HS830CE The History of the Church in the United States





The course is designed to cover the growth of the Church in the United States from its origins to the Second Vatican Council. Beginning with its earliest migrations and explorations, and continuing with its colonization by the Spanish and French Empires, the course continues with a study of the growth of Catholicism in the English Colonies and then in our newly established American Republic. We will focus on the critical variables, persons, and issues that helped shape the Catholic Church in the United States.


Course Syllabus

PONTIFICAL COLLEGE JOSEPHINUM

Josephinum Diaconate Institute

COURSE SYLLABUS

 

HS802DM – History of the Church in the United States

Deacon Robert Pallotti, DMin

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The course is designed to cover the growth of the Church in the United States from its origins to the Second Vatican Council. Beginning with its earliest migrations and explorations, and continuing with its colonization by the Spanish and French Empires, the course continues with a study of the growth of Catholicism in the English Colonies and then in our newly established American Republic. We will focus in on the critical variables, persons and issues that helped shape the Catholic Church in the United States.

 

COURSE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

 

 

 

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION

Module; Student Papers; Forum Discussions, Student Presentation/Discussion.

 

TEXTBOOKS

1)    Hennesey, James. American Catholics: A History of the Roman Catholic Community in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.

2)    Ellis, John Tracy Ellis. Documents of American Catholic History. Forgotten Books (July 9, 2012). 690 pages.

3)    Your choice: select a textbook of American History. Use any scholarly treatment of US History for your reference needs; Iasiello’s choice: Samuel Eliot Morison’s: The Oxford History of the American People.

4)    Other articles, ecclesiastical documents, materials as assigned.

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

 

CLASS PREPARATION AND PARTICIPATION: Effective pedagogy is a two-way street; when a student fails to participate in the dialogue, the dialogue suffers. Further, students are expected to participate in forums and video meetings and contribute with enlightened dialogue. Class assignments / seminar participation will require graduate-level preparation for all classes and seminars (and especially, knowledge of the required readings). An adult learning model will be employed.

 

PERIODIC EXAMINATIONS: The instructor will administer a midterm exam (online) and final examination (zoom class presentation). The decision to administer or not administer examinations and quizzes will remain the prerogative of the instructor. Examinations will not be administered without sufficient notification.

 

COURSE PROJECT: Students will research and prepare presentations based on an assigned topic / decade in Church history in America. These presentations will reflect issues that helped shape the Catholic experience in America during key historical epochs. Immediately following student presentations, student-presenters will lead a brief seminar/discussion on the significant events, personages and trends that impacted the Church in the United States during that particular decade and include any lessons learned that may hold relevance for the future ministry of their classmates.

 

DRAFT Modules – Subject to review and revision prior to the start of class.

1) AGE OF EXPLORATION AND ‘NEW SPAIN’

READINGS:       HENNESEY 1-22

ELLIS: #s 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7, 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15. (34 pages total)

(Any history professor should be able to offer insight as to the European Age of Exploration… the political, scientific, theological and sociological factors… and of course the Muslim conquest of Constantinople… all contributing to the rise of European exploration).

 

WEEKLY REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

1) Do you believe that any of the pre-Columbian stories of exploration are credible?

2) What sociological / scientific / political / historical / religious factors significantly impacted the inauguration of the ‘Age of Exploration’ in the 15th and 16th Centuries?

3) When all is said and done, did Columbus’ faith really factor that significantly into the major events of his life?

4) Be prepared to discuss the treatment of the indigenous peoples in the New World, their initial defenders, the significant points concerning the great debate between Bishop De Las Casas and Sepulveda, and the official response of the Crown and Church to this issue.

5) Could the institutional Church have better handled the settlement and evangelization of the New

World? Are there any lessons learned that might be of benefit for the Church in the 21st Century or beyond?

6) Discuss any significant persons or events that shed light or insight into the Spanish exploration and colonization of New Spain.

 

FORUM DISCUSSION:

Recently, the administration of the country’s most esteemed Roman Catholic institutions of higher learning (The University of Notre Dame) made the decision to move or cover-up its once treasured historical murals of Christopher Columbus.  “More than 130 years after their debut at the ceremonial entrance to the University of Notre Dame's Main Building, murals illustrating the life of Christopher Columbus will soon be covered up. To many, the 12 murals were "blind to the consequences of Columbus' voyage," university President Rev. John Jenkins said in a letter Sunday announcing his decision. At their worst? "Demeaning."

