Southern Crucifix, Southern Cross by Dr. Andrew Henry Stern Ph.D.

9459df1f77eb0e3-261x361.jpg Author Dr. Andrew Henry Stern Ph.D.
Isbn 9780817317744
File size 2.4MB
Year 2012
Pages 280
Language English
File format PDF
Category religion


South­ern Crucifix, South­ern Cross Religion and Ameri­c an Culture Series Editors David Edwin Harrell Jr. Wayne Flynt Edith L. Blumhofer South­ern Crucifix, South­ern Cross Catholic-­Protestant Relations in the Old South Andrew H. M. Stern The University of Alabama Press Tuscaloosa Copyright © 2012 The University of Alabama Press Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-­0380 All rights reserved Manufactured in the United States of America Typeface: Caslon Cover photographs: Clockwise from top left: Thyatira Church, Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina, 1938. Catho­lic Church, Milledgeville, Georgia, 1939 or 1944. St. Paul’s Church, Edenton, Chowan County, North Carolina, 1937. Old Frame Episcopal Church, Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia, 1939 or 1944. Photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson. Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Cover design: Todd Lape / Lape Designs ∞ The paper on which this book is printed meets the minimum requirements of Ameri­ can National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-­1984. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Stern, Andrew H. M., 1977–   Southern crucifix, southern cross : Catholic-Protestant relations in the old south / Andrew H. M. Stern.    p. cm. — (Religion and American culture)  Includes bibliographical references and index.  ISBN 978-0-8173-1774-4 (trade cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-0-8173-8629-0 (ebook) 1. Southern states—Church history. 2. Protestant churches—Relations— Catholic Church. 3. Catholic Church—Relations—Protestant churches. I. Title.   BR535.S74 2012  277.5' 08—dc23 2012016469 For Gretchen, Nicholas, and Charlie, whose naps gave me time to write and whose waking hours fill me with joy. Contents Acknowledgments Introduction ix 1 1. Living Together 18 2. Healing Together 38 3. Educating Together 4. Worshipping Together 5. Ruling Together Conclusion Notes 183 Bibliography Index 179 261 247 145 69 109 Acknowledgments This work would not have been possible without the advice and support of many people and or­ga­ni­za­tions. Emory University provided several grants for research and conference travel, as well as a fellowship that allowed me to focus on this project. One of the great pleasures of the project was the opportunity to explore archives across the South. I am very grateful to the archivists of the Diocese of Charleston, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Mobile, Spring Hill College, the University of Notre Dame, and the South­ern His­tori­cal Collection at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. In particular, I would like to thank Mary Giles of Charleston, Michael King and Sr. Mary Elizabeth Cullen of Mobile, and Jessica Deese of Fairhope. I am especially grateful to the Filson His­tori­ cal Society of Louisville for financial assistance, as well as for the support and encouragement I received from the society’s excellent staff during my research there. Parts of this work appeared in the journal Religion and Ameri­can Cul­ ture, published by the Center for the Study of Religion and Ameri­can Culture and the University of California Press, and in the Encyclopedia of Re­ ligion in America, published by CQ Press. I am grateful to those publishers for allowing me to use this material, to the editors for their suggestions, and to the anonymous reviewers for their insights. I am also very grateful to The University of Alabama Press. It was a pleasure to work with my editor, Daniel Waterman, and I am deeply indebted to the press’s anonymous reviewers, who provided remarkably detailed and insightful evaluations of the manuscript. Over the years, I have presented parts of this project at several conferences, and I am grateful to all those respondents who raised questions and made suggestions. I also benefited greatly from the opportunity to partici- x Acknowledgments pate in two A. Worley Brown South­ern Studies seminars at Emory. I am grateful to my fellow participants and to Merle Black for facilitating one of the seminars and for providing valuable suggestions for the chapter on slav­ery. I am deeply indebted to the late Elizabeth Fox-­Genovese, not only for leading the other seminar, but also for being an inspiring teacher and a wonderful source of insight and support. I am also grateful to Eugene Genovese for several stimulating discussions and for guiding me to many valuable resources, and to Patrick Allitt for his suggestions. I am particularly grateful to two wonderful mentors for their guidance and encouragement. Over the years, James Roark read and edited numerous drafts of this work with endless patience, graciousness, and insight. His affirmation that this project was worth exploring has always meant a great deal