Catholic Education Beyond the School: Sodalities and Public Lectures
This chapter focuses on sodalities, such as the Catholic Young Men’s Society (CYMS), which encouraged Catholic males to continue to engage with a range of topics ‘beyond the school’, within the broader context of Victorian ‘self-improvement’. The rationale behind the likes of the CYMS was not purely defensive—preparation for ‘inquisitions’ in the workplace—but was also intended to raise awareness of a proud intellectual and cultural tradition of which its members were the heirs. Apologetical presentations certainly proliferated more generally, as exemplified by the talks and writings of the inveterate Rev. John Stewart McCorry (1812–1880), but there was also serious discussion of contemporary issues such as the so-called Roman Question and an appetite for talks on scientific and technological subjects. The chapter aims to provide an important corrective to monochrome presentations of the late Victorian Scottish Catholic community as wholly ‘anti-science’ and ‘anti-modern’.