The English Origins of American Catholicism

Maura Jane Farrelly

in Papist Patriots

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199757718
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932504 | DOI:
The English Origins of American Catholicism

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The vast majority of Catholics living in Maryland at the time of the American Revolution were of English ancestry. The Catholic experience in early-modern England, therefore, laid the foundation for the first distinctly “American” Catholic identity. This chapter explains how English Catholics drew upon their wealth, education, personal experiences with Protestantism, and the empowered, “seigneurial” relationship that they had with their clergy to reconcile their religious and national identities. It notes that lay and clerical Catholics alike became comfortable with a certain degree of rebelliousness, because rebellion was a necessary and unavoidable component of the reconciliation they sought. Some, such as the Jesuits, rebelled more strongly against the king; others, such as lay schismatics and secular clergy, rebelled more strongly against the Catholic Church. None behaved like the blindly obsequious automatons that Protestants made Catholics out to be.

Keywords: Jesuits; secular clergy; schismatics; seigneurial Catholicism; early-modern England; Maryland; rebellion; wealth

Chapter.  10274 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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