 

Is this another example of political correctness run amuck… or are there legitimate reasons to remove these historical artifacts? Please include a discussion of how the European Age of Exploration came about, the role Columbus played in that exploration, and the historical long and short term consequences of his accidental discovery of this hemisphere.

 

2) AGE OF EXPLORATION AND ‘NEW FRANCE’

 

READINGS:        HENNESEY pp. 23 - 35

ELLIS: #s 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24.

 

WEEKLY REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

 

1) Discuss any significant persons or events that shed light or insight into the French exploration and colonization of New France.

2) Discuss the differences in the Spanish and French approaches to missiology and evangelization; how did events, trends, politics, religious developments and beliefs impact their approach to missiology and evangelization?

3) Why did the New World missionaries have such limited success in their evangelization efforts with the indigenous peoples? Are there any lessons learned that we should reflect on as we formulate our own theology of mission?

 

FORUM DISCUSSION:

Past Popes has stressed the need for a ‘New Evangelization.’  The Spanish and French missionaries employed different approaches in evangelizing the natives of New Spain and New France. Discuss the pluses and minuses of each approach and why you feel one approach to missiology was more enlightened than the other. Finally, what ‘lessons learned’ do both groups provide as you prepare to enter into the New Evangelization of your fellow Roman Catholics in the United States.

 

3) AGE OF EXPLORATION AND THE ENGLISH COLONIES

 

READINGS:       HENNESEY pp. 36 – 54.

ELLIS: #s 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36.

WEEKLY REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

 

1) Who / what set the stage for English exploration of the area we now call Maryland? What surprised you most as you read about the establishment and colonization of Maryland?

2) Discuss the role of Father Andrew White, SJ and other Jesuits in the founding and settlement of the Colony of Maryland.

3) How did the English Civil War (King Charles I – The English Parliament) impact the settlement of Maryland? How did the Glorious Revolution (1688) impact the Colony of Maryland and its Roman Catholic settlers?

4) Discuss the establishment of the Colony of Virginia and the role of Roman Catholics in its establishment. Is there anything significant to say about the foundations of Catholicism in Virginia?Given its Anglican roots and apparent anti-Catholic laws and culture of Virginian society, does the exalted status of the Brent family surprise you?

5) Given its Puritan and Congregationalist roots up until the American Revolution, does the absence of a Roman Catholic presence in the Northern colonies surprise you?

6) What are the enduring legacies of Plymouth Colony Anti-Bellum (Revolutionary War) ; post bellum?

7) Discuss the role and heroic ministry of Pennsylvania’s early priests.

 

FORUM DISCUSSION:

Despite the presence of a sizeable Roman Catholic population, the United States have often been called a ‘Predominantly Protestant Country.’ Would you agree or disagree with this description? Given the origins of the English Colonies can you understand why it might be described this way? Do we live in a Protestant, Catholic or multi-creed American Society? Is it changing; if so, how… and how will this impact your future ministry as a deacon in the Church?

 

4) THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AND THE FOUNDING OF A CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE NEW UNITED STATES (1).

READINGS:       HENNESEY pp. 55 – 68.

ELLIS: #s 37; 38; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45;

 

WEEKLY REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

1) In 1763, the English celebrated their victory over France in the Seven Years War (French and Indian War). What impact did the English conquest and occupation of ‘New France’ have on the Roman Catholic Church in the ‘New World?’

2) Pope Clement XIV (Conventual Franciscan) ordered the suppression of the Society of Jesus. How did this suppression impact missionary activity in the ‘New World?’

3) What is your reaction to John Adam’s impression of a Catholic service (Ellis #41))?

4) A number of Roman Catholics played a prominent role in support of the American Revolution. Who were they, and what role did they play in procuring our independence from England?

5) Speak to the importance of the role Roman Catholic France played in our prosecution and winning of the American Revolution. Could we have won the war without France and its military?

 

FORUM DISCUSSION:

The Quebec Act (1775) afforded Roman Catholics living in Canada a ‘freedom of religion’ that was historically not tolerated in most of the English Colonies. The Continental Congress condemned the Quebec as ‘dangerous in an extreme degree to the Protestant religion and to the civil rights and liberties of all Americans.” Further, it described Catholicism as “a religion fraught with sanguinary and impious tenets, which deluged your island in blood and dispersed impiety, persecution, murder and rebellion through every part of the world.” Read again ELLIS # 42. Has your reading of the reactions of our Founding Fathers to the Quebec Act color your attitudes toward the founding heroes of the American Republic? Has America ever recovered from the anti-Catholicism that was so prevalent in the ante-bellum colonies… and still present among the founding fathers and in our revolutionary roots? Given the sentiments expressed in the Congressional reaction to the granting of religious liberties to Roman Catholics… would you as a Roman Catholic have risked property, life and limb and fought in the American Revolution?

