Alternative masculinity? Catholic missionaries in Scandinavia

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This chapter deals with Italian Barnabites and German Jesuits working as missionaries in the Nordic countries and the ideals of clerical masculinity that they represented. The Barnabites were important in the initial phase of the Catholic missionary activity in the 1860s and 1870s, whereas the Jesuits, ostensibly the most fervent defenders of ultramontane confessionalism, held a dominant position in the Swedish and Danish church in the ensuing period. The humble, pious, obedient, and self-sacrificing ideals of manliness expressed in the reports of these celibate missionaries stood in sharp contrast not only to modern Protestant ideas of manhood, but also to the prevailing middle-class understanding of masculinity. Similar perspectives are also found in Catholic magazines, in which male saints are described as being just as pious and eager to live up to the religious virtues as female saints. But in a Catholic understanding, the question was not about male and female ideals, but about Christian ideals and their absence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChristian masculinity
Subtitle of host publicationMen and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries
EditorsYvonne Maria Werner
PublisherLeuven University Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-6166-428-0
ISBN (Print)9789058678737
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameKADOC Studies on Religion, Culture and Society

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History

Free keywords

  • constructions of masculinity
  • celibacy
  • discursive feminisation
  • obedience
  • Christian virtues
  • Jesuits
  • Catholic mission
  • Barnabites


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