History of the Catholic Church - J. MacCaffrey




Progress of Religion in Ireland, England, Scotland, the United States, and Australia



In Ireland


With the beginning of the reign of George III. (1760–1820) a better era began to dawn for the Catholics of Ireland. Notwithstanding the severity of the penal laws they still formed more than three-fourths of the population of the country, and though shut out from the land and from the learned professions, there were many of them who, as merchants, had amassed considerable wealth. The fear that the Irish Catholics would ally themselves with some of the Continental enemies of England, the desire to secure soldiers and sailors for the army and the fleet, the anxiety of the landlords to receive good prices for their lands by allowing Catholics to acquire property, the advocacy of Catholic claims by men like Henry Grattan and Edmund Burke, and the rising spirit of toleration, due in great measure to the spread of religious indifference, served to bring about a relaxation of the penal code.

The Relief Bill of 1771 permitted Catholics to take a limited lease of bog land, on certain conditions, while that of 1778 went further and empowered them to hold leases for 999 years. The Volunteer movement in Ireland was welcomed by the Catholics, and was successful in securing an independent Irish parliament. Yet, nearly all the leaders of the Volunteers, men such as Lord Charlemont and Henry Flood, were bitterly opposed to the concession of complete political equality to their Catholic fellow-countrymen. They were prepared to abolish the civil disabilities of the Catholics, but they would not allow them to sit in Parliament, or even to vote at Parliamentary elections. Grattan, on the other hand, realising that Ireland could never be free so long as three-fourths of her population were enslaved, wished to give Catholics full political rights, but such a view found little support among his colleagues. In 1782 other acts were passed which abolished the laws made against bishops and regular clergy, allowed Catholic schoolmasters to teach with the permission of the Protestant bishop of the district, and abolished a great many of the more insulting sections of the penal enactments.

But the opposition of a large body, even of the patriot party, prevented any attempt at introducing such a reform of the Irish parliament as would admit Catholics to the enjoyment of the parliamentary franchise. Principally for this reason the reform movement failed, and the Irish parliament continued till the end the most corrupt assembly in Europe. The Catholics, however, who had already formed a strong committee to voice their views, took the matter into their own hands in 1792 by convoking a great national convention to meet in Dublin. The convention met and sent an embassy to London, with the result that the English ministers advised the Irish parliament to make some concessions. Accordingly an act was passed (1793) by which Catholics got the right to vote for members of Parliament, to serve on juries, to become members of the corporations of the cities and towns, and to hold certain military and civil offices, but they were still excluded from the House of Commons and the House of Lords, from all offices and emoluments in Trinity College, from the position of sheriffs, and from most of the great offices of state.

The recall (1795) of Lord Fitzwilliam, who came to Ireland determined to grant complete emancipation, led a great body of the Catholics to believe that they could hope for no redress from constitutional agitation. The Catholic committee, which had passed from the control of the aristocratic section into the hands of the democratic party led by John Keogh and others of the Dublin merchants, had already concluded a working agreement with the Presbyterians of the North, among whom the republican spirit was very strong. Negotiations were opened up with the French government, and preparations were made for a rebellion. This was just what Pitt and the English ministers desired. They knew that they could easily crush the rebellion and that then there would be little difficulty in bringing about the union. The rising in Wexford was suppressed; the French forces which landed in Killala Bay were obliged to surrender (1798); and immediately the proposal for a union was submitted to the Irish parliament.

Irish Catholics had no great reason to be attached to the Irish parliament, which was the citadel of Protestant ascendency in the country. The idea of allowing it to be contaminated by the presence of Papists was so distasteful to such men as Flood, Charlemont and Foster, that they would have preferred to see the Parliament sacrificed rather than rally the Catholics to its defence by offering to grant them complete emancipation. Pitt and his ministers, on the other hand, opened negotiations with the Catholics, and promised emancipation as soon as the Union would be carried.

But once the Union was secured Pitt forgot his promises. A new means of dividing the Catholics was found by alleging that they must give guarantees for their loyalty before emancipation could be carried. The principal guarantee required was a government veto on the election of Irish bishops. Owing to misrepresentations and threats of a new persecution, the veto in a moderate form was accepted conditionally by a small body of the Irish bishops in 1799, but once the question was brought forward publicly the bishops strongly opposed the veto, and were supported by the clergy and people (1808). A document was sent from Rome by Mgr. Quarantotti, who was acting as secretary of the Propaganda during the imprisonment of Pius VII. in France (1813), but it was rejected and representatives were sent from Ireland to put before the Pope the true state of affairs. Pius VII. explained to the Irish people what it would be lawful for them to grant in return for emancipation (1815), but as no minister was willing to bring forward emancipation at the time, an end was put to the controversy.

The Irish Catholics realised that they must rely entirely on themselves. Mainly through the exertions of Daniel O'Connell the Catholic Association was started in 1823, and the Catholic rent was introduced in order to give the whole people of Ireland an interest in the movement. When the country had been sufficiently roused, so that Catholic voters could be depended upon to bid defiance to their landlords, it was determined to offer a strong opposition to all parliamentary candidates who refused to pledge themselves for emancipation. The elections in Waterford, Louth, Monaghan and other places went in favour of the Association, and finally, O'Connell determined to take the very important step of offering himself as a candidate for Clare. He was returned (1828) amidst the acclamations of the people, and when he presented himself in the House of Commons he refused to take the oath. The Duke of Wellington, alarmed at the danger of a civil war, forced George IV. to give his consent to the introduction of an Emancipation Bill, which was passed, and received the royal signature in April, 1829. It allowed Catholics to sit in the House of Commons and in the House of Lords, and opened to them most of the greater offices of state, except the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and a few others, but unfortunately, the forty shilling freeholders, who had made such a splendid fight on behalf of O'Connell, were disfranchised.

