Political History

British Catholics and Fascism: Religious Identity and by T. Villis

By T. Villis

Drawing considerably at the strategies and phrases of Catholic writers and cultural commentators, Villis sheds new gentle on spiritual id and political extremism in early twentieth-century Britain. The publication constitutes a finished examine of how during which British Catholic groups reacted to fascism either at domestic and in another country.

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Extra resources for British Catholics and Fascism: Religious Identity and Political Extremism Between the Wars

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Coyne in The Clergy Review thought ‘it had been better left unwritten and certainly published’. 93 James Strachey Barnes was another writer who did everything he could to point to the connections between fascism and Catholicism. Barnes was born in India in the 1890s, but after the death of his mother when he was very young he was brought up by his grandparents in Italy. 94 Tempting as it is to present Barnes as an irrelevant eccentric and outcast, however, he was in other ways at the centre of the establishment.

His intellectual development also mirrored wider developments in British and European culture. As a young man he was a self-confessed 22 British Catholics and Fascism agnostic and positivist, before becoming intoxicated by the antimaterialist revolt of Nietzsche and D’Annunzio. 97 Like many converts, he saw the Universal Church as a refuge from the horrors of modernity. 98 Barnes’s view of modern England echoes the strong theme of antiindustrialism which runs through English culture from Wordsworth to Carlyle, Ruskin, Morris and countless others.

131 While this description of fascism is an interesting early attempt at defining a generic fascism, it was clearly aimed at making the ideology palatable to British conservatives. The violence, irrationalism and ultra-nationalism of the ideology were under-emphasised or brushed over. 132 Yet Barnes had clearly shown himself drawn to the violent energy of the movement in other respects. It is difficult to say whether Barnes was aware of this contradiction and chose not to explore it, or whether it was merely an example of the way in which fascist ideology attempted to superficially accommodate opposites so as to broaden its appeal.

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