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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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“We’re All Catholics Now”

“We’re All Catholics Now”

(p.273) 20 “We’re All Catholics Now”
Anthropology of Catholicism

Simon Coleman

University of California Press

‘We’re all Protestants now,’ has been claimed by some religious commentators in the light of Vatican II reforms, and these words have still wider resonances as a way of referring to ‘a world-historical configuration’ that has far exceeded its particular doctrinal affiliations. The anthropology of Christianity has tended to privilege Protestantism in providing diagnoses of ‘modern’ consciousness, not least through developing particular interpretations of the fate of sincerity, materiality and selfhood in much of the contemporary world. Such an argument has resonance, but what are its limits? And what are the potential ingredients of an alternative claim, that ‘We’re all Catholics now’? This chapter explores an alternative genealogy of modernity, invoking different notions of the self and of materiality, ones that can be traced not only in Roman Catholic populations, but also among believers conventionally assumed to be Protestant as well as in more secular discourses. Such a conception includes flexible and adaptive ritual forms such as pilgrimage that have sometimes been dismissed as mere tradition, but which contain powerful means of addressing current political, economic and cultural conjunctures, as well as indicating possible future modalities of relating to religion in a much wider sense.

Keywords:   Sincerity, selfhood, Protestantism, pilgrimage, ritual

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