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The Catholic Priesthood and the English Reformation$
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Peter Marshall

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198204480

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204480.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Catholic Priesthood and the English Reformation

Peter Marshall

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents the plan of the study. With the dialectic of theory and practice of priesthood and priest as the starting point of this work, it aims to elucidate the expectations of English laypeople from their priests in the first half of the sixteenth century, their reactions when these were unfulfilled, and their perceptions of the mutual obligations which underlay their relationship with the clergy. It presents the focus of this work which is on the parish clergy. Eight paradigms of priestly ‘function’ are identified which serves as the main topic of each of the chapters that will follow. Further, the author contends that the emphasis will not be upon identifying the causes of religious change, but on attempting to illuminate something of the nature of ‘popular religion’ in the early sixteenth century, and the impact of reform on the interaction of the ordinary Christian and his pastor.

Keywords:   priesthood and priest, English laypeople, parish clergy, priestly function, popular religion, early sixteenth century, Christian

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