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The Spacewatch Project uses four telescopes of apertures 0.9-m, 1.8-m, 2.3-m, and 4-m on Kitt Peak mountain in Arizona for followup astrometry of priority NEOs. Objects as faint as V=23 on the MPC's NEO Confirmation Page, targets of radar, potential impactors, targets of spacecraft observations or visits, and PHAs with future close approaches to Earth receive priority for astrometry.
Joan of Arc died at the stake in Rouen in 1431. She became a canonized saint of the Catholic Church only in 1920. It is well known that the wheels of the Vatican grind slowly, but 500 years is a long period to wait for sanctity, even by Roman standards. Obviously, in a short communication such as this, there is no time to explore the rich afterlife which Joan enjoyed between her death and her canonization. Rather, the more modest purpose of this paper is to show how her achievement of canonical status was preceded by a well-orchestrated campaign conducted by French Catholics during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. If Joan was finally reclaimed as a Catholic saint and martyr, it was primarily because she was successfully represented as the very epitome of a heady blend of religion and nationalism that was one of the more distinctive and powerful forces of the era of the belle époque and the First World War.
This lecture should also have a sub-title, perhaps something like ‘a study in ambiguity’, because I want to use it as a particular example of the great paradox which seems to lie at the core of the relationship between women and the Church. On the one hand, as is well known, most varieties of Christianity have been marked by a more or less powerful misogynist strain which, understandably, has been the focus for feminist denunciations of the Church as one of the principal enemies of women’s rights. On the other hand, as ecclesiastical historians perhaps know better than others, Christianity cannot be viewed crudely as a force invariably responsible for women’s oppression, since from its beginnings it has proved itself specially attractive to women, allowing them to find inner peace and deep fulfilment through Church-related activities. I hope to show tliat the history of women’s involvement in the social Catholic movement in France in the period before the First World War is a perfect illustration of the paradoxical situation in which, within the framework of a potentially restrictive Christian discourse, women have been able to make a distinctive contribution both to their religion and to society in general.
Most historians of modern France would agree that the quarrel between clericals and anticlericals was one of the most significant political issues in French politics between 1870 and 1914, especially in the period before the passing of the law which separated Church and State in 1905. The charges brought against the Catholic Church by the anticlericals were many, but until recently few students of nineteenth-century France have commented on the fact that one of their most serious allegations was that the Church oppressed women. Perhaps the most celebrated formulation of this theory came from the pen of the historian Michelet who, in a virulent polemic entitled Priests, women and the family, bitterly attacked the powers which priests were reputed to exercise over the female mind through the institution of the confessional, to the great detriment of marital life and family unity.
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