12 Facts About American Catholics


Tensions between Protestants and American Catholics continued in the 20th century, especially when a Catholic was running for president as in 1928 and 1960.

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American Catholics gather as local communities called parishes, headed by a priest, and typically meet at a permanent church building for liturgies every Sunday, weekdays and on holy days.

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Some American Catholics, both lay and clergy, live in a form of consecrated life, rather than in marriage.

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The American Catholics nevertheless built their elementary schools, parish by parish, using very low-paid sisters as teachers.

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The American Catholics Solidarity Party is a minor third party with ideas based on Catholic social teaching.

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In 1785, the estimated number of American Catholics was at 25,000; 15,800 in Maryland, 7,000 in Pennsylvania and 1,500 in New York.

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European American Catholics played major military roles, especially Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, Charles Hector, comte d'Estaing, Casimir Pulaski and Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

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In 1787 two American Catholics, Daniel Carroll of the Irish O'Carrolls and Irish born Thomas Fitzsimons, helped draft the new United States Constitution.

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American Catholics formulated the first plans for Georgetown University and became the first American bishop in 1789.

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The Vatican suspected there was too much liberalism in the American Catholics Church, and the result was a turn to conservative theology as the Irish bishops increasingly demonstrated their total loyalty to the Pope, and traces of liberal thought in the Catholic colleges were suppressed.

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American Catholics published hundreds of books and articles, both technical and popular.

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In 2011, an estimated 26 million American Catholics were "fallen-away", that is, not practicing their faith.

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