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- Marian devotion is very deeply embedded in Ultramontane papalist Catholicism, and has been for centuries. The Virgin in the nineteenth century, apparitions of the Virgin, play an enormous part in focusing Catholic loyalty, Catholic identity, and also in offering a dimension of Christianity... If you've got a very rigid, hierarchical, masculinely-dominated form of Christianity, the tender, nurturing, feminine element in Christianity can only be rescued by some sort of balancing act. This I think was an enormous strength in nineteenth century Catholicism over and against say nineteenth century Fundamentalist Evangelicalism - with which it has a great deal in common in some respects - but where I think it has an edge is in this feminine dimension.
- Interview (1999)
- I do not think there is a Christian shape to history in the sense that things move according to God's plan in any discernible way. I think a Christian approaches history with a sense that human life matters and has meaning and that it is both possible and important to tell the truth. Perhaps that constitutes a Christian approach to history because none of those things can be taken for granted now, even among people practicing history. There are people who practice history who think that it is a branch of the creative arts in the sense that we impose patterns on the past. I believe that we discover patterns in the past.
- Confronting the Church's Past An interview with Eamon Duffy (16 June 2004)