 

5) THE FOUNDING OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES (1).

READINGS:       HENNESEY pp. 69 – 100.

ELLIS: #s 46; 47; 48; 49; 50; 51; 52; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57; 58; 59; 60 (37 pages).

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

1) Discuss the ‘Carroll Family’ and the role it played before and after the American Revolution.

2) How would you describe the state of Roman Catholicism in America in 1783 (The Treaty of Paris)?

3) Discuss some of Father Carroll’s challenges as he begins his new duies as the ecclesiastical superior of the ‘American Missions.’

3) Why did the priests of the United States initially fear the appointment of a Bishop by Rome to shepherd Catholics in post-revolutionary America? Were the fears of these priests grounded on theological beliefs, or did politics play a role in their resistance?

4) A young Father Carroll accompanied an American delegation to Canada prior to the American Revolution and became a nurse and friend to Benjamin Franklin. Years later, Franklin was asked what priest might qualify to be appointed the Superior of the American Mission. Rome eventually appointed Father John Carroll over the ecclesiastical superior in charge at the time. What this providential or another example of how politics play into what should be a sacred selection of a Bishop?

 

FORUM DISCUSSION

Bishop John Carroll’s Diocese of Baltimore encompassed all of the 13 original states and more than a million square miles. As America grew Westward, so too did the Diocese. Although the percentage of Roman Catholics living in America was less than 1% of the overall population, the land mass of the new diocese presented a daunting pastoral challenge to a small presbyterate of less than 25 healthy priests. How would you have approached organizing ministry to American Catholics at the time (Please remember to take into consideration the condition of the transportation and economic infrastructures in 1789)… and the small number of priests at your disposal to cover the demands of this new Apostolic ministry. Although the Permanent Diaconate was not reinstituted until the late 1970s, what role might permanent deacons have played in assisting our pioneer priests with providing ministerial coverage to Catholics in the newly established diocese?

 

6) THE EARLY 19th CENTURY CHURCH

 

READINGS:       HENNESEY pp. 101 - 142.

ELLIS: #s 61; 62; 65; 66; 67; 68; 70; 72, 74; 76; 77; 78; 80; 82; 84; 85.

 

1) What is Archbishop John Carroll’s legacy to the Church in the United States. What were his accomplishments; what were his disappointments?

2) Discuss the issue of TRUSTEEISM in 19th Century Catholic America: why was it a chronic problem for the 19th Century Church. Is the Church still fearful of ‘Lay Involvement?

3) Discuss how the Church spread (with the general population into the American West. How did the Church address this daunting challenge?

4) European immigration to the United States in the 19th Century helped plant the seeds of an ‘Immigrant Church” in the United States. Explain.

5) Does the current ‘Anti-Immigrant’ mindset reflect something of a ‘religious’ sentiment; is it similar to the anti-immigrant mindset of the 19th Century (which may have surfaced in no small way as a result of the influx of Roman Catholics)?

 

FORUM DISCUSSION

Alexis de Tocqueville described Catholics in America as “very submissive and very sincere.” They were faithful to the observances of their religion… fervent and zealous in the belief of their doctrines, “yet they constitute the most republican and democratic class in the United States.” “… There were also local factors encouraging the democratic spirit among American Catholics: their poverty, social inferiority and minority status. The Catholic clergy he (de Tocqueville) noticed, divided their intellectual world in half: ‘Doctrines of revealed religion’ were accepted without discussion, but ‘political truths’ were left to their inquiry.” (Hennesey p.102). How have things changed or remained the same in the Roman Catholic Church in America since the 1830s?

 

7) THE CHURCH, SLAVERY AND THE CIVIL WAR.

 

READINGS:       HENNESEY pp. 143-171.

ELLIS: #s 99; 100; 101; 102; 105; 106; 107; 108; 109; 110; 111; 112; 113.

 

WEEKLY REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

 

1) How did the 19th Century Nativist Movement impact the Catholic Church in America.

2) Discuss the Abolitionist movement in the United States and the stance of the Catholic Church in Ante-Bellum America.

3) Consider the role of the Catholic Bishops in the Civil War and how they addressed the questions of secession and slavery.

4) Who were some prominent Catholics in the war between the states.

5) Consider the role that Archbishop ‘Dagger’ John Hughes played in the anti-conscription riots in New York.

6) What diplomatic stance did the Vatican adopt as America prosecuted her Civil War?