Even after emancipation had been secured, Catholics were still obliged to pay tithes and to contribute to the support and maintenance of the Protestant churches. Opposition to such a badge of slavery soon spread through the country, and there was a general strike against the payment of tithes (1830). Several desperate conflicts took place between the police and the people, in which many lives were lost, until at last, in 1838 the tithe was transferred from the tenant to the landlord, but in most cases the landlords compensated themselves by increasing the rents. "Ministers' money," which took the place of tithes in the cities, was abolished at a later period. So long, however, as the Protestant Church was the established church of Ireland Catholics had every reason to complain. In 1869 Gladstone passed a measure by which the Protestant Church was disestablished, though the financial clauses of the act were so favourable to the Protestants as to provide practically a new endowment.

The question of education, too, was a burning one in the country. Nearly all the endowments for schools and colleges had passed into Protestant hands, and Catholics were expected to be content with establishments set up expressly for proselytizing their children. A great effort was made by the clergy to provide primary schools from private resources, but it was impossible owing to the impoverished state of the country to meet the wants of the people. Splendid success did, however, attend the foundation of the Irish Christian Brothers. They were established by Edmund Rice, a merchant of Waterford, in 1802. From Waterford the society quickly spread into many of the leading cities of Ireland, notably Cork, Dublin and Limerick. By a Brief of Pius VII. the Irish Christian Brothers were recognised as a religious congregation of the Church. It would be difficult to describe adequately the splendid service rendered to religion by these devoted teachers, who have sent communities to England, Australia, Newfoundland, India, and lately, even to Rome itself, whither they were invited by Leo XIII. (l900). At last, in 1833, the National Educational System was established, on the principle of excluding religion entirely from the schools during school hours. Whatever may have been the intention of the framers of this measure, it is certain that archbishop Whatley and some others of the first commissioners wished to utilize the National Schools for crushing out both the national feelings and the religious principles of the pupils attending them. Dr. MacHale warmly attacked the system, and was supported by a minority of the bishops. When, however, the question was referred to Rome it was decided that the National School System might be tolerated (1841). Gradually, however, mainly owing to the exertions of Cardinal Cullen, concessions were made of such a kind as to make the system more acceptable to Catholics, especially as the clergy were, in most instances, appointed managers of the schools frequented by Catholic children. The same cannot be said of the Model Schools, which were to remain exclusively under the control of the Commissioners, and which were condemned by the authorities of the Catholic Church. The Catholic secondary colleges were established entirely out of private resources, and received no support whatsoever from the government till the Intermediate Act was passed in 1878. This act merely provided prizes for the pupils, and fees to be paid to the schools, on the results of the yearly examinations.

The history of university education in Ireland is not calculated to evoke the gratitude of Irish Catholics towards English statesmen. Trinity College was thrown open to Catholics in 1793, but no Catholic could hold any of its scholarships, or fellowships or any office of emolument. Against this Catholics naturally protested, and in order to meet their demands, Sir Robert Peel set up the Queen's Colleges in Galway, Cork and Belfast (1845). Like the National Schools, these, too, were established on the principle of undenominationalism, and as the bishops failed to secure any sufficient guarantee for the protection of the faith of Catholic students, they condemned the Queen's colleges at the National Synod of Thurles in 1850, and the condemnation was confirmed by the Pope.

To meet the wants of Catholics, the bishops determined to set up a university in Dublin. Large sums of money were subscribed, principally in Ireland and America, and the university was started in 1814, with Dr. Newman as its first rector. Owing, mainly to the fact that the government refused to grant a charter, by which students of the university might receive degrees, and to the want of any permanent endowment, as well as to the divisions of opinion among the governing body, the university was not successful, except in regard to its medical school. The government at last granted the Royal University in 1878, which was only an examining body, but which enabled Catholic students to get degrees, and provided them with some little endowment by assigning a certain number of fellowships to the Catholic University College. Finally, the National University was established in 1908, with three constituent colleges, Dublin, Galway and Cork. Funds were provided for the erection of a college in Dublin, and for the maintenance of the university. Trinity College was left entirely in the hands of the Protestants, and the Queen's University, Belfast, was given over almost entirely to the Presbyterians. Maynooth College was founded in 1795 for the education of the Irish Catholic clergy. It received an annual grant from the State till its disendowment in 1869. It has become a recognised college of the National University, and all its students are required to have obtained a degree on arts before being allowed to begin the Study of theology. The other ecclesiastical colleges are, All Hallows (missionary), Carlow, Thurles and Waterford, in Ireland, and on the Continent, Rome, Paris, and Salamanca.