to me. My greatest debts are to Brooks Holifield, who first suggested this topic and who over the years provided unflagging support and encouragement. This work would not have been possible without his generosity and insights. Whatever is of value in the following pages belongs at least as much to him as it does to me. On a personal note, I wish to thank the people of Leasburg United Methodist Church, who demonstrated that good Catholic-­Protestant relations continue to this day, and Homer Simpson, whose good humor and perspective were constant inspirations. I am also extremely grateful to Grant Wacker for the interest he took in this project and for all the ways he has advised and assisted me, as well as to Katherine Wacker for all her support and kindness over the years. I have also been fortunate to receive support from my parents, Krisztina Krivátsy Stern and Henry Stern, who taught me to see wonders in different cultures and to hear wisdom in the voices of the past. And, in this as in all my endeavors over the past ten years, I owe a great deal to Laura. I cannot thank her enough so I will simply say—Ich liebe Dich. South­ern Crucifix, South­ern Cross Introduction In 1842, the citizens of Charleston, South Carolina, lamented the passing of a great pub­lic fig­ure. Across the city, church bells tolled; ships in the harbor flew their flags at half-­mast; and politicians, journalists, and religious leaders added their voices to the chorus of dismay. The man the city mourned was not a politician, low-­country grandee, or military hero. Instead, he was John England, the first Catho­lic bishop of Charleston.1 John England was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1786. He was ordained in 1808 and proved to be an energetic priest, founding a Catho­lic monthly in Cork and serving as president of the diocesan seminary, inspector of the poor schools, and secretary to the fever hospital in addition to his other priestly duties. He was also an Irish patriot, opposing the English government’s claim to veto rights over the appointment of English and Irish bishops. In 1820, in a service in St. Finbar’s Cathedral in Cork, he was consecrated bishop of Charleston, South Carolina. He declared it “idle and useless” to take the customary oath of allegiance to the British Empire, noting that his first act upon arriving in America would be to renounce it.2 Even in an era of missionary bishops who built a church from the ground up, England distinguished himself as a dynamo. In Rome, he earned the moniker “il vescovo a vapore”—the steam bishop. He was an outstanding preacher, perhaps the greatest in the Ameri­can Catho­lic Church of his time, although some auditors found him too theatrical. England’s combativeness and willingness to speak his mind won him admirers and enemies, even among his fellow bishops, several of whom resented his unsolicited advice, found him too receptive to Ameri­can culture, or distrusted him simply for being Irish. But if England and his episcopal colleagues did not always see eye-­to-­ eye, many non-­Catho­lics loved him. A Prot­es­tant merchant from South Carolina described him as “beloved by all the cultured people of the State” 2 Introduction and recalled many pleasant evenings spent in conversation with him “over a glass of Irish whiskey or a bottle of Madeira, with which his cellar was kept well stocked by his numerous friends.”3 When England died in 1842, these friends of all denominations joined in mourning. Jewish, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregationalist, Universalist, Methodist, and Unitarian representatives gathered in the cathedral of Charleston for the burial service. Thousands of mourners filed past his casket. As the Charleston Patriot noted, “the Church was thronged by persons of every rank and denomination.”4 The Charleston Courier commented on the ecumenical significance of the event, hoping that the representatives gathered “to bury with him . . . in one common grave, their memories of past dissensions and antipathies.”5 This incident—and many like it—suggests that cooperation, not conflict, marked relations between Catho­lics and Prot­es­tants in at least some regions of ante­bel­lum America. To be sure, the ante­bel­lum South produced striking incidents of Catholic-­Protestant animosity, and those i­ncidents have loomed large in Ameri­can religious historiography.6 Too large. More of­ten than not, south­ern Prot­es­tants supported Catho­lics, particularly in building hospitals, schools, and churches. Catho­lics reciprocated when they could. Bishop England contributed to a Protestant-­run school in Savannah, and his colleague in Kentucky, Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget, promised to help two Prot­es­tant missionaries distribute Bibles.7 But because Catho­lics were chronically short of resources, Prot­es­tants normally assisted them without expecting or receiving anything material in return. In the South, Prot­es­tant support continued through­out the ante­bel­ lum period. One of the most