were Protestants, who probably formed a majority of the emigrants before 1830. The first Catholic bishops in what was to become the United States presided in the colonies of France and Spain, and French clergy, who remained numerous, only gradually lost their dominance ofthe North American church. The first diocese in the newly independent country, created in 1789, with an Irish-American bishop, John Carroll (consecrated 1790; archbishop 1808-15), was Baltimore, originally founded as a colony by English Catholics. The huge post-Famine Irish Catholic populations of the great eastern cities like New York, which had more than 200,000 Irish-born by 1860, and in the Midwest, Chicago, acquired powerful prelates like John Hughes of New York (bishop 1838-50; archbishop 1850-64), who were the architects of massive building programmes of new churches, presbyteries and parochial schools, the last not funded by the state, a cause of lasting grievance, for neighbourhoods in which an expatriate ethnic and religious identity survived the often traumatic uprooting to the New World.
After 1860, the Roman Catholic Church became the largest religious body in the United States. By 1910, it claimed more than 12 million communicants, compared with 22 million communicants for all the Protestant churches combined. The body of believers or more casual adherents was, of course, much larger in both cases. Rome's policy was an expansive one of erecting vicariates and dioceses where virtually no church existed. As the bishops set out to establish their monarchic authority, they faced the problem of missionary orders sometimes stronger than themselves, or confronted priests and congregations who demanded either lay trusteeship or the election of the clergy by an ecclesiastical democracy. There was also sometimes conflict between the Irish 'hibernarchy' and other immigrant groups, first the Germans, who were the largest Catholic immigrant group between 1865 and 1900, then the Italians and Poles, Hungarians and Czechs. A lack of Irish sympathy resulted in Polish and Uniate schisms from the Catholic Church. Germans alone came to constitute about a seventh of the Catholic population, in what remained an Irish-dominated but otherwise an increasingly multiethnic church with numerous 'national parishes' catering to particular communities, in which continental priests ministered to their coreligionists from Europe.
In an overwhelmingly Protestant nation, the church had to face discrimination and popular persecution, most spectacularly from the 'Know-Nothing' movement; Protestant nativists burnt down two churches and the diocesan seminary in Philadelphia in 1844. Prejudice against the Irish was exacerbated by their poverty, and the first attempt to create a national trades union, the Knights of Labor, led from 1878 by a Catholic, Terence Powderly, with millions
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