In England


The Relief Act of 1778 marked the end of the penal laws, and the beginning of a new era for English Catholics. In itself it made very little concession, but it was significant as indicating a great change in the attitude of the English people towards Catholicism. The old determination to stamp out the Catholic religion was gone, and not all the exertions of fanatics like Lord George Gordon could avail to revive it. Hopes were held out that further relaxations of the penal code might be expected, but unfortunately, these hopes served to create grave dissensions amongst the Catholic body. In 1782 a Catholic Committee was appointed to take charge of the interests of English Catholics. It consisted mainly of laymen most of whom certainly meant well; but not all of them were free from the suspicion of being tainted with the spirit of false liberalism, then so prevalent on the Continent, and of being willing to secure complete emancipation at the sacrifice of Catholic principles, or of the rights of the Holy See. Hence, in many cases, grave differences of opinion manifested themselves between the Catholic Committee and the four vicars apostolic who then governed England. Charles Butler, secretary of the Committee, defended his own body, while Dr. Milner, afterwards vicar apostolic of the Midland District, put himself forward as the champion of orthodoxy. The Relief Act of 1791, which gave a large measure of freedom to Catholics, and the dissolution of the Catholic Committee, in 1792, helped to put an end to the controversy for the time.

On the outbreak of the French Revolution large numbers of the bishops and priests of France fled to England, rather than submit to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. At one period fully 5,000 clergy were in England or Jersey, without any means of support, and entirely dependent upon the generosity of the English people. Nor had they any reason to complain of the hospitality shown them. Large sums of money were quickly subscribed for their relief, and Parliament supplemented the charity of individuals by devoting a share of the public funds to aid the French refugees. The presence of such a large body of ecclesiastics, and the national enthusiasm which was stirred up on their behalf, helped to allay the suspicion and anxiety with which Catholics were regarded by their fellow citizens, and afforded a good opportunity of showing how unwarrantable were the charges levelled against the Catholic clergy. Thus, the misfortunes of the Church in France were used by God as a means of re-awakening Catholic life in the neighbouring island. In 1808 the Catholic Board was formed to forward the cause of Emancipation. In a sense the Catholic Board was a continuation of the Catholic Committee of earlier days, except that it acted with much more prudence and circumspection, nor could any charge of unorthodoxy be proved against it. But Dr. Milner, who had proved himself such an able opponent of the Catholic Committee, felt himself obliged to take the field against the Catholic Board, and he was engaged soon in a conflict with the other vicars apostolic. His position was rendered specially difficult by the fact that, besides being vicar apostolic of the Midland District, he was also the accredited London agent of the Irish bishops. For a time grave misunderstandings existed between Irish and English Catholics in regard to the guarantees which might be given in return for Catholic Emancipation, and also in regard to the attitude which should be adopted towards the French ecclesiastics, resident in England, who showed unwillingness to accept the policy of Pius VII. and the terms of the Concordat with France. These misunderstandings were, however, soon forgotten.

Between 1829, when Emancipation was granted, and 1850, when the Hierarchy was re-established, the progress of Catholicity in England can be described as little less than marvellous. This progress was due partly to the large influx of Irish immigrants, whom misgovernment had driven from home, and partly also to the great number of converts who turned to the Catholic Church as a result of the Oxford movement. The control exercised by the government over the Anglican Church had paralysed its spiritual energies for years, and it was only when its privileges, and even its very existence, were threatened by the progress of the reform movement that some of its ablest and more far-seeing defenders were stirred to action. Some of these, such as Whately and Arnold, thought that the only way for the Anglican Church to weather the storm was to declare her readiness to make herself national in the fullest sense of the term, by admitting within her fold all who received the fundamental dogmas of Christianity; while others, such as Keble, Hurrell Froude, Pusey, and Newman, all of them connected with Oxford, believed that it was only by a return to antiquity, by bringing the Anglican practices and beliefs into closer conformity with the practices and beliefs of the Catholic Church of the early centuries, that a new life could be infused into the Anglican body. Of the latter party, Newman soon became the leader. By his position as fellow of Oriel College, his unrivalled powers of literary expression and his recognised honesty and disinterestedness, he seemed to have been selected by Providence to become the centre of a great national religious movement.

The opening of both Houses of Parliament to Dissenters and Catholics, and the success of O'Connell and the Irish Catholics in their battle against paying tithes to the Established Church in Ireland, filled Newman and his friends with alarm for the future of Anglicanism. Keble gave expression to the feelings of his party in his famous sermon on National Apostasy, when he denounced the Tithe Bill as opposed to the whole history of England, and when he called upon all her loyal children to rally round the Anglican Church in her hour of peril (1833). In response to this appeal Newman began the publication of the Tracts for the Times. The aim of these tracts was to destroy the distinctly Protestant element in Anglicanism, by bringing into prominence the teaching of the early centuries, and to attack the liberal position by directing attention to the importance of dogmatic beliefs, as well as to the existence of a visible Church with a real Priesthood, Apostolic Succession, and a Sacramental System. The success of the Tracts surpassed the expectations of Newman and his friends. In reply to his critics Newman undertook to define his own position towards the Catholic Church. He admitted that in many respects the Catholic Church was far superior to the Anglican body, and he argued against it solely on the ground that by introducing new doctrines such, for instance, as had been defined at the Council of Trent, she had broken her connection with the Church of the early Fathers, and had forfeited the note of Apostolicity. On the other hand, he insisted strongly that the Anglican Church was also separated from the Church of the early centuries by the Protestant corruptions introduced in the stormy days of the Reformation, and he concluded that the only safe course was a Via Media  (a middle path) between Rome and Protestantism. Such a theory found great support among the younger generation of Anglican clergymen, but was regarded with ill concealed suspicion by nearly all the bishops.

