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Victorian ReformationThe Fight Over Idolatry in the Church of England, 1840-1860$
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Dominic Janes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195378511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195378511.001.0001

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Conclusion: The Convenient Despot

Conclusion: The Convenient Despot

(p.163) Conclusion: The Convenient Despot
Victorian Reformation

Dominic Janes (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In this final chapter the narratives of chapters 4 and 5 are linked via the notions of orientalism and scapegoating. In the emerging world of free-market capitalism financially primitive organisations, such as ancestral estates and endowed churches were being challenged by notions of economic progress and dynamism. Catholicism, in both its Anglican and Roman forms was interpreted, notably in Punch, as a fraudulent business proposition. English Protestant anxieties about the morality of capitalism and patriarchal authority were displaced onto Catholicism in an act of moral scapegoating. Catholicism was culturally interpreted via the mechanism of orientalism as an exotic, tyrannical but fascinating 'other'. This not only generated profitable narratives, but shored up mainstream English values through combat with the rival version of Englishness promoted by Anglo-Catholics and leading English Roman Catholics who followed Pugin. However, paradoxically, this process also led to the endowment of ritualism with an (admittedly short-lived) national importance.

Keywords:   Orientalism, scapegoating, progress, Protestant, Anglo-Catholics, capitalism

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