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 Post subject: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 09 Dec 2019, 20:55 
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Getting into trouble with Mlle Berne
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Have posted on here before that I just can't like the Swiss books, perhaps because didn't grow up with them. Anyway, since it was a present I am reading a hardback of Leader.

I have seen a comment on here before that religion is pushed more heavily/less naturally, in the later books. Maybe Leader isn't especially prone to that, but I'm not sure you would even really have seen the word Mass in many earlier books? (in one scene from Leader, two of the girls are walking to mass in the chapel).

But would Catholicism have so dominated the place by then that it was effectively a Catholic school, even though Protestants were catered for as well (for that matter, what about Methodism at the Welsh branch, the country is so known for it?) I have heard of the practice of blessing the house crosses at a Catholic School, would they likely have done that kind of thing at the CS? And I'm not sure if, for example, having a cross on the building of an Anglican school, is very Protestant.

Have posted before on here that my boarding school was officially non-denominational and it was in practice, catering very equally for Protestants, Catholics, and Church of Scotland members.
Wish I could remember more about that, can't recall what the religion was of anyone from there who is on Facebook. I did once
buy a dire pony book where the Christianity (don't remember what kind) was laid on so heavily, that it was unreadable.

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Last edited by Katharine on 10 Dec 2019, 16:28, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 09 Dec 2019, 22:30 
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Katharine wrote:

But would Catholicism have so dominated the place by then that it was effectively a Catholic school, even though Protestants were catered for as well (for that matter, what about Methodism at the Welsh branch, the country is so known for it?) I have heard of the practice of blessing the house crosses at one Catholic boarding School in England, would they likely have done that kind of thing at the CS?

And I'm not sure if, for example, having a cross on the building of an Anglican school, is very Protestant.
.



An empty cross is fine as a Protestant symbol, but not a crucifix with Christ on it, that would be a Catholoc symbol.


Last edited by ivohenry on 10 Dec 2019, 17:43, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 09 Dec 2019, 22:41 
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I think it's mentioned in the earlier Tyrol books that Jo goes to Mass if she wants to, with Madge's permission. In the Swiss books Hilda still takes prayers in the Hall with Mdle de L taking the Catholics in the gymn so hardly an RC school - the Hall being larger. I would agree that sometimes the girls' religion is a bit clunky - ML's 'I will lift up my eyes unto the hills...' and Jack and Co kneeling in the snow to pray when they are lost. It may be that EBD was getting older and hadn't much contact with girls so depicted them as she would like them to be rather than what they were really like.


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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 09 Dec 2019, 22:56 
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I don't think it's Catholicism specifically, but religion does get a bit clunky later on, as Mel said. Jack & co praying when they're lost doesn't really work, and I'm never convinced that a load of teenage girls would have been so enthusiastic about building chapels being the chosen way of celebrating the school's coming of age. There's certainly no mention of having crucifixes on the wall, or other religious imagery.

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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 10 Dec 2019, 09:47 
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Please could a mod delete this thread? On second thoughts, I think it's maybe a bit legally dodgy to make such direct comments about how Protestant or Catholic real schools that still exist are, as in my original post. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 10 Dec 2019, 15:21 
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It is a good point though. Tom Gay's religious beliefs ring more true to me - in fact, her attitude to faith is actually quite similar to mine - as do the Tyrolean girls in the earlier books, Madge praying by Joey's bedside in Rivals, and so on. Whereas Mary-Lou banging on about Jesus to Jessica and saying 'I lift my eyes to the hills', and Jack and her obnoxious friends saying Hail Mary together, makes me go '...really?'


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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 10 Dec 2019, 15:45 
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Katharine wrote:
But would Catholicism have so dominated the place by then that it was effectively a Catholic school, even though Protestants were catered for as well (for that matter, what about Methodism at the Welsh branch, the country is so known for it?) I have heard of the practice of blessing the house crosses at one Catholic boarding School in England, would they likely have done that kind of thing at the CS?
To start at the last point, they might well have, but I would think that the original publishers would consider that to be an unpalatable amount of detail for a young readership of varied religious backgrounds - and as you comment, it doesn't seem to be in the earlier books.

Is Wales is particularly associated with Methodism? I've no idea, never having lived there - though I do have the impression that there are a great many different chapels, of varying types of 'low church' protestantism. But the religious make-up of the school need hardly reflect that, unless it has a great many pupils whose parents are unhappy about mixed Protestant worship. If you come to that, I was never quite easy in my mind that all the Protestants would be happy to be undifferentiated. There are, after all, significant differences in the religious practices of even 'high church' and 'low church' Anglicans.

I agree with Lotte that it's an interesting point, and I think it would be a pity to delete the thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 10 Dec 2019, 15:50 
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I agree it's an interesting thread, and although a Mod, I'm not one for this forum,. so can't do anything about it ... but you can always go back and edit your original post, Katharine, if you want to express it slightly differently, or remove anything you think might identify a particular establishment.

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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 10 Dec 2019, 16:37 
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abbeybufo wrote:
I agree it's an interesting thread, and although a Mod, I'm not one for this forum,. so can't do anything about it ... but you can always go back and edit your original post, Katharine, if you want to express it slightly differently, or remove anything you think might identify a particular establishment.


Thanks, there's no need to delete the topic actually. I have edited the original post to make it less identifying of any particular institution.