It was very fortunate that at this critical juncture, when a large and influential body of English Protestants were endeavouring to recast the attitude of their co-religionists towards the Catholic Church, that in the person of Nicholas Wiseman, afterwards Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Providence had raised up a defender of Catholic interests, who, as a scholar, a writer, an orator and an ecclesiastic, had few equals in the nineteenth century. As a student from an English diocese, in the English College at Rome, Wiseman was the idol of English Catholics, as an Irishman by birth, he was in close touch with O'Connell and the Irish Catholic body, while, as a scholar of recognised ability and learning, his views were likely to have a great influence on the brilliant band of Oxford men who were engaged in an earnest search for religious truth. Dr. Wiseman resigned his position in Rome, returned to England and founded the Dublin Review. While Wiseman was endeavouring to help the Tractarian Party, Newman set himself to the study of the Fathers, but more especially to examine the history of the Eutychian controversy. In the course of his reading, it suddenly dawned upon him that the Eutychians, in their day, stood in the same relation to the Catholic Church as did the Anglican Church of his own time to Rome, and that every argument which could be adduced to justify Anglicanism, might be urged with equal force in favour of Eutychianism. Before he had recovered from the shock of this discovery, his attention was directed to an article in the Dublin Review, by Dr. Wiseman, in which he quoted the principle laid down by St. Augustine against the Donatists, namely, that a safe rule to follow in case of heresy or schism is the opinion of the universal Church. If the great body of Catholics throughout the world refuse to communicate with an individual or a local church, then the individual or local church must be in error. This dealt almost the finishing blow to Newman's faith in Anglicanism. Yet he made one last effort to recommend his Via Media  to his followers, by undertaking to show how a person who accepted all the defined doctrines of the Catholic Church, could with a safe conscience, profess his adhesion to the Thirty Nine Articles of the Anglican Church, for the simple reason that these articles are not opposed to any dogma of the Catholic Church. Such is the substance of Tract 90, which aroused such a religious storm in England (1841). The bishops made it clear that they were in complete opposition to such a theory. Newman stopped the publication of the Tracts and resigned his position as rector of St. Mary's.

He went into retirement, and set himself to remove the one remaining obstacle which barred his way to Rome. This obstacle was, what he considered to be, the new doctrines introduced into the Catholic Church after the sixth century; but he soon discovered that these so-called "novelties" were but the legitimate deductions drawn by competent authority from the deposit of faith given by Christ to His apostles. Many of his companions, Ward, Dalgairns, Ambrose St. John and others, had already taken the decisive step, and in 1845 Father Dominic, the Passionist, arrived at Littlemore to receive Newman into the Catholic Church. His conversion made an enormous sensation in England, and with reason. Newman was the leader and the champion of Anglicanism against Rome, and what could his friends think but that their cause was hopeless, when they saw him abandoning the contest in despair, surrendering the sword which he had wielded so skillfully, and making submission to the very enemy against whom he had fought for years?

On account of the great advance of Catholicity in England it was decided that the time had come again to set up a regular hierarchy. Dr. Wiseman was appointed Archbishop of Westminster, and created a cardinal, while England was divided into a certain number of dioceses (1850). This step, simple enough as it was in itself, served to rouse the latent bigotry of the English masses. The cry of "papal aggression" resounded on all sides, and for a time it was feared that the Gordon riots were to be re-enacted in London. Lord John Russell, Prime Minister, added fuel to the flames by his violent "No Popery" letter to the bishop of Durham. Legislation of an alarming character was foreshadowed; but in the end a rather harmless measure, known as the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, was passed, and thrown into the waste-paper basket. The agitation served at least one useful purpose by bringing Dr. Manning, the friend of Gladstone, into the Catholic Church.

On the death of Cardinal Wiseman (1865) Dr. Manning was appointed to succeed him. The opening years of his reign were troubled by dissensions amongst what were known as the liberal and conservative sections of English Catholics, both of which parties were thoroughly devoted to the cause of religion, and differed only as to the best means of promoting its interests. Dr. Manning himself favoured the conservative section, while Newman was supposed to have some leanings towards liberalism. In the controversies that preceded the Vatican Council, Dr. Manning took a leading part in favour of Papal Infallibility, and during the sessions of the Council he was amongst its most strenuous defenders. Enemies of the Church hoped that the definition might lead to the retirement of Dr. Newman from the Church, but they little knew the depth of his religious convictions. When Gladstone, having been driven from office on the Irish University question, attacked the Vatican Decrees, he found in Dr. Newman his ablest opponent. Both men, Manning and Newman, were appointed cardinals, the former in 1875, by Pius IX., the latter in 1879, by Leo XIII.