striking aspects of this support is how little it changed over the decades. This work does not adopt a chronological approach for precisely this reason. The motives behind Prot­es­tant support for Catho­lics may have varied by time and place, but the support itself was remarkably consistent. Elsewhere in America, in contrast, attitudes toward Catho­lics hardened as immigration spiked. Some south­ern­ers were also antagonistic, but overall Prot­es­tant generosity counterbalanced—and even surpassed—the hostility. This striking amicableness had multiple sources. It emerged, in part, because of Catho­lics’ loyalty as south­ern­ers, especially their support for slav­ery. But other factors reinforced Prot­es­tant openness. Civic pride prompted some to contribute to Catho­lic institutions. Curiosity led others to admire Catho­lic worship. Similarities between Catho­ lic and south­ern culture also improved relations. The reasons were complex, but they led to a remarkable outcome: tolerance and cooperation, more than violence and animosity, marked Catholic-­Protestant relations in the ante­bel­lum South. Introduction 3 Historiography Maria Monk and her “exposé” of convent life enliven almost every survey of Ameri­can religious history. The burning of the Charlestown convent consistently occupies a prominent place in studies of Ameri­can Ca­tholi­ cism, and the anti-­Catho­lic Know-­Nothing Party casts a wide shadow in every discussion of nineteenth-­century interfaith relations. The historiography abounds with attacks on convents, riots, and nativist politics. Such events merit attention, for they were part of the story, but other patterns, although not appearing as brightly in the his­tori­cal record as a burning convent, marked the day-­to-­day relationships of Prot­es­tant and Catho­ lic laity and clergy. Hostility occupies an even more central position in surveys of Ameri­ can Ca­tholi­cism. Some authors see nativism and anti-­Catholicism as decisive themes even before the massive influx of immigrants in the 1840s.8 Others discover anti-­Catholicism lurking below the surface of Ameri­can society even when all seemed calm.9 In some recent surveys, Prot­es­tant hostility is taken as evidence that Ca­tholi­cism was foreign to republican governance, po­liti­cal and ecclesiastical. The dominant narrative in such works tells how Catho­lics became Ameri­cans by altering patterns of authority in the church and diffusing power from the hierarchy to the laity. The nineteenth-­century Know-­Nothing complaint that an undemocratic Catho­lic Church stood in tension with po­liti­cal democracy became, ironically, a favored theme of twentieth-­century Ameri­can Catho­lic historians. A reassessment of Catholic-­Protestant relations in the ante­bel­lum period can at least complicate the story. Some historians have recognized the complexities, even accenting the more positive relations. John R. Dichtl’s Frontiers of Faith focused on Catho­ lic clerical leadership and documented numerous cases of Prot­es­tant support for Catho­lics. Dichtl’s analy­sis of this support is illuminating, but he limited his study to the Diocese of Bardstown, and he argued that relations between Catho­lics and Prot­es­tants deteriorated after 1830, concluding that the moments of cooperation “were ephemeral and did little to change either group.”10 Other historians have noted parallels between anti-­Catholic, anti-­Masonic, anti-­Mormon, and anticult literature and have argued that anti-­Catholicism of­ten had less to do with Catho­lics than with Prot­es­ tant social strains.11 Or they have observed the fascination with Ca­tholi­ cism that of­ten lingered beneath the surface of anti-­Catholicism.12 Others have emphasized that Catho­lics and Prot­es­tants cooperated at least in the decade after the Ameri­can Revolution.13 Even in the darkest moments of anti-­Catholicism, some Ameri­cans felt ill at ease with what they saw 4 Introduction as a betrayal of national principles. Condemnation invariably followed the most heinous incidents of violence against Catho­lics. Such correctives cannot alone subvert the dominant view of Catholic-­ Protestant hostility. Anti-­Catholicism indeed served multiple social functions, but one of them was to marginalize Catho­lics. Maria Monk’s “disclosures” may have testified to uncertainty about changing gender roles, but the success of her work also disclosed genuine hostility to Ca­tholi­cism. And scholars who emphasize post-­Revolutionary cooperation concede that it was brief and anomalous. Anti-­Catholicism returned, arguably in a more virulent form, as Irish and German immigrants poured ashore. Prot­es­tants might have been embarrassed by convent or church burnings, but that did not mean that they liked Catho­lics. The ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, “promissory notes of religious pluralism,” might have circulated through the public, but the historiographical consensus is that these notes remained unredeemed for decades.14 As a result, the story of cooperation still needs