Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

. . . That the trustees of every church, congregation or society, herein above mentioned, and their successors . . . are hereby authorised and empowered to take into their possession and custody all the temporalities belonging to such church, congregation or society, whether the same consist of real or personal estate, and whether the same shall have been given, granted or devised directly to such church congregation or society, or to any other person for their use; . . . and such trustees shall also have power to make rules and orders for managing the temporal affairs of such church, congregation or society, and to dispose of all monies belonging thereto, and to regulate and order the renting the pews in their churches and meeting-houses, and the perquisites for the breaking of the ground in the cemetery or churchyards . . . and all other matters relating to the temporal concerns and revenues of such church. . . .

Source: Laws of the State of New York [ 1812- 1813] ( Albany, 1813), II, 214-215.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

P. J. Dignan, History of the Legal Incorporation of Catholic Church Property in the United States ( 1784- 1932) ( New York, 1935).

A. P. Stokes, Church and State in the United States ( New York, 1950), III, 405-413.


50
Non Sine Magno August 24, 1822

In Philadelphia the trusteeship issue in Roman Catholicism erupted with bitter violence in the 1820s. Controversy centered around the Rev. William Hogan, pastor of St. Mary's Cathedral, who was elected by lay trustees but removed by the bishop. In June 1821 the Philadelphia trustees addressed an appeal to American Catholics on "the Reform of Sundry Abuses in the Administration of our Church Discipline" in which they demanded "the exclusive right which always belonged to the Church, of electing our own Pastors and Bishops, and when a Bishop shall be so elected by the Trustees and congregations of each State, he shall be ordained in this country and receive the Bull, or approbation from Rome as a matter of course" ( Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia [ 1914], XXV, 169-170). In the following year Pius VII addressed this brief to Archbishop Ambrose Maréchal of Baltimore and his suffragan bishops.

It was not without great grief we understood that the Church of Philadelphia has been for a long time so distracted by incessant discord and dissensions that schisms have arisen, perverse doctrines have been diffused, and that the affairs of the whole church itself are thrown into the greatest confusion. These disorders have originated principally from two causes, namely, from the senseless arrogance and nefarious

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