Cardinal Manning was always remarkable for his sympathy with the working classes and with the poor. He recognised more clearly than did most of his contemporaries, how much the future progress of the Church depended on the attitude it assumed towards Labour. His celebrated lecture on The Rights and Dignity of Labour  secured for him the sympathetic attention, even of non-Catholics, and his brilliant success in bringing to an end the great London Dock strike in 1890 made him for the time the most popular man in England. Cardinal Newman died in 1890, and was followed to the grave two years later by Cardinal Manning. Dr., afterwards Cardinal Vaughan, succeeded to the See of Westminster. During his reign a sharp controversy broke out regarding the validity of Anglican Orders; a commission was appointed by the Pope to examine the question, and the result was the solemn, official condemnation of the Orders of the Anglican minister as invalid and worthless (1896). It was also during the reign of Cardinal Vaughan that the Cathedral of Westminster was begun, and it was mainly owing to his personal exertions that the work was pushed forward so rapidly.

Catholics in England have spared no pains to ensure a good religious education for their children. Since 1847, Catholic schools, built out of private resources, received some help by way of State endowment. When, by the Education Act of 1870, School Boards were established and were permitted to levy rates for the support of the public schools, the voluntary schools, both Catholic and Anglican, soon found themselves at a great disadvantage in being obliged to compete with institutions, the resources of which were almost unlimited. The Education Act of 1902 was an attempt to establish equality between both classes of schools. It placed all schools under public control, thus doing away with the objection, "no taxation without representation," but at the same time, in case of the voluntary schools, the foundation managers secured a majority on the school committee. Since 1902 the Nonconformsists, who have never subscribed anything for the erection of schools, have struggled hard to secure the abolition of the safeguards provided for the voluntary schools, but so far their efforts have not been successful. Catholic Training Colleges and secondary schools have also been provided, but both have suffered severely from the recent regulations of the educational authorities. The question of university education was a great source of contention among English Catholics, especially during the life-time of Cardinal Newman, who was anxious for a Catholic hall at Oxford. Since 1895 Catholics have been allowed to attend both Oxford and Cambridge, at both of which suitable halls of residence have been founded.



In Scotland


Perhaps in no part of the world were Catholics persecuted more bitterly than in Scotland. Every means that human ingenuity could invent were adopted by the Calvinists in order to stamp out the old religion, and the adherence of the majority of Scotch Catholics to the House of Stuart afforded them a good pretext for each new act of violence. With the defeat of Prince Charles Edward at Culloden (1745) the future of Catholicity in Scotland seemed well nigh hopeless. As a result of persecution, war and massacres the Catholic population of Scotland was reduced to about 17,000, whose spiritual wants were attended to by two vicars apostolic and by about forty priests. But in the providence of God the defeat at Culloden was to be the means of securing for the Church the services of one of the ablest ecclesiastics in Great Britain during the seventeenth century, Dr. George Hay, the author of a translation of the Bible and of many valuable spiritual works. Having joined the standard of Prince Charles Edward he was arrested and sent to London where he made the acquaintance of some Catholics, and after his return to Edinburgh he was received into the Church. On the completion of his studies at Rome he was ordained priest, and came back to assist his countrymen (1758). He was appointed vicar apostolic, and did much to rouse the drooping spirits of his co-religionists. When the Catholic Relief Bill of 1778 was under discussion,' he made every effort to secure the extension of its privileges to Scotland, but the very mention of toleration for Catholics roused a perfect storm of religious bigotry. The Glasgow Synod proclaimed a general fast, and the preachers lashed the populace to fury by their extravagant denunciations of Popery. The houses where Mass was celebrated in Glasgow, the house of Dr. Hay and the residences of most of the prominent Catholics in Glasgow and Edinburgh, were burned to the ground. Dr. Hay hastened to London to fight the battle of his co-religionists, and was successful in securing some compensation for the losses they had' sustained. He also founded a seminary for the education of priests for the Scotch mission.

The Catholic population of Scotland in 1800 was about 30,000; at present it is well over 500,000. The increase is due largely to immigration from Ireland, especially between the years 1829 and 1890. The Irish immigrants were principally from the north of Ireland, and they settled, as a rule, in and around Glasgow, a fact which accounts for the very large Catholic population of this city. Owing to this increase, and in order to put an end to certain local disputes which disturbed the peace of the Catholics of Scotland, Leo XIII. established a regular hierarchy in 1878. According to the arrangement made by him the metropolitan see of St. Andrew's was erected at Edinburgh with four suffragan sees, Aberdeen, Dunkeld, Galloway, and Argyle and the Isles, while Glasgow was created an archbishopric. Catholic secondary schools have been provided, and are as a rule, in charge of the religious orders, while the State system of primary education is almost entirely satisfactory. Close on 100,000 children receive education in the Catholic schools.



In the United States of America


The Spaniards were probably the first to found Catholic missions in the territories now known as the United States. They began their missionary work in the early portion of the sixteenth century, and the sphere of their influence was in the present states of Florida, New Mexico, Texas, and California. French priests made their way from Canada into the territories represented now by Maine and New York, which were blessed by the labours of Fathers Jogues and Marquette. The earliest English colonies were Virginia, New England, Maryland (1634) and Pennsylvania. Of these, Maryland was a Catholic colony, founded by Lord Baltimore as a refuge for his co-religionists in England and Ireland; but, at the same time, religious and civil liberty was accorded to all, and in Catholic Maryland the dissenters were freer from persecution than in Protestant Virginia. The triumph of the Parliamentary Party in the Civil War which broke out in England during, the reign of Charles I. (162549) led to the overthrow of Lord Baltimore and of the Catholics in Maryland. The religious liberty they had accorded others was denied to themselves, and except for a brief spell during the closing years of the reign of Charles IL and in the short reign of James IL, Catholics in the English colonies of America were obliged to endure a persistent and bitter persecution.

