Priest, Patriot and Leader: The Story of Archbishop Carroll
Though independence had been won from England in 1783, and with it greater religious freedom, Catholics in the new United States of America still faced prejudice and fear engendered by decades of anti-Catholicism. Rome needed to find the right man to become the first Catholic bishop in the new republic and Fr. John Carroll was just the one. According to Benjamin Franklin, “Father Carroll is a brilliant man of tact and courtesy; a vigorous man of great physical endurance, he also has unlimited patience.” Bishop Carroll definitely had need of all his gifts. First, while accomplishing the delicate task of building a respectful understanding between the Church he represented and the leadership of the new nation, he began a much-needed seminary to train American priests, also starting schools for educating the people. He patiently instructed hot-headed parishes accustomed to self-governance, and he sought priests for Native Americans. By 1810, Carroll had erected four separate dioceses—New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Bardstown, Kentucky (out of the original all-encompassing Baltimore Diocese)—to care for a growing Church as the young nation itself grew. This book provides a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the decisions faced by a wise and unshakable man chosen by God to help the Catholic Church in America flourish.