Just as Catholics created new understandings of what it meant to be good women, men, and spouses, so did they need to create new definitions of what it meant to be a good Catholic. The most common new model of loyal Catholicism adopted in the British Isles combined the seemingly contradictory values of Christian militancy with patience in novel ways that provided alternatives to conventional gender and religious roles. Authors of pastoral literature, for example, increasingly encouraged women to adopt combative qualities usually reserved for men, thus stretching understandings of women’s contributions to family, society, and Catholicism. Lay Catholic masculinity, too, evolved into a combination of traditional masculine values, such as good husbandry and courage, with new exhortations toward patience, resignation, and constancy. These latter traits were traditionally associated in Catholicism with saints’ lives, the masculinity of priests and monks, and femininity, but not with the masculinity of ordinary laymen.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa McClain
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryBoise State UniversityBoiseUSA

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