7) What was the stance of the Southern Catholic Bishops during the Civil War?

OPTIONAL FOR HISTORY NERDS:

Generals William Sherman of Ohio and Philip Sheridan of New York: were they Catholic heroes or Catholic villains?

What can you say about Abraham Lincoln and the Catholic Church?

 

FORUM DISCUSSION:

A number of Christian Churches (denominations) ‘split’ as a result of the Civil War: Southern Baptist Convention / American Baptist Church; Methodist Church / Southern Methodists; Northern / Southern Presbyterians. Despite some serious ideological and political differences found among the Northern and Southern Bishops, the Roman Catholic Church in America was able to survive the war and reconstruction era survived a schism. How did the Church survive a split despite the diverse opinions held by the bishops and their flocks?

 

8) THE POST-BELLUM CHURCH IN AMERICA.

 

READINGS:       HENNESEY pp. 172 - 207.

ELLIS: #s 114; 115; 117; 120; 121; 124; 126; 127; 128; 132; 134; 136; 137; 137; 140; 143.

 

WEEKLY REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

 

1) What was the role of the Catholic Church in the United States during the ‘Era of Reconstruction?’ Outside of the loss of life and property (obviously a HUGE cost) did the Catholic Church benefit or suffer from the Civil War?

2) Speak to the 19th Century ‘Councils of Baltimore’ and the major 19th Century Issues faced by the Roman Catholic Episcopacy in the United States.

3) How were Black Catholics treated in Post Bellum 19th Century America?

4) Tell me a little about the Legacy of Cardinal McClosky of New York: The First American ‘Prince of the Church.’

5) What role did the bishops of the ‘German Triangle’ play in the later half of the 19th Century? Should they be considered guardians of Orthodoxy or heterodoxy? (Why were there tears over Beers in the American Hierarchy?)

6) Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore: was he a true Episcopal leader or politically-correct pacifier.

7) Leo XIII condemned ‘Americanism.’ Did this silence or awaken American Ecclesial Liberalism?

8) Was Archbishop John Ireland an orthodox or heterodox voice for the turn of the century Church?

 

FORUM DISCUSSION

The Spanish-American War is sometimes described as a struggle between the ‘New World’ and the ‘Old World’… the forces of the ‘enlightened’ waging war against the ‘unenlightened’ of the world… the ‘New World’ in a struggle against the ‘old World.’ In your opinion, could the Spanish American War be described as an anti-Catholic War?

 

9) THE CHURCH IN 20th CENTURY AMERICA.

 

READINGS:       HENNESEY pp. 208 - 254.

ELLIS: #s148; 151; 152; 153; 154; 155; 156; 157.

 

WEEKLY REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

1) Were the Knights of Columbus established as a Roman Catholic response to the Masons?

2) How did the Church in America deal with Saint Pius X’s condemnation of Modernism.

3) The Knights of Columbus played a significant role in World War I. Describe their contributions and speak to why Catholics were so supportive of President Wilson’s (often described as a virulent anti-Catholic) policies, including his decision to enter a war he had once campaigned against ?

4) Father John Ryan is often called the Prophet of Social Justice. Speak to the roots of 20th Century Catholic social ethics.

5) Did the Catholic Church in America play a significant role in the ratification of the 18th and 19th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution?

6) Why are the 20th Century American Cardinals sometimes described as ‘Ecclesiastical CEOs’? Do you view them as genuine shepherds or corporate giants? (E.g. Mundelein; Farley; O’Connell).

 

FORUM DISCUSSION

The first Roman Catholic to win a nomination for the presidency of the United States was Governor Al Smith of the Empire State (New York). Was he nominated BECAUSE the Church in America had overcome the anti-Catholic biases of the past… or despite the anti-Catholicism which still exited in 20th Century America.

BONUS QUESTION: Should we as Roman Catholics be thankful that Herbert Hoover won the election and Al Smith lost (consider the ‘Great Depression’ of 1929 and how that might have impacted an ‘Al Smith’ administration, and the Catholic Church).

 

10) THE CHURCH IN 20th CENTURY AMERICA (2).

 

READINGS:       HENNESEY pp. 255-279.

ELLIS: #s158; 159; 160.

 

WEEKLY REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

 

1) Were Dorothy Day and Father Charles Coughlin great communicators of the Catholic faith…  or sowers of societal unrest?

2) Discuss the relationship between Father Coughlin and President Franklin D. Roosevelt… and Roosevelt’s New Deal.

2) Speak to the evolution of a Bishop’s conference in America (National Catholic War Council to USCCB).

