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The Catholic laity and the Schism in the Catholic Church in the Dutch Republic, 1650–c.1750

This project focuses on processes of fragmentation and pluralisation within the Dutch Catholic community by examining the schism in the Catholic Church in the eighteenth-century Dutch Republic from the perspective of the Catholic laity. It studies the choices made by Catholic laypeople for one of the two competing Catholic Churches in various Dutch cities and villages and relates these local patterns of intra-Catholic confessional affiliation to the ways in which the schism unfolded over the course of the first half of the eighteenth century. The project will leverage the data contained in a set of serial sources, namely registers of baptisms, burials, and marriages, and include these in a bespoke relational database. Through the application of digital methods, including data-mining and network analysis, the structures and (re-)configuration of local Catholic communities will be analysed, thereby making it possible to study lay agency in the context of the schism.