A short history of Catholicism (and anti-Catholicism) in the United States

Catholics, generally viewed as completely loyal to the pope—a religious ruler living on another continent of the “Old World”—were labeled as disloyal. How was it possible, many asked, for one to be loyal to the basic precepts of American life—namely democracy, republicanism, and a sense of openness and freedom—while simultaneously holding allegiance to a religious institution that never ascribed to these basic principles?  Throughout the 19th century, Americans believed that Catholics could not negotiate this balance—being loyal to both Rome and Washington—and, therefore, could not be both a good American and a faithful Catholic.

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