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Accepted Paper:

'But please, don't write what we told you': priestly characters in a Polish rural community  
Agnieszka Pasieka (University of Vienna)

Paper long abstract:

The paper explores the dynamics of Catholicism in rural Poland by focusing on the relations among priests and parishioners. My aim is to depict the intersection between national and local levels of religion, between Church as a universal (Catholicus) institution and Church understood as folk religiosity. I argue that a good exemplification of this 'crossroad' is the authority of Roman Catholic priests and that studying the priests-parishioners relations is crucial for understanding the phenomenon of Catholicism in Poland. I will enquire on these relations by presenting my informants' images of the priests and distinguishing different roles of priests (e.g. priest as 'moral person', 'performer of rituals', 'representative of elites', 'member of the local community'). I will attempt to demonstrate that there is a tension inherent in the performance of all these different roles; tension between hierarchical and equalitarian patterns of priests' behaviours, between national and local patterns of religiosity, and between orthodox teaching and parishioners' experiences.

Panel W034
Crisis in church? Religious authority and religious experience
  Session 1