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Lisa McClain

Lisa McClain has published a new book published by Palgrave MacMillan and titled, “Divided Loyalties? Pushing the Boundaries of Gender and Lay Roles in the Catholic Church 1534-1829.”

Here is a brief description of the book:

Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis I has engaged the estimated 1.2 billion Catholics and innumerable non-Catholics worldwide with his frank, inclusive talk on issues as diverse as poverty and homosexuality. At a time when many seem confused by the church’s apparent willingness to reconsider its traditions regarding some issues, like divorce, but not others, such as women’s ordination, McClain’s work provides history, context and insight revealing how ordinary Catholics and the Catholic Church have successfully navigated such challenges and controversies before without undermining the faith, family or society.

Filled with richly detailed stories, the book explores how Catholics created and tested new understandings of women’s and men’s roles in family life, ritual, religious leadership and vocation. Engaging personal narratives, letters, trial records and other stories reveal how far ordinary Catholics would go to get their needs met and how far the Catholic Church would bend its rules on gender and laypeople’s roles in the Church to sustain Catholics struggling to keep their faith alive. In the many generations that passed between Henry VIII’s break with Rome and full Catholic emancipation in the British Isles in 1829, Catholics had time to set limits, loosen them and face the consequences.