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Rare Books Collection: Protestant-Catholic Relations

Mount Saint Mary's University rare books catalog

Protestant-Catholic Relations

Liguori, Alfonso Maria de. Stations of the Cross. Twenty Eighth Edition. John Murphy Co: Baltimore;1882.


Origins: This book is of unknown origin.

Material: This short book is a reprint of a previous edition that details the Stations of the Cross and how the stations are supposed to be prayed. The Stations of the Cross is a Catholic service in which participants pray and remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This particular edition is from Baltimore in 1882, likely used by Catholic practitioners in Baltimore. This book can useful to Catholic historians trying to understand how Catholicism was practiced in the late 19th century.

Weaknesses: This book is extremely fragile and must be handled with care.

Call Number: BX 2040 .L727 1882




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.[1] 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.

[1] F.C. Husenbeth, Life of the Right Rev. John Milner D.D., James Duffy, Wellington; London, 1862) vi. 

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.


Origin: This pamphlet is unknown in origin. It is contained in a Manila envelope titled “A review of the Lady Superior’s Reply” and labeled by the Library of Congress for the Theology section of the library.

Material: This account is a review of the Lady Superior’s response to Rebecca Reed’s Six Months in a Convent and compares the two accounts to study the consistency of each argument. The author in the end, sides with Rebecca Reed’s account and dismisses the Mother Superior’s argument.

Weakness: It would be a mistake to take this work at face value. The author concludes in the last several pages that Catholicism is ignorance and Americans (Protestants at least) must be on guard from the threat of Catholics. Despite the author claiming to remain unbiased during his investigation, he clearly is biased against Catholicism.  To get the full story, it is recommended examining Rebecca Reed’s 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 and An Answer to Six Months in a Convent, Exposing its Falsehoods and Manifold Absurdities by Mary Anne Ursula Moffatt. Reed’s account can be found in the Phillips Library Rare Book Collection and Moffatt’s (Mother Superior) account can be found online. 

The Way of the Cross : or, The fourteen stations of the Cross as practised in the Cathedral of Baltimore.Kelly and Piet; Baltimore, 1867.



Origins: This book is of unknown origin.


Material:  This short pamphlet is about the utilization of the Stations of the Cross. In addition to the prayers regarding the stations, this pamphlet also contains Catholic prayers such as the Act of Contrition which would be prayed outside of the Stations. The introduction mentions that the Stations were practiced every Friday during Lent at the Cathedral in Baltimore. American Catholic historians would find this document helpful in understanding how Maryland Catholics worshiped in the mid-19th century.



Weaknesses: This document is old and must be handled with care.


Call Number: BX2040 .B197 1867

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.


Origin: It is not clear how the book came into the Mount’s ownership. There is a scribbled signature on the front page but it is illegible.

Material: Six Months in a Convent is about a Protestant named Rebecca Reed who converted to Catholicism and joined the Ursuline Convent in Massachusetts. She remained within the convent for six months until she escaped from the confines of the establishment. The introduction takes up half the book and presents an anti-Catholic stance. So while Rebecca Reed’s account should be taken with a grain of salt, the attitude by Reed should provide interesting insight into early American religious history.

Weaknesses: As previously stated, the author has an anti-Catholic bias, suggesting that some of the material that makes the Catholics look bad could be fabricated. A good idea is to read the Catholic response titled, An Answer to Six Months in a Convent, Exposing its Falsehoods and Manifold Absurdities by Mary Anne Ursula Moffatt and compare the two works to get both sides of the story. 

 Second Vatican Council: Constitution on the Church.Washington DC: National Catholic Welfare Conference. November 21, 1964.


Origins: This pamphlet was donated to the library as part of the Germain Grisez collection. Germain Grisez is a well known moral philosopher who taught at Mount Saint Mary’s for several decades before retiring.

Material: The Constitution on the Church relates to the decisions of the Vatican Two Council. In this declaration, Pope Paul VI laid out the principles and doctrine of the Church as well as the role each member of the church is expected to play. The Constitution, like Vatican II, was intended to refocus and renew the Catholic Church in a changing world. In writing this document, Pope Paul VI emphasizes not only the equality in the eyes of God between clergy and lay members of the church but also the expectation that lay Catholic had a role to play in enhancing the Catholic Church through a pious and respectable lifestyle. In short, lay Catholics became responsible for their salvation to a greater degree than previously. This pamphlet would be useful for anyone interested in studying Vatican II Council.

Weaknesses: This document obviously has a Catholic bias meaning any historical facts should understood in light of that bias.

Call Number: BX 830 1962 .A45 C425


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

O’Leary, Arthur. Miscellaneous Tracts. Samuel Walkers: New York,1821.



Origins: This book comes from unknown origins, though it seems to have been rebound by the Phillips Library at some point.

Material: This book contains letters and writings by Father Arthur O’Leary, an Irish Catholic priest living in the late 18th to early 19th century in Ireland. O’Leary was alive during a turbulent time in European history. The political writings of men like Thomas Paine and other Enlightenment thinkers brought forth questions about civil rights, religious freedom and the relevance of religion. O’Leary stepped into this chaotic void and wrote on a variety of subjects from a defense of religious freedom and toleration to the divinity of Christ and the significance of religion. O Leary’s writings present the views and arguments of a Catholic priest in the midst of a volatile era. For most people, this period of history remains focused on the political and economic policies of kings and Jacobians, or supporters of democratic revolutions. O’Leary provides a unique view of an era.

Weaknesses: Given that these documents are written by an 18th century priest, there is naturally a Catholic bias to the writings which should be considered.

Call Number: BX1780.M678  O45 1821

Father James Lyons. Pope John XXIII: On Race and Racial Justice. Paulist Press; New York, 1966.



Origins: This pamphlet was donated to the Philips Library as a part of Germain Grisez collection during February 2016.

Material: The author of this short pamphlet provided a shortened explanation of Pope John XXIII’s writings and sayings during the Second Vatican Council, specifically on the issue of race. The pamphlet was composed during the 1960’s, a period of radical upheaval in Western social culture as previously marginalized ethnicities such as African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans demanded changes in both government policies and entrenched social racism. The handpicked passages were intended to convince Catholics of the necessity to defend racial equality. Any historian studying Vatican II history as well as the Catholic Church and the Civil Rights Movement may find this document useful.

Weaknesses: This pamphlet was written by a Catholic priest and naturally contains a pro-Catholic bias.

Call Number: BX 1378.2 .L8 1966     

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