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Old Forms, New Motives? Spirituality in Traditional Forms of Catholic Popular Devotion

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reflects on a peculiar phenomenon of contemporary religion in the Western world: the apparent revival of traditional Roman Catholic devotions. This phenomenon is emerging in a situation where the traditional Roman Catholic belief system is losing adherents. The same is true of church membership: the statistics still show a decline. So there is no reason to infer that the revival of popular devotions demonstrates a similar revival of traditional Roman Catholicism. On the contrary, there have to be other causes and motives for the revival of certain traditional devotions. The old forms seem to respond to new motives in present-day popular spirituality. Before broaching these questions, the chapter examines a few definitions of devotions and their relationship with spirituality. It concentrates on the revival of traditional Catholic devotions in the Netherlands in the last two or three decades, and comments on their relationship with present-day forms of spirituality.

Keywords: Catholic devotions; Dutch Catholicism; Roman Catholicism; spirituality; Western world



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