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Anthropology of CatholicismA Reader$
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Kristin Norget, Valentina Napolitano, and Maya Mayblin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520288423

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520288423.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 May 2020

A Catholic Body?

A Catholic Body?

Miracles, Secularity, and the Porous Self in Malta

(p.211) 16 A Catholic Body?
Anthropology of Catholicism

Jon P. Mitchell

University of California Press

Josh Brahinsky (2012) has recently argued that Protestant Pentecostals engage in processes of cultivating the body to generate a ‘modern sensorium’. This chapter considers what a modern Catholic sensorium might consist of. The chapter looks at Catholic bodies in Southern Italy and Malta, examining the relationship between bodies of saints and bodies of persons. It focuses on the contexts of health and healing, miracles, and visions/locutions (contexts in which saints are seen, heard, felt). The chapter takes as its point of departure Baldacchino’s (2011) discussion of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age (2007), and argues for the persistence, in modern Catholicism, of ‘porous’ selves – for whom the boundaries between natural and supernatural, material and immaterial, body and soul are indistinct. This contrasts with a ‘buffered’ self, seen to characterise secular modernity. Focusing on the sensualities of Latin Mediterranean Catholicism, the chapter concludes by suggesting that in this context distinctions such as modern – traditional, secular – non-secular, even Protestant – Catholic, need to be reconsidered.

Keywords:   Malta, Italy, Body, Senses, Healing, Miracles, Visions, Modernity, Catholicism

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