But the War of Independence (177482) put an end to this condition of affairs. The need of securing the help of all the colonists in the struggle with England, and the assistance generously given by Catholic France, made it necessary to proclaim toleration for Catholics. Charles Carroll was amongst those who stepped into the post of danger by appending his name to the Declaration of Independence, and his co-religionists in Maryland and throughout the colonies imitated his loyalty and devotion to America. In 1787 the constitution was adopted by Congress, according to the sixth article of which constitution it was provided that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the United States." According to an amendment carried in 1789, it was further agreed that Congress should make no law respecting the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; but, at the same time, the individual states of the Union were free to do as they liked regarding religion. As a matter of fact, a good many years passed before New York, North Carolina, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Virginia recognised the principle of complete religious equality.

The total number of Catholics in the former English colonies was about 25,000, who were ministered to by slightly over twenty priests. The superior of the mission was the vicar apostolic of the London district. Such an arrangement, whereby the clergy in the United States must seek jurisdiction from an English vicar apostolic, could not be tolerated. The question of the appointment of some of the American clergy as head of the mission was discussed, and after some negotiations, Father John Carroll was appointed bishop. He received consecration in England (1790), and returned to fix his see at Baltimore. The new bishop found himself with but few clergy, no seminary, no colleges or schools, no religious orders of women, and no body of ecclesiastical statutes suited to the genius or requirements of the country. Fortunately for him, the persecution in Ireland and the outbreak of the French Revolution helped to provide him with capable workers. He founded a seminary at St. Mary's, Baltimore, and handed it over to the French Sulpicians; he erected a good college at Georgetown, near Washington, which college received a university charter in 1815; the Poor Clares came from France; the Visitation Nuns were established by an Irish lady, Miss Lalor; the Sisters of Charity by Mrs. Seton, and a Synod was held by him (1791) to draw up a code of canon law suited to the conditions of religion. Finding that the number of Catholics was increasing, he petitioned the Holy See, and in 1808 New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Bardstown were founded as separate dioceses. Before his death in 1815 Bishop Carroll had the happiness of seeing the Catholic Church in the United States well organized with its hierarchy, its clergy, religious orders, colleges, schools and charitable institutions. Such a development, both in numbers and in organisation, was due entirely to immigration from Ireland, and to the aid given by the Catholics of Ireland and France. A very large proportion of both the clergy and bishops at this period were Irish by birth.

The undeveloped resources of the States attracted large numbers from the Continent and more especially from Ireland. Owing to this immigration the Catholic population went up by leaps and bounds, and as the Catholic population increased, it became necessary to secure the services of more clergy and to erect new dioceses. But there were also many obstacles to impede the spread of Catholicity. The greatest danger threatened its organisation from the authority which the parochial trustees claimed for themselves, not alone over the administration of ecclesiastical property, churches, schools and cemeteries, but also over the appointment and dismissal of the officiating clergymen. The causes which gave rise to the system of Lay Trusteeship in America were:—(a) the fact that Catholics were but a handful in the midst of the Protestant sects, among whom ecclesiastical property was controlled by lay committees; (b) the laws governing the rights of religious associations to hold property were framed according to the Protestant standpoint, and insisted on the election of the trustees by the congregation; (c) many of the Catholics in the United States were from the Continental countries and being accustomed to committees controlling ecclesiastical property, they did not see any harm in having them in America, forgetful of the fact that it was not yet clear how the different states would deal with legal conflicts between the bishops and the trustees. The system of Lay Trusteeship did immense harm, and was a source of many ugly scandals. In some cases the trustees refused to accept the priests sent to them by the bishop, and insisted on retaining priests against the will of the bishop; while, in other cases, they ranged themselves on the side of rebellious clergymen, and took forcible possession of the churches and schools. Bishop Carroll made a strenuous fight against the system in his own day, but was unable to kill it. It was left for a few strong men to attack the evil at the root, and by appealing to the good sense of the Catholic people, to rid the Church of America of one of the greatest dangers which threatened its progress. Those men were Archbishop Hughes of New York, Dr. Kenrick of Philadelphia and Dr. England of Charleston—all natives of Ireland.

Another great obstacle was the strong feeling amongst the native-born Americans against the crowds of immigrants who flocked to the United States from Europe. The native Americans wished to keep the resources of the country for themselves, and lived in perpetual terror of being swamped by the foreigners. The agitation against foreigners became more violent after 1830, when it was seen that the majority of the immigrants arriving were Irish Catholics. Religious bigotry added fuel to the flames. From the pulpit and platform and through the press, Catholics were denounced as subjects of a foreign power, incapable of loyalty to the constitution, and of appreciation of the blessings of republican rule. The Catholic bishops met and tried to induce a better feeling by a very moderate and tactful pastoral, but their efforts were without avail (1833). The storm burst in Charleston (1834), when the convent of the Ursulines was burnt to the ground, and from Charleston it spread to Boston, where, for some days the city was in the hands of an infuriated mob. Later on (1844) another outburst took place in Philadelphia. Two churches, one convent, as well as the houses of leading Catholic citizens, were burned, and it required the advance of a large military force to restore peace to the city. In New York, the determined attitude of Archbishop Hughes and of his people forced the city authorities to take speedy action to prevent any violence.

