Author(s)Werner, Yvonne Maria
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AbstractThis article deals with the construction of manliness and male ideals within Nordic Catholicism at the end of the 19th century. In the first par the conflict around the so-called Arctic Apostolic Prefecture erected in the 1850s is analysed in a gender perspective, the second part deals with the Nordic mission of the Italian Barnabites, a male congregation erected in the 16th century. Special attention is paid to the relationship between Nordic and foreign, Catholicism and Protestantism, and how these categorisations were freighted with manliness and womanliness respectively. So, what were these "Catholic" ideals of manliness? How were they related to ideas about manliness, evident within the established Nordic churches? Up to the Second Vatican Council, regulated religious life was an integral part of the comprehensive Catholic ideology that appeared in opposition against, and as an alternative to, the liberal social and political order that developed during the nineteenth century. Catholicism thus developed into a counter-culture with obvious anti-modern traits. The religious were at the forefront of this Catholic system, and regulated religious life was regarded as the most consummate expression of Catholic piety. It represented the Catholic counter-culture in its most radical form, which explains why the harsh conflicts between church and state that occurred in many countries at that time chiefly affected religious orders. In Protestant countries such as the Nordic, Catholicism appeared as a counter-culture in a double sense. It not only represented an alternative worldview but also an unfamiliar belief system that many regarded as a threat to their Protestant-influenced national culture. Catholic religious orders and congregations were considered as particularly dangerous. Most of the Catholic missionaries working in the Scandinavian countries were women religious, belonging to different orders and congregations. The clergy consisted partly of secular priest, most of them trained at the priest seminary of Propaganda Fide in Rome, partly by members of male religious institutes. The leading women religious and almost all the priests continuously sent letters and reports to Propaganda Fide, respectively to their superiors or fellow religious. This correspondence gives a good picture of missionary strategies, feelings and opinions, and reflects ideals, visions and identities. It is a humble, pious, obedient, strong in character and self-sacrificing kind of priestly manliness emerging in the correspondence analysed. In a classical Christian context these ideals are common to all mankind and exceeding gender boarders. If we compare with contemporary middle-class liberal or Protestant discourses on masculinity, we find that the countertypes are the same, while the Catholic ideals from this point of view appear as womanly.