessional represented an evil institution which could harm the integrity of all women, including nuns. Anti-Catholic rhetoric such as this proved to be an essential element in the formation and creation of the modern English state, where Roman Catholicism was seen as an alien and foreign element. The religion of the Reformation created a distrust of the Roman Catholic Church, and a number of traditional institutions of Roman Catholicism also ran contrary to the religious and secular spirit of of Victorian England.
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