 

10) THE CHURCH COME OF AGE: THE SECOND WORLD WAR.

 

READINGS:       HENNESEY pp. 280 - 306.

ELLIS: #s161; 162; 163; 164.

KENNEDY: https://usa.usembassy.de/etexts/democrac/66.htm.

 

WEEKLY REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

 

1) Roman Catholics in World War II: was this our ‘coming of age’?

2) Speak to the role of Francis Cardinal Spellman and the Roman Catholic Church in America in World War II. What role should clergy, and especially the Episcopacy, play in a time of conflict / war?

3) Speak to the role of the Catholic Church in America during the Cold War. Was our anti-communism rooted in theological or political considerations, or both?

4) The Blue Army and Fulton J. Sheen: were they symbols of a ‘Church Militant’ during the 1950s?

 

FORUM DISCUSSION:

Discuss “The Issue of Religious Freedom in a Presidential Campaign” (Ellis #164) and John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s address to the Southern Baptist Convention. Why was anti-Catholicism still a factor in American culture and political life 186 years after America’s Declaration of Independence from England? Is it still prevalent in today’s society? Are the Church’s stances against abortion, euthanasia, birth control and so on going to re-ignite the flames of anti-Catholic sentiment? Should Catholics stand ready to be imprisoned and perhaps martyred in a 2050 American society?

11) THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN AMERICA: POST VATICAN II.

READINGS: (There are scores of online readings on this topic… and library wings full of volumes exploring the impact of the Second Vatican Council. Listed below are a few short articles to wet your appetite to begin your own online research. I would invite you to begin your own research of this topic since it will most definitely impact your future diaconal ministry).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/50-years-ago-vatican-ii-changed-the-catholic-church-_-and-the-world/2012/10/10/4fedaf6c-1319-11e2-9a39-1f5a7f6fe945_story.html?noredirect=on.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/28/vatican-ii-catholic-church-50th-anniversary/1630243/.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Roman-Catholicism/The-church-since-Vatican-II.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?124642-1/cuomo-notre-dame-speech.

https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/JCWS_a_00533

SUPPLEMENTAL: HENNESEY pp. 307 - 331.

 

WEEKLY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1) Looking back at Catholicism in the 1960s and 1970s: was it a church in evolution or a Church in chaos?

2) Discuss the  diverse response of Roman Catholics to the Vietnam War (Francis Cardinal Spellman / The Berrigan Brothers (Daniel and Philip).

3)Take a look at Governor Mario Cuomo’s Address at Notre Dame (September 13, 1984): “Religious Belief and Public Morality: A Catholic Governor’s Perspective.”  Was this pure political rhetoric or a survival plan for Catholic politicians in the United States? Would the speech have been delivered BEFORE Vatican II?

4) The NCCB made headlines with its pastoral letter: ‘The Challenge of Peace.” Did the voice of the Church help diffuse the nuclear arms race?

 

12) THE CHURCH, ITS OPEN WOUND AND THE FUTURE.

READINGS:

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/churchs-sex-abuse-crisis.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/22/sex-abuse-catholic-church-why-more-americans-leaving/3507437002/.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/ex-cardinal-mccarrick-defrocked-by-vatican-for-sexual-abuse/2019/02/16/0aa365d4-2e2c-11e9-8ad3-9a5b113ecd3c_story.html.

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-asia-oceania/2019/08/21/cardinal-pells-appeal-rejected/.

 

WEEKLY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • It is no secret that the sin and crime of pedophilia is an issue for many institutions in the United States (religious institutions, educational institutions, etc. Why is the sex crisis in the Catholic Church the focus of such intense scrutiny by the press and now the government? Is this yet one more example of anti-Catholicism in America, or a failure of priestly formation, ecclesial leadership, the imposition of celibacy on priests, any/all/none of the above?
  • How has the crisis impacted the Church in the United States; when will the healing and recovery begin? Is the damage to the image and work of the Church in the United States irreparable?
  • Numerous safeguards have been employed to protect the innocents among us and protect the critical mission of the Church. Has enough been done (Protecting God’s Children) or does the Church have light-years to go in addressing this issue?
  • Why did the designer of this course choose to end the History of the Church in the United States with this topic?

FORUM DISCUSSION:

As a future deacon in the Church you will minister in the shadow of the sex-abuse crisis that has plagued and shamed the Church of God for decades. Despite the crisis, men and women of deep faith and hope in the Church continue to discern God’s call for service in the Church as involved lay men and women, religious, deacons and priests. How do you plan to address this in your public / sacred ministry?







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