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The Eucharist: Demanding A Dreadful Peace

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Chapter Summary

An exploration of acts of violence at the time of the mass and/or before the host reveals a few important points about parishioners' praxis. Though violence during mass or before the host was not entirely exceptional, late medieval parishioners do appear to have internalized many teachings about proper participation and reverence. Furthermore, parishioners' concern for the integrity of the mass and the honor of the host led them to stigmatize violent offenders as quasiheretical, disreputable Christians whose pollution of the sacred placed their own and others' souls in jeopardy. For such parishioners, the presence of the Eucharist, whether at mass or in the street, was the most demanding moment for self-restraint and charity; a dreadful moment when a lack of discipline had no positive value for an observant parishioner, a moment that 'civilized' the body while saving the soul.

Keywords: Christians; dreadful peace; Eucharist; medieval parishioners; soul



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