Oregon State University

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Event Details

Rosaries and Rope Burns: Boxing and Manhood in American Catholicism

Center Research Fellow Lecture at the Autzen House

Monday, May 5, 2014 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

In the early twentieth century Roman Catholic priests believed they were locked in a battle for the souls of young Catholic men. Catholic boys, such priests contended, were being lured away from the Church by an intoxicating blend of radical communist political philosophies, neighborhood boy gangs, impure recreations, and visions of the carefree lifestyle available in bachelor enclaves.  The Church responded to these diverse threats by attempting to offer its own enticements to Catholic boys.  Priests attended "boyology" institutes to learn how to communicate more effectively with young men in Catholic school classrooms.  Parishes established "Holy Name" sodalities and built boxing rings and gymnasiums for young men.  Catholic publishing houses began including serialized adventure stories and biographies of sports hero in devotional magazines geared toward boys.  And individual diocese established athletic clubs and boxing tournaments.  In the process, the American Catholic Church redefined masculinity for a generation of Catholic men, underscoring the religious value of virility and physical vitality while simultaneously admonishing Catholic young men to discipline their masculine vitality-- like a boxer in training-- and channel it into heterosexual marriage and service to the Catholic community.  

 Lecture by Amy Koehlinger, Center Research Fellow and History faculty in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion, OSU.


Autzen House (campus map)
811 SW Jefferson Ave.
Joy Futrell
1 541 737 2450
joy.futrell at oregonstate.edu
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