Roman Catholic Church in America

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Had its beginnings in the legendary connection between the Norse discoveries of the New World and the medieval church in Greenland. Its modern history began with the colonization by Spain and France. Permanent dioceses were established in Santo Domingo, Haiti, and Puerto Rico (1511), and the see of Cuba ruled the mainland churches (1522–45) The first parish within the boundaries of the present U.S. was established at St. Augustine, Fla. (1565). During the ensuing centuries, much missionary work was done by the Capuchins, Jesuits, and Franciscans. In the American territories outside the present U.S., colonization and proselyting have resulted in the dominance of the Catholic faith. In the English colonies, Catholicism was generally attacked, except in Maryland, which was founded by the Catholic Calvert family, and in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, where there was religious toleration. John Carroll became the first Catholic bishop in the U.S. (1789), when there were approximately 30,000 Catholics in the country. The increase to c.49,000,000 by 1980, in large part owing to immigration from Ireland, Germany, and Italy, occasioned in the 19th century much antagonism in this predominantly Protestant country. Although this feeling was chiefly temporary or local, it resulted in such politico-religious movements as the Know-Nothings. Widespread contributions to American culture result not only from the Church's many schools, colleges, and periodical publications but also from the various activities of its members.

Subjects: Literature.

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