The texts listed below deal with the relationship between the Catholic and Protestant faith with special focus on the United States. During the 19th century, Catholic immigrants faced resistance from Protestants regarding their faith and practices. To counteract these accusations, numerous Catholic writers and publishers took to the pen to provide a vigorous defense of the Church and its members. Some of the tracts listed below are both for and against the growth of the Catholic Church in America. Studying and understanding these texts can provide useful information on the difficulties which Catholics faced in early American society.
Bonaparte, Charles Jerome.The Independence of the Holy See : a paper read at the First American Catholic Congress at Baltimore, November 11th, l889 and The Catholic Church and American Institutions. An Address Delivered at the Centenary Festival of the Catholic Societies of the Archdiocese of Baltimore At Bay Ridge, July 11th, 1889. Baltimore, 1889.
Origins: These pamphlets are of unknown origin.
Material: This entry is a collection of two pamphlets, one a paper written for the First American Catholic Congress entitled The Independence of the Holy See and the other is The Catholic Church and American Institutions given at a Fourth of July celebration at Bay Ridge, Maryland. Both documents touch on themes important to the American Catholic Church in the late 19th century.
Charles Bonaparte wrote The Independence of the Holy See in light of drastic changes to the Church in Europe. In 1871, the Papal States were seized by the recently formed Kingdom of Italy and the Pope’s territory was reduced to Vatican City. The status of the Pope’s independence had remained questionable when Bonaparte wrote his paper (the issue would not be settled until the 1920’s). Bonaparte stressed the importance of what an independent Catholic Church had accomplished in European society, relying upon examples such as the Church vs. State dispute between Pope Gregory the VII and Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV which resulted in a separation of clergy from the control of European monarchs.
The second document, The Catholic Church and American Institutions focused on the relationship between Catholicism and the American democratic system. Bonaparte argued that Catholicism and democracy were not at odds but rather complemented each other. His argument validated the beliefs of American Catholics that they could be active American citizens and loyal Catholic followers despite claims to the contrary made by Protestants and secular groups at the time.
Both documents would be useful to American Catholic historians as ways of understanding how American Catholic writers and American Catholics in general saw their place in the changing American society.
Weaknesses: Both documents are written from a pro-Catholic perspective. The author may have omitted facts and examples which would have shown the Church in a negative light.
Call Number: BX 1810 .B698 1889
Gallitzin, Demetrius. A defence of Catholic Principles : in a letter to a Protestant minister in America. Richard Grace: Dublin, 1823.
Origins: This book is of an unknown origin. Though there is writing on the inside cover, it is illegible and the book itself is extremely fragile.
Material: This book is the defense of the Catholic teaching within the United States during the early 19th century. Demetrius Gallitzin, a Russian aristocrat turned Catholic priest, wrote this short book specifically to demystify Catholic principles and beliefs after a Protestant minister gave a speech warning that Catholics would bring a dangerous Papist rebellion against the United States of America. Gallitzin breaks down Catholic practices into different categories as a method of debunking prejudices against Catholicism. This book is useful to any Catholic or religious historian studying the Catholic-Protestants relations in the early 19th century.
Weaknesses: This book is fragile and must be handled with care.
For more reading on Gallitzin, please refer to Cambria County Catholicity: The Patrimony of Prince Gallitzin at call number: BX 1415 .P4 C35 1999.
Gother, John.The papist misrepresented and truly represented : or, a two-fold character of popery: The first containing a sum of the superstitions, idolatries, cruelties, treacheries, and wicked principles laid to their charge: The other laying open that religion which those termed Papists own and profess: The chief articles of their faith, and the principal grounds and reasons which attach them to it. Edward Dunigan and Brother; New York, 1800. Two Copies.
Origins: copy one of The Papist Misrepresented came to the Mount from Mount Carmel Library in Mechanicstown Maryland which is known today as Thurmont. Copy two came from unknown origin but does include E. Allen written into the cover page, implying that he or she donated the book to the Mount library. Copy two is older than copy 1 due to the type of advertisements in the back of the book.