a hearing. In part the dominant assumptions stem from limits in the sort of Catho­ lics historians have studied. Few have focused on the South, mainly because the immigrants who swelled the ranks of the church settled primarily in the urban North.15 But for much of the ante­bel­lum era, northern dominance of the Ameri­can Catho­lic Church lay in the future. By some estimates, even in 1840, a majority of the nation’s Catho­lics lived in the South.16 Before the Civil War, the church was, ecclesiastically if not in sheer numbers, as south­ern as it was northern. In 1789, Baltimore became the first episcopal see in the nation, and in 1808, it also became the nation’s first archdiocese with the creation of four new dioceses, in­clud­ing Bards­ town, Kentucky. As late as 1840, south­ern dioceses outnumbered northern nine to seven, and in 1860, the North outnumbered the South only by seven dioceses (twenty-­two to fifteen).17 South­ern Ca­tholi­cism is significant in the history of Ameri­can Ca­ tholi­cism in more than just an ecclesiastical sense. Some of the earliest Catho­lic institutions in the country took root in south­ern soil. The first Catho­lic colleges appeared in Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and Alabama.18 The first Catho­lic paper was the United States Catho­lic Miscellany in 1822 in Charleston. Several early religious orders in the country, in­clud­ ing the Sulpicians, Ursulines, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, and Sisters of Loretto, either originated in the South or came there from Europe. The South produced notable nineteenth-­century Catho­lic leaders, in­clud­ ing the Carrolls, the Spaldings, and the Fenwicks. It became home to important foreign-­born clerics, most notably John England and Benedict Joseph Flaget. Introduction 5 The South never experienced the deluge of Catho­lic immigration that threatened to overwhelm northern cities such as Boston and Philadelphia. It was easier for south­ern Catho­lics to assimilate because there were fewer of them. But demographics alone are an insufficient explanation for Prot­es­tant openness. Small Catho­lic populations did not necessarily ensure Prot­es­tant acceptance, as the anti-­Catho­lic sentiment of the colonial period demonstrates. Moreover, Catho­lic communities in many south­ern cities, although smaller than in the North, were still sizeable. Most large south­ern cities were home to thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands, of Catho­lics. During the ante­bel­lum period, immigrants, in­clud­ing many Catho­lics, helped shape urban life in the South. Irish immigrants formed a large part of urban workforces. In 1860, they accounted for roughly 30 percent of the free workingmen in Charleston and Mobile. That same year, over one-­third of Louisville’s population was foreign-­born, with a large Catho­lic contingent.19 South­ern Prot­es­tants did not fear being overrun by Catho­lics, but neither could they ignore them. Nor did they wish to. The relatively low numbers of Catho­lic immigrants may help explain Prot­es­ tant tolerance, but they do not explain why so many Prot­es­tants decided to help build Catho­lic institutions. Just as studies of Ameri­can Ca­tholi­cism slight south­ern Catho­lics, so too do studies of south­ern religion. In his introduction to Religion in the South­ern States: A His­tori­cal Study, Samuel Hill identified white Prot­es­tant hegemony as the source of south­ern cultural identity, and the book’s following essays fell prey to the same assumption, paying little attention to exceptions to Prot­es­tant dominance.20 Randall Miller’s essay in Varieties of South­ern Religious Experience spent more time on Catho­lics but concluded that they legitimated an evangelical culture to which they could never fully belong. As a result, they “perhaps deservedly, passed into his­tori­cal obscurity.”21 In these and other works on south­ern religious history, the modest number of Catho­lics in the South is taken to signify modest influence.22 But Catho­lics clustered in the urban economic, cultural, and po­liti­cal centers, and in those places, they made a difference, working alongside Prot­ es­tants to build south­ern society. Charleston, Louisville, and Mobile To the extent that historians have considered south­ern Ca­tholi­cism, they have focused on Baltimore and New Orleans. Those cities were the sites of the oldest major Catho­lic communities in the United States and also contained the largest Catho­lic populations in the South. For these reasons, however, they are anomalous. Smaller cities such as Louisville, Kentucky; Charleston, South Carolina; and Mobile, Alabama, in contrast, hosted 6 Introduction Catho­lic communities that were sizeable yet not large enough to separate from the Prot­es­tant majority. Catho­lic populations in those cities were too large to escape the notice of Prot­es­tants but too small to build networks of institutions without Prot­es­tant support. In this way, they represent the Catho­lic experience in the South better than