The vast body of American citizens were thoroughly ashamed of such conduct, but a small section continued the agitation and formed the Native American Party, commonly known as the "Know-Nothing Party," with the object of excluding foreigners from all positions of trust in the United States. This society was killed by the ridicule of the people, and by the noble sacrifices made by Catholics for their country during the dark days of the Civil War. Yet, in later times an effort has been made to create a similar party, with a similar purpose. The American Protective Association (A. P. A.) was formed in 1887, on the same lines, and exercised some power for a time. But after its failure to capture the republican convention in 1896 it disappeared to a great extent from public notice.

The wonderful progress made by the Catholic Church in the United States during the nineteenth century, is one of the most consoling chapters in the modern history of the Church. In 1785, according to the reports furnished to the Propaganda, there were about 25,000 Catholics in the States. At that time there was no bishop; the number of priests was not more than twenty-five; there was no seminary, no Catholic schools or college, no religious order of men or women, and the few churches in existence were of the rudest kind. At the present time the Catholic population of the United States is, according to the lowest calculation, well over fourteen millions, possibly, according to many, seventeen millions. If to this be added the Catholic population of the Philippines, the number of Catholics under the Stars and Stripes falls little short of twenty-two millions. The Church in the States is also extremely well organized, with its three cardinals (Baltimore, New York, Boston) and about ninety bishops, its well-trained and excellent body of clergy, both secular and regular, its religious orders of women, its cathedrals and churches, many of them models of good taste, its universities, colleges, schools and charitable institutions. The Catholic Church in the nineteenth century can boast of no other such success.

The main causes of this rapid development were immigration and conversions. The large stream of immigration from Ireland during the past century contributed most to build up the Church in the United States. In many districts the Church is composed almost entirely of Irish, or of descendants of Irishmen, and a glance at the names of the bishops and clergy shows that to a great extent they are recruited from the same source. After the Irish, the Germans and the Poles have probably done most for the Church. In the early years of the republic, the Church was greatly indebted to France for its missionary priests, religious orders of men and women, and for the liberal financial support given to Catholic institutions in America. The Church, too, in America has gained largely, especially in recent years, by conversions from the various opposing sects. The American people are as a rule intelligent and fair-minded, with little of the religious prejudices against Catholicism to be found too often among Protestants in England or Ireland. They are willing to listen to the claims of the Catholic Church, and to give them consideration. In former times very little organized effort could be made to bring the arguments in favour of Catholicity before the non-Catholic population, but in later years the Congregation of the Paulists, founded by Father Hecker and the diocesan missionary bands organized in many of the dioceses, have done much excellent work. It is calculated by competent authorities that the average annual number of conversions in the United States is fully 25,000.

In order to perfect the organisation of the Church in the States, various provincial and plenary councils were called, the three principal of which were the three Plenary Councils of Baltimore, the first held in 1852 in the time of Dr. Kenrick, the second in 1866, presided over by Dr. Spalding, and the third in 1884, presided over by the present archbishop of Baltimore, Cardinal Gibbons. One of the subjects which engaged the attention of the bishops at all three meetings was the subject of education. Though there is not one system of schools common to the whole country, yet the primary schools in all the states are organized on the basis of the exclusion of dogmatic religion. Catholics from the very beginning protested against the public schools, and set themselves to build up free parochial schools in which the faith and morality of their children might be safeguarded. In this gigantic task they have achieved a very large measure of success. Close on 1,300,000 children are receiving their primary education at the present time in the Catholic schools. The maintenance of such a system, especially in view of the fact that Catholics are also bound to pay taxes for the upkeep of the public schools, imposes a great and unfair burthen on Catholic parents, which it would be impossible to bear were it not for the devotion of the religious orders of women who are willing to teach without any earthly reward.

Large numbers of flourishing Catholic colleges are already established and are well supplied with pupils, Many colleges have also secured university charters, as, for example, the Georgetown University, Fordham University in New York, the University of St. Louis, the University of Notre-Dame, &c., but still the bishops of America were anxious to have one grand central Catholic University which would elevate the tone of the Catholic schools and serve to unify the whole Catholic educational system of America. They selected Washington as the site for the new institution, which was opened in 1889. Since that time, and more especially in recent years, the Catholic University of America has made most satisfactory progress, and has shown clearly that it is worthy of the confidence of the country. Its complete success is already assured.

Great attention is also being paid to missionary work among the Indians, who still survive in the Indian reservations, and among the negroes, while large sums of money are subscribed annually by the Catholics of the United States to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. In the struggle between Capital and Labour, which promises soon to become as acute in the States as it is in some of the countries of Europe, the position of the Catholic Church is clearly understood. She is not the enemy of the workman, neither is she the patron of revolution. She recognizes fully that the labouring classes have many grievances, and she is prepared to assist them in securing redress, but she can offer nothing but the most unflinching opposition to the irreligious schemes of the Socialists who would seek to deprive the poor of their greatest consolation, namely, their religion.



