A Vatican rag
This chapter provides a short introduction to the Second Vatican Council, and then outlines the methodologies (grounded in gender and cultural history) and diverse sources that are employed in this groundbreaking study. It discusses the analytical metaphor and subjective reality of the ‘family of the faithful’ that provides the structure for this book and unpacks the ‘lived religious history’ approach utilised throughout. These particular discussions are then situated within broader debates in mainstream twentieth century historiography about secularization, the sixties and shifting gendered identities. The chapter concludes with an outline of the structure of the book and a statement of its central contention, namely that despite marked changes in English Catholicism throughout this period, there were also little-appreciated elements of continuity, especially in the subjective understandings, lived religious experiences and popular devotional practices of English Catholics.
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