The Dual Context of Catholicism

  • Clifford Williamson
Part of the Histories of the Sacred and Secular, 1700-2000 book series (HISASE)


When looking at the progress of the Catholic community in Scotland we need to consider two important characteristics, which helped to shape the situation and mind-set. The first is the minority status of the Catholic community within an overwhelmingly Protestant nation and second the changing nature of political and social Catholicism. Both were to influence the nature of the engagement of the community in the public sphere and the general perception of them. It was not just the minority position but also the nature of Scottish Protestantism, dominated as it was by the Calvinist Church of Scotland, that added an extra dimension of friction and hostility. Augmenting this was the ethnic character of the minority community, which was drawn overwhelmingly from poor Irish migrants; again Calvinism was to work to the detriment of the Catholic community as the Loyal Orange Institution had a strong role in Scottish civil and political society and linked Scotland to the issue of Irish Home Rule. The evolution of Catholic social teaching was to be a crucial factor in the progress of political and social action. The era covered by this book is the high time of Catholic Action. The Papacy in a very direct fashion through a series of important and influential encyclicals between 1891 and 1963 set the context for the type of political engagement and also the level of political and social activism encouraged in the laity.


Religious Order Catholic School Labour Party Catholic Social Teaching Catholic Community 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clifford Williamson
    • 1
  1. 1.Bath Spa UniversityBathUK

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