Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

Source: Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia ( 1914), XXV, 325-329. Latin text in D. C. Shearer (ed.), Pontificia Americana. A Documentary History of the Catholic Church in the United States ( 1784- 1844) ( Washington, D.C., 1933), pp. 128- 131.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

P. W. Carey, People, Priests, and Prelates: Ecclesiastical Democracy and the Tensions of Trusteeism ( Notre Dame, 1987).

P. K. Guilday, The Life and Times of John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, 1735-1815 ( New York, 1922), pp. 649 ff.

R. F. McNamara, "Trusteeism in the Atlantic States, 1785-1863", Catholic Historical Review, Vol. XXX, No. 2 ( July 1944), pp. 135-154.

References for Document 49.


51
New York Incorporation Act March 25, 1863

Problems of lay trusteeship subsided under episcopal censure, but legal adjustment to Roman Catholic ecclesiastical practice came more slowly. Bishop John Hughes of New York labored for a more favorable law in the 1850s, but the political climate, influenced by Know-Nothingism, was unsympathetic. In 1855 the state legislature even made clerical holding of church property illegal (though this was never enforced and was repealed in 1863). Finally, in 1863 a measure much more satisfactory to Catholics became law as an "act supplementary" to the 1813 statute.

1. It shall be lawful for any Roman Catholic church or congregation now or hereafter existing in this state, to be incorporated according to the provisions of this act; the Roman Catholic archbishop or bishop of the diocese in which such church may be erected or intended so to be, the vicar general of such diocese, and the pastor of such church for the time being, respectively, or a majority of them, may select and appoint two laymen, members of said church, and may, together with such laymen, sign a certificate in duplicate, showing the name or title by which they and their successors shall be known and distinguished as a body corporate by virtue of this act, which certificates shall be duly acknowledged or proved, in the same manner as conveyances of real estate; and one of such certificates shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state, and the other in the office of the clerk of the county in which such church may be erected or intended so to be; and thereupon such church or congregation shall be a body corporate, by the name or title expressed in such certificate, and the said persons so signing the same shall be the trustees thereof. The successors of any such archbishop, bishop, vicar general, or pastor, respectively, for the time being, shall, by virtue of his office, be the trustee of such

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