On this episode of Off the Shelf, Father Charles and I discuss the ear;y days of the Catholic Church in the United States and his book Pioneer Priests and Makeshift Altars: A History of Catholicism in the Thirteen Colonies. Beginning with the struggles of Catholics in England we explore what brought Catholics to the shores of the Thirteen Colonies. How did Catholics end up choosing Maryland as the first place they called home? What caused them to pick up stakes and move north across what would be later known as the Mason Dixon line? We also explore the role of the Conewago Chapel in spreading the faith throughout the fledgling nation.
Listen to Off the Shelf Episode 060 exclusively on Breadbox Media below.
From the publisher Sophia Institute Press
In this comprehensive history, Fr. Charles Connor details the life of Catholics in the American Colonies. It’s a tale that begins with the flight of English Catholics to religious freedom in Maryland in 1634, and continues through the post-Revolutionary period, by which time the constitutions of all but four of the first 13 states contained harsh anti-Catholic provisions.
Catholic readers will be proud to learn from that despite almost two centuries of ever-more-intense religious persecutions and even harsher legal prohibitions, American Catholics in the colonies simply refused to abandon the Catholic Faith.
This is an indispensable reading for souls interested in the deep roots of Catholicism in America, and in the holy courage of scores of Catholics who kept remorseless forces from driving Catholicism out of America. Among other things, you’ll learn:
- The tale of The Ark and The Dove that carried the first settlers to Maryland
- The surprisingly harsh anti-Catholic sentiments of most of the Founding Fathers
- The Quaker/Catholic alliance that promoted both religions
- The role of persecuted Catholics in the Revolutionary War
- Why, in that War, many Catholics favored the anti-Catholic British
- The French Jesuits who evangelized New York and its frontier areas, and the saints who were martyred there
- The years in which, throughout the colonies, Catholics became an endangered species
Fr. Charles P. Connor, S.T.L., Ph.D., is a professor of systemic theology and Church history at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He has co-produced dozens of series for EWTN and is actively engaged in preaching retreats for priests and laity throughout the United States. A priest of the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, he served in diocesan parishes for eighteen years, including as rector of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton. Fr. Connor holds a number of degrees from the likes of the University of Scranton, Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, Fordham University in New York City, the Gregorian University in Rome, the Angelicum University in Rome, the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C. You may also recognize him as the host of a number of television series on EWTN.