Baltimore or New Orleans do. Each city, moreover, was the see of an early diocese (dating from 1808, 1820, and 1829), which together encompassed the majority of the territory that would become the Confederacy. Considering not merely cities but dioceses incorporates evidence from neighboring smaller cities and the south­ern hinterland and thus addresses the question of whether or not there was an urban-­rural divide in the experiences of south­ern Catho­lics. Finally, these three cities represent south­ern diversity. In important ways, they and their patterns of Catho­lic settlement varied. The fact that similar forms of interfaith cooperation existed in such different contexts suggests that local conditions alone are insufficient explanations—the real causes of Prot­es­tant support for Catho­lics lie in the nature of south­ern culture and society. In Kentucky, Catho­lics arrived with the first Prot­es­tant settlers, and the two communities grew side by side. Catho­lics settled in Kentucky’s handful of towns and in tiny communities through­out the central and northern parts of the territory (see map 1). The first center of Kentucky Ca­tholi­ cism was Bards­town, named the see when the area became a diocese in 1808. The diocese originally included the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio, and the territories of Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. Over time, the church carved new dioceses out of this area.23 By 1841, when the see transferred from Bardstown to Louisville, only Kentucky remained. The diocese’s jurisdiction contracted further with the creation of the Diocese of Coving­ton (1853). Like most early Kentuckians, Catho­lic settlers made their livings from farming and hunting. They settled along creeks and rivers or near salt licks, of­ten in groups so that they could build a church or at least attract an itinerant priest. By the 1820s, however, Louisville began emerging as the state’s economic and cultural center, and it soon became the center of Kentucky Ca­tholi­cism as well. Situated along the Ohio River, where a series of falls blocked navigation and made portage necessary until the opening of a canal and locks in 1830, the city was ideally positioned to benefit from the nation’s westward expansion. The city’s location also ensured that commerce and manufacturing would drive its growth and that merchants and industrialists, rather than aristocratic planters, would guide it. In the mid-­ ante­bel­lum period, Louisville was a boomtown, its population more than 1. Locations of early Catho­lic churches in Kentucky.

Author Dr. Andrew Henry Stern Ph.D. Isbn 9780817317744 File size 2.4MB Year 2012 Pages 280 Language English File format PDF Category Religion Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare Southern Crucifix, Southern Cross examines the complex and often overlooked relationships between Catholics and Protestants in the antebellum South. In sharp contrast to many long-standing presumptions about mistrust or animosity between these two groups, this study proposes that Catholic and Protestant interactions in the South were characterized more by cooperation than by conflict. Andrew H. M. Stern argues that Catholics worked to integrate themselves into southern society without compromising their religious beliefs and that many Protestants accepted and supported them. Catholic leaders demonstrated the compatibility of Catholicism with American ideals and institutions, and Protestants recognized Catholics as useful citizens, true Americans, and loyal southerners, in particular citing their support for slavery and their hatred of abolitionism. Mutual assistance between the two groups proved most clear in shared public spaces, with Catholics and Protestants participating in each other’s institutions and funding each other’s enterprises. Catholics and Protestants worshipped in each other’s churches, studied in each other’s schools, and recovered or died in each other’s hospitals. In many histories of southern religion, typically thought of as Protestant, Catholicism tends to be absent. Likewise, in studies of American Catholicism, Catholic relationships with Protestants, including southern Protestants, are rarely discussed. Southern Crucifix, Southern Cross is the first book to demonstrate in detail the ways in which many Protestants actively fostered the growth of American Catholicism. Stern complicates the dominant historical view of interreligious animosity and offers an unexpected model of religious pluralism that helped to shape southern culture as we know it today.     Download (2.4MB) Catholicism Today: An Introduction To The Contemporary Catholic Church The Democracy Of God: An American Catholicism Catholicism in Modern Italy: Religion, Society and Politics since 1861 Frontiers of Faith: Bringing Catholicism to the West in the Early Republic Religious Diversity In Post-soviet Society: Ethnographies Of Catholic Hegemony And The New Pluralism In Lithuania Load more posts

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