“Dagger John” was no pacifist Catholic bishop. A lesson for our time?


Archbishop John Hughes of New York, universally known to friend and foe as Dagger John, was  a very tough and fearless man.  After the anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia in 1844 he called on the mayor of New York, an anti-Catholic bigot, and informed him that if a single Catholic church was touched in New York, New York would be a second Moscow.  (The reference was to the burning of Moscow in 1812 during Napoleon’s occupation of the city.) Not a Catholic church was touched.  On another occasion when a threat was made to burn Saint Patrick’s cathedral the Archbishop had it guarded within hours by 4,000 armed Catholics.  He earned his nickname!

Among his many accomplishments was his success in leading the New York Irish out of poverty.  It is a fascinating story and relevant to our time.  In 1997 in City Journal, William J. Stern wrote an article on how Dagger John did it…



  1. Doug,
    Thanks for posting!
    I sent the Link to my American NorthEast IRISH husband. He will enjoy it! Their Heritage, is so Powerful to them, in the realm of Catholicism!

  2. Now, there’s a prime example of the Church Militant on holy steroids! After all, once struck, we Catholics have only one other cheek to turn.

    • What about TODAY? We are being “Taken Down” by the Health Manfate, a Financial Terror, that is going to hurt the Catholic Church in America, BIG TIME! Who is the enemy, in which , we turn our cheek?

      • Look at that spelling mistake “Manfate”
        The same difference! Ha

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