The Church in Australia


In 1770 Captain Cooke landed in Botany Bay, and eighteen years later a penal settlement was founded there to which was given the name Sydney. On account of the disturbed state of affairs in Ireland towards the close of the eighteenth century, many Irish Catholics, accused of political offences, found themselves among the convicts. The position of those unfortunate people was exceedingly trying. They were not allowed to have any minister of their own religion to assist them, but, on the contrary, they were obliged to attend Protestant religious services under threat of very severe penalties, and to send their children to be educated in the Protestant Orphan School. Three Irish priests, Fathers Harold, Dixon and O'Neill, were sent out as convicts (1798–1800), but for all practical purposes they were prevented from giving any spiritual consolation to their co-religionists. In 1817 Father Flynn volunteered to go to Australia, but as he had not received the necessary permission from the Colonial Office, he was arrested shortly after his arrival and deported. The discussion to which such an action gave rise led to a change in the attitude of the authorities. The Colonial Office announced its willingness to appoint two Catholic chaplains, one to Botany Bay, the other to Van Diemen's Land. Father Connolly of Kildare, and Father Therry of Cork, volunteered for service in Australia. But in spite of this change of front the authorities had not abandoned the idea of making Australia a thoroughly Protestant colony. While every obstacle was thrown in the way of Father Therry in Sydney, large grants of territory were made to support the Protestant Church and schools.

But with the concession of Catholic Emancipation, a change came over the administration in Australia: Some Catholic officials were sent out there who showed themselves friendly to the missionaries. The government requested that some resident superior of the Catholic body should be appointed, and Father Ullathorne was sent (1833) as vicar general. The following year the English Benedictine, Dr. Polding, was appointed "vicar apostolic of New Holland, Van Diemen's Land and the adjoining islands." He was consecrated bishop, and arrived in Sydney in 1835. Dr. Ullathorne returned to Europe to seek for assistants and found many volunteers among the clergy and nuns in Ireland. Encouraged by his success, Dr. Polding visited Ireland in 1840 and was surprised at the number of priests and students who expressed their readiness to accompany him to his distant mission. The Christian Brothers also determined to send out a community to take up their work of education in Australia. Dr. Polding visited Rome, and in 1842 he was appointed Archbishop of Sydney, under which diocese were placed as suffragan sees Hobart and Adelaide. Perth was established as a separate diocese in 1845, and Dr. Brady was appointed its first bishop.

A small colony of Irish Catholics settled in Melbourne, and on the petition of Dr. Polding, a new see was erected at Melbourne, of which Dr. Goold was appointed bishop (1848). In 1851 the news spread that gold had been discovered in Victoria and large numbers of people flocked there from all parts of Australia. The population of Melbourne and of Victoria increased rapidly, many of the new arrivals being Irish Catholics. On account of the increase, Melbourne was created an archiepiscopal see with two suffragan dioceses, Sandhurst and, Ballarat (1874). Later on, a new diocese, Sale, was established. In South Australia, Adelaide was fixed upon as an episcopal see in 1843. In 1887 it was erected into a metropolitan church with several suffragan dioceses in South and West Australia. For Queensland, Brisbane was selected as an episcopal city in 1859, from which Rockhampton was separated in 1882. For New South Wales, under Sydney, Maitland was created an independent diocese in 1865, Goulburn 1864, Bathurst 1865, Armidale in 1869, and Wilcania and Lismore in 1887.

Dr. Polding laboured zealously during his life to improve the Catholic position in Sydney. Dr. Vaughan, another English Benedictine, was appointed as his coadjutor, and on the death of Dr. Polding he succeeded to the archiepiscopal see. On his death in 1883 the bishops petitioned for the appointment of Dr. Moran, then bishop of Ossory. The Pope granted their request, and as a testimony of his regard for the Church in Australia, as well as of his appreciation of the great labours of the new archbishop, Dr. Moran was appointed the first Australian Cardinal in 1885. He held the first plenary Council ever celebrated in the Australian Church in Sydney in 1885, and since that time two others have been convoked in 1895 and 1905. Cardinal Moran also completed the great cathedral of St. Mary's.

During the century Catholicity has made great progress in Australia. In 1800 the Catholic population was only about 300, without priests or schools. At the present time there are close on 1,000,000 Catholics in the country, with a well organized hierarchy and clergy, and with a good system of schools and colleges. The increase is due almost entirely to immigration from Ireland. Efforts, too, have been made to civilize and convert the natives of Australia, the most important, settlement for this purpose being New Norcia, founded by the Benedictines. In New South Wales, in 1879, the control of the primary schools was vested in the Minister of Public Instruction, and the teaching was to be exclusively secular. The Catholic bishops of the province issued a pastoral condemning this measure and calling upon pastors and parents to support the Catholic schools. The advice of the bishops was followed, and an excellent system of Catholic schools has been built up and is maintained without any help from the government. In 1872 the principle of undenominationalism was enforced in Victoria, but the Catholic schools have continued to flourish. Practically the same thing is true of Queensland, South Australia, West Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. The total number of Catholic children attending Catholic schools in Australia and New Zealand at the present time is over 112,000.

The first priest who settled down permanently in Tasmania was Father Connolly, who arrived there in 1821. Father Therry went to Hobart later on, and as the Catholic population began to increase rapidly, Hobart was fixed upon as an episcopal see. In 1888 it was made an archbishopric. The total Catholic population at the present time is over 30,000. In 1835 the mission in New Zealand was handed over to the Marist Fathers. In 1848 New Zealand was divided into two dioceses, but at the present time there is an archiepiscopal see at Wellington with three suffragan dioceses, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin. The total Catholic population is over 130,000.