Material: John Gother wrote The Papist Misrepresented as a method to lay out prejudices against the Catholic Faith and to establish a concrete understanding of Catholic doctrine for a general audience. Gother takes subjects such as the Catholic view of the Eucharist as the actual body of Christ rather than simply worshipping a piece of bread. He presented the negative view of Catholicism and then answered the negative view with Catholic doctrine. With this method, Gother attempted to clarify Catholic doctrine while also addressing the negative views the Protestants charged them with.
Gother wrote his account during the 19th century, a period when Catholics faced prosecution in both the United States and Europe. In the United States Protestants did what they could to prevent Catholics from entering their nation and discriminated against Irish and Italian Catholics when they did arrive in the United States. The negative claims made against Catholics are the historical arguments of why Catholics would be dangerous in a democracy such as the United States. Any historian studying Catholic-Protestant relations could find it useful.
Weaknesses: Both books are old and fragile and should be handled with care. Gother has a pro-Catholic bias and is not as critical of Catholicism as some of the individuals he is answering. It is important to keep that in mind.
Kohlmann, Anthony.Unitarianism philosophically and theologically examined : in a series of periodical numbers; comprising a complete refutation of the leading principles of the Unitarian system. Henry Guegan: Washington City, 1821.
Origins: The book was previously owned by a Mr. James Gale and has been in the Mount Saint Mary’s College Library’s since at least October 2nd, 1964.
Material: Anthony Kohlmann, a priest, wrote this book as a way to challenge the practice of Unitarianism in the United States. Kohlmann began his argument by laying out the beliefs of Unitarians which he derived from an article by a J. Webster, a practicing Unitarian. After establishing Unitarian belief, he began each chapter with a question and description in which a Unitarian would claim a weakness of Christianity. Kohlmann then dissected the question and answered with philosophical and religious reasoning.
Kohlmann wrote his case against Unitarianism during a period in American history known as the Second Great Awakening. During the Awakening religions such as Unitarianism, a religious belief founded upon the philosophical beliefs of the Enlightenment, were displaced by Protestant religions which returned belief back to the Bible rather than reasoning. Kohlmann’s book provides a Catholic refutation of Unitarianism in the middle of the Second Great Awakening and is a uniquely Catholic perspective on a fundamental shift in American cultural history.
Weaknesses: Kohlmann, as a Catholic priest, has a clear bias against Unitarianism and does not provide a balanced view of the two religions. Moreover, Kohlmann used an article to spell out the viewpoint of Unitarianism and does not seem to use many other Unitarian writings to provide the counter argument. A weak defense does not necessarily prove the superiority of Catholic teaching and practice.
Call Number: BX 9847 .K7 1822
Milner, John.Vindication of the end of Religious Controversy. Eugene Cummisky; Philadelphia, 1825.
Origins: It is unclear when the book came into the Mount’s possession. The only writing in book that is legible is a Mt. Saint Mary’s Library stamp.
Material: John Milner wrote this book through a series of letters in defense of Catholicism against the claims that it was a heathen religion. Milner was a Catholic bishop who defended the Catholic Church and it’s teaching in England in the aftermath of the French Revolution. A reader interested in understanding Vindication should also examine The End of Religious Controversy also by John Milner.
Weakness: This book is fragile and must be handled with care. Trying to read this book without consulting The End of Religious Controversy is not recommended.
 F.C. Husenbeth, Life of the Right Rev. John Milner D.D., James Duffy, Wellington; London, 1862) vi.
O’Leary, Arthur. Miscellaneous Tracts. Samuel Walkers: New York,1821.
Pierce, William. A review of the Lady Superior's reply to "Six months in a convent" : being a vindication of Miss Reed. William Pierce and Webster & Southard; Boston, 1835.
Reed, Rebecca Theresa. Six months in a convent, or, The narrative of Rebecca Theresa Reed, who was under the influence of the Roman Catholics about two years, and an inmate of the Ursuline Convent on Mount Benedict, Charlestown, Mass., nearly six months, in the years 1831-2. Russell, Odiorne & Metcalf; Boston, 1835.