Patrick J. O'Banion
- Associate Professor
- Lindenwood University
Negotiating Penance: Sacramental Confession and Local Religious Settlements in Early Modern Spain
The Roman Catholic sacrament of penance, particularly the practice of frequent private confession, became an increasingly important element of lay religious devotion in early modern Catholic Europe. This dissertation uses confessional practice in Spain as a window into the relationship between laity and clergy on the local level during the period of Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Drawing on manuals of confession, episcopal records, devotional works, parish registers, and inquisitorial records, this dissertation argues that the relationship between confessor and penitent more closely resembled a complicated series of dialogues and negotiations than a unilaterally imposed religious settlement. While clerical acculturation was an undeniable reality, lay people also exerted their own brand of agency and power.
Deza and Its Moriscos: Faith and Community in Early Modern Spain
This social and religious history of the Castilian town of Deza explores the period between the coerced baptisms of Spain’s Muslims (or Moriscos) early in the sixteenth century and their expulsion a century later. Historians typically view Moriscos as homogenous, disempowered, and passive, but the example of the small town of Deza demonstrates their striking social, economic, and political power. Instead of a passive and homogeneous minority, these Moriscos were variegated and active. This project considers both the town’s internal conflicts and the external pressures from inquisitors, bishops, and kings, emphasizing the importance of local context in assessing the possibilities and limits of negotiated communal life at the dawn of modernity.