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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 10 Dec 2019, 17:41 
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Yes, Methodism has been particularly strong in Wales since its early days, and especially since the early 19th century. Also in Devon and Cornwall, as fans of Poldark will know :D . And in mining areas and smaller mill towns in Northern England.

I do find it quite annoying that new pupils are often asked if they're "RC or C of E", when a lot of them must have been Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran, Swiss Reformed, Dutch Reformed, etc etc, but they couldn't really have separate prayers for each group. For years, my old school used to have general assembly twice a week and then split between Christian assembly and Jewish assembly on the other two days (no assembly on Wednesday). Then, as the demography of the area changed, Muslim assembly and Hindu assembly were added, so you had kids shooting off in four different directions, and that was chaotic enough without dividing it any further. It would have been a lot easier just to have one assembly for everyone, but I think the original idea of splitting into groups came in the inter-war period, around the same time as the CS was founded, when people were much more into religion generally!

They could still have asked "Catholic or Protestant" rather than "RC or C of E", though! EBD does rather lump all the Protestant groups together. I think the only time we're specifically told that someone belongs to another Protestant denomination is Richenda … but we're told that, although she thinks about "our meetings" so presumably does identify as a Quaker, like her father, she attends Anglican services with Nanny :roll: .

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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 10 Dec 2019, 23:37 
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It's acknowledged in "Rivals" that the "Protestants" aren't an homogenous group although that's acknowledging "foreign" forms of protestantism.

It's been said about other aspects of life that are lightly skated over in the books, that they are unlikely to be of much interest to the target readers. The CofE would have been the dominant protestant group whilst the CS was in the UK, and it is difficult to see that much discussion of the differences between Methodists, Baptists and Episcopalians (to name but a few) would have been seen as interesting to the readers (or desirable to the publishers...).

Once the CS moved to Switzerland, it was being portrayed as a British school dumped into a foreign country. It operates as a British school taking UK exams. The "foreign" girls tend to be lightly sketched and do not get main storylines. There's no sense of it being part of its locale. As a result, it continues to behave as though the CofE is THE protestant group.


Personally, I am of the opinion that EBD tended to portray Christianity rather than denominational religion. When girls are urged to pray or behave in particular ways, I can't think of any example that could not be that of any of the mainsteam Christian groups. Far from Catholicism dominating the later school, it is always the Protestant prayers we see!


I am another of the opinion that Christianity was simply "there" in the earlier books, it felt more natural, whereas by the Swiss books it felt intrusive and shoehorned in.


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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 11 Dec 2019, 16:09 
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As a child reader, the emphasis on CoE as the protestant element bothered me. In my part of Wales, Congregationalism was the strong non-conformist church, Welsh and English, and I used to worry what I would do at the Chalet School! As if there weren't more cogent reasons why I couldn't have gone there....


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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 12 Dec 2019, 18:04 
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As a Catholic myself, I never saw the CS as a Catholic school. It's nothing like the ones I attended, with the emphasis very much on Mass, Catholic doctrine, etc. I've always felt there were far more Anglican/Protestant girls, than there were Catholics, and we never see the Catholic services, for example, or the Catholics prayer services - yet we do see the Anglican service in the Hall quite a lot. There's certainly no emphasis on Mass, Sin, Confession, Sacraments, and so on - which all featured very heavily at my schools. Mass is only mentioned en passant when folk put their names down for the early Sunday mass. And it always seems as if there are far more Anglican girls than there were Catholics. I'm writing the school as Anglican in atmosphere in New Dreams,, which has meant being very careful about how I write faith matters.

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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 12 Dec 2019, 19:03 
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LucyP wrote:
As a child reader, the emphasis on CoE as the protestant element bothered me. In my part of Wales, Congregationalism was the strong non-conformist church, Welsh and English, and I used to worry what I would do at the Chalet School! As if there weren't more cogent reasons why I couldn't have gone there....
As an Anglican who chose to go to the local Congregational church and Sunday school throughout my childhood, I honestly don't think you would have found that much difference, Lucy. The CS comes over to me as very 'low' C of E, rather like my Grammar School (and my father's experience of the Army, come to that). The CS Protestants probably used the Doxology to end with ("For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen) which not all churches do, and I can't remember whether they prayed sitting down or not. I wonder which group would have found it most different - the Lutherans, perhaps?


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 Post subject: Re: Did Catholicism dominate the later school?
PostPosted: 12 Dec 2019, 22:42 
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Noreen wrote:
LucyP wrote:
As a child reader, the emphasis on CoE as the protestant element bothered me. In my part of Wales, Congregationalism was the strong non-conformist church, Welsh and English, and I used to worry what I would do at the Chalet School! As if there weren't more cogent reasons why I couldn't have gone there....
As an Anglican who chose to go to the local Congregational church and Sunday school throughout my childhood, I honestly don't think you would have found that much difference, Lucy. The CS comes over to me as very 'low' C of E, rather like my Grammar School (and my father's experience of the Army, come to that). The CS Protestants probably used the Doxology to end with ("For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen) which not all churches do, and I can't remember whether they prayed sitting down or not. I wonder which group would have found it most different - the Lutherans, perhaps?
(my emphasis)

There are many references to people falling to their knees to pray next to their beds (private prayer), and also references to girls as a group kneeling or getting up from kneeling after Prayers. I noticed it because it wasn't the practice in the church I attended as a teenager.


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