Is Anti-Catholicism Dead? Print
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 22 June 2008 15:37
Hey, New Yorkers and New Yorkers in spirit!

Interesting event coming up in July at the Museum of the City of New York.

A discussion on the topic: Is Anti-Catholicism Dead?

Paul Baumann, editor of Commonweal, will moderate a discussion about the history of anti-Catholicism and its resonance today. From the virulent nativist movements of the 19th century to contemporary examples of anti-Catholic rhetoric, a distinguished panel will discuss how the Catholic community has confronted discrimination and whether criticism of Catholicism can exist without fueling prejudice. Mr. Baumann will be joined by George Marlin, author, activist, and former Executive Director and CEO of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; James McCartin, Professor of History, Seton Hall University; and Reverend Richard John Neuhaus, founder and editor of First Things.

Presented in with this fascinating exhibit: Catholics in New York, 1808-1946.

As the promotional video puts it: Their story is the story of every New Yorker.


The exhibition is organized around three central themes:

How Catholic community life revolved around New York's parishes, starting with the earliest, such as St. Peter's, old St. Patrick's, and St. Brigid's in Manhattan, and the distinctive subculture that arose in their heavily Catholic neighborhoods;

The creation of a vast system of health, education, and social welfare institutions, including parochial schools, the New York Foundling Hospital, and healthcare centers such as St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan and St. Mary’s Hospital in Brooklyn, originally founded by Catholics to provide services that embraced their religion and that would be insulated from anti-Catholic prejudice; and

The rise of Catholics as a force in New York politics, framed by such New York figures as William R. Grace (1832-1904), the Irish-born businessman who in 1880 was elected the first Catholic mayor of New York City; Alfred E. Smith (1873-1944), the governor from the Lower East Side who became the first Catholic to be nominated by a major political party for President of the United States, in 1928; Vito Marcantonio (1902-1954), the Congressman and American Labor Party leader from East Harlem; and many others.

And check out this interactive map of the 310 parish grade schools that criss-crossed New York in 1945.

Fascinating - even if you are not now and never have been a New Yorker.

What do you think? Is anti-Catholicism dead? If your answer is "yes", why do you think so? If your answer is "no", why not?