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    Americanism and Catholic Church

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    What is Catholicism? Catholicism is the largest Christian church. When Catholicism first started spreading the Americans didn’t like it. The idea of the unknown scared them as they believed Catholic immigrants as an ideological and a racial threat. Their different point of view made it difficult for Americans to trust them as they were from another country. Understanding how they see things at different levels can cause many wonders and questions. What religion does, it makes others question what they believe, think, want, and if they should do it. The Roman Catholic church and the Americans didn’t agree on many terms because American culture was deeply individualistic and anti-authoritarian. While the Catholic church was more about emphasizing hierarchy and the authority of the church. The dispute between Catholics and Americans lies in the loyalty of the church as the church tries to transcend seemingly contradictory Americanism and Catholic traditions.

    When potato famine was minimized in the mid-1840s, Catholic immigration increased substantially. Catholic immigrants then began to spread throughout the United States from different countries, both urban and rural, that emphasized different parts of the Catholic heritage. In the article, “Roman Catholics and immigration in Nineteenth-century America” states, “The Catholic citizens of Italy, Poland, parts of Germany, and the Eastern European kingdoms of what are now Slovakia and the Czech Republic… The country had a growing world reputation for democratic ideals and work opportunity.. for French Canadian Catholics to the north of the United States and Mexican Catholics to the south, the chance for a new life free of poverty and oppression was too good to pass up.” In the time of diversity, spreading in the USA, the people were hopeful for a better life and that God was with them as the church helped them settle in. As well as the population grew, Americans saw this as an opportunity to help grow their countries’ economies. Until then, they began to question whether Catholics could be loyal to their new country and the pope.

    The idea of America is based on the Statue of Liberty motto, ‘Give Me Your Tired, You’re Poor.’ This event demonstrates that America is about the freedom they can give which immigrants try to take advantage of it to have a better future for themselves and their families. But during their increase in migration American people started to question why so many are migrating and if they are good for their country. Many later believed that this event posed a threat to their constitution and traditions. Under ‘Religion and Politics” states, “Administration supporters say the coalition is using religion to mask a purely partisan agenda… say the religious right threatens the American tradition of separation of church and state. Religious conservatives say they will remain politically active, and some observers believe their political influence will continue to grow.’ This quote illustrates how the American people didn’t want religion to mix up with the government as in a way the country was based on no religion they wanted to keep it like that. Another reason why many Americans were threatened by catholic immigrants was that they were afraid religion would change so many things as well as become powerful and they didn’t want that for their country. Another example is, “Probably the reason, Carter wrote, was that the causes in which the word of God was enlisted were causes that were more popular, particularly among opinion-makers who have ever since been dumped on Republicans for daring to mix church and state”(Jost, ‘Religion And Politics.’). The idea of mixing these two when Catholics first started making a stand was that they didn’t like the idea of politicians mixing their views on God with the government because if they do they can be severely affected by their voters. This then conflicted with American politicians/politics and their social life.

    The division between these two is based on the people’s idea of how their country’s government should run. The idea of having politicians based on God’s ideas frightens them.This incident mainly caused many people to feel threatened by religion. According to “Journal Of Church And State” it states, “Catholic religious doctrine and its attendant social teachings, known as the “magisterium,” are both profound and pervasive, and they are meant to influence candidates’ platforms, citizens’ choices, and policy decisions”. This sentence shows that people believe that people can believe that religion can reach sensitive objects, so their freedom can be taken away, thus confirming people’s fear. Which many agree that they are personal and a person’s choice or decision. For example, “As a result of Roe v. Wade, the entire Catholic church-state narrative changed in the United States… Catholic candidates.. how to reconcile the U.S. legal realities with their own religious beliefs. To guide them, the Catholic bishops developed.. documents that challenged… Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.. have been built on a moral framework that emphasizes respect for the dignity of every person and respect for life from the moment of conception until natural death” (Formicola, ‘Recent Doctoral Dissertations In Church And State’). The quote illustrates clearly how in the 19th century the church disagreed with many political aspects of the government and how they wanted to challenge them because in their laws it goes against it. The Catholic Church, over time, has become influential in many ways, mostly in the government and that is what many didn’t want because not many agree with the church laws or beliefs. This event later can become a conflict as they from both sides there can be a protest of what many won’t, and the people know the Catholic has many connections.

    Finally, the Catholic church and the American dispute can make many great changes in the country and mostly the government and political decision and people don’t like the idea of that. The country is supposed to be based on their freedom and no religious attachment. So, the idea that their government can have believers of the church makes it more of a challenge to the people and candidates.

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    Americanism and Catholic Church. (2021, Aug 23). Retrieved from

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