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Catholicism in the 19th Century

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.


In the 19th Century, we see develop a new, direct relationship between individual Catholics and the Papacy. The Roman Catholic Church now sought freedom from the power of the State. It realized that state privileges came with strings attached that tied its hands. Christian Democracy was now in vogue, and the Church of Rome would align itself with democracy by the end of the century, after decades of opposition.

New forms of mass devotion appeared that were associated with the Sacred Heart, the Virgin Mary, and the Eucharist. Late medieval ideas regained prominence and the 19th Century was a time of Catholic visions, visitations, and the ecstasies of mystics. The Madonna made appearances twice in Paris (1830 & 1836), in Savoy (1846), and from 1858 at Lourdes.

The most celebrated religious figures of the age were both sensational: Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney and Bernadette. St Theresa of Lisieux (1873-1897) wrote the marvelous best-selling autobiography The Story of a Soul.



Catholicism in the 19th Century

Pope Gregory XVI (1765-1846) was not the man to usher in any sort of progress for the Church of Rome. He was a crudely superstitious, old-fashioned, embittered monk. That people had rights was a foreign concept to him.

Gregory flatly refused to support or even to sympathize with the Catholics of Poland when they rose up against their oppressors of Orthodox Russia and demanded national and religious freedom.

The Potato Famine hit Ireland in 1845. One million Irish people died and twice as many immigrated to America. This greatly enlarged the number of Catholics in the United States. In Boston and New York, the Irish came to dominate whole sections of the cities.

The Catholic presence in America also expanded in the South. New dioceses were established in Charleston in 1820, Mobile in 1829, Little Rock in 1843, and Galveston in 1847. A multitude of Convents sprang up in America as well.

Catholic missionaries had achieved their greatest and longest-lasting success in South America. Even after all its countries won their independence within a 15 year span, the entire continent remained loyal to the Catholic Faith.

Catholic missionaries ventured into Japan in 1859, for the first time since being banned by the Japanese 200 years earlier. They were amazed to find more than 200,000 Japanese Christians worshiping in underground churches.







The Aftermath of the French Revolution

Vicomte Rene de Chateaubriand published an extraordinary book in 1802, entitled The Genius of Christianity. Chateaubriand is considered the father of Romanticism. He was a statesman, novelist, historian, and political scientist. The Genius of Christianity was an apologia for Catholicism against the godless ideas of the French Revolution.

The Catholic Church had been shaken to its core by the French Revolution. In the book by Chateaubriand, we see every topic touched by religious sentiments: the arts, history, government, society, nature, daily life, and the inner self. Chateaubriand covers the Deluge, the earth, living creatures, astronomy, patriotism, the conscience, immortality, saints, angels, demons, Judgment Day, Purgatory, Hell, and Heaven.

The Papacy appeared to be in trouble before it was resuscitated by Napoleon. The French Revolution had not diminished the strength of Catholicism among the masses, which led Napoleon to reinstitute the French Church. But a rift developed that resulted in Napoleon annexing the Papal States. For this, Pope Pius VII excommunicated him; so Napoleon arrested the Pope.

After Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and sent into exile for good, the Pope was freed and the Papal States restored. In 1861, the fledging Kingdom of Italy took the Papal States away from the Catholic Church. Italy freed the Jews from the ghettos where they had been consigned by various Popes.

The Jesuits were reborn in 1814, but they were to be expelled again from Germany in 1872 and from France in 1880.

The French Revolution destroyed Christianity as a total society. The Catholic Church was reborn as a huge and vocal conservative movement against the pernicious effects of modernity; against reason and so-called progress; fighting with the weapons of romance and tradition. Catholicism made the fewest concessions to egalitarianism, and made a powerful appeal to ineradicable emotions of the human heart. The fact that the Pope refused to compromise with sin attracted Protestant converts back to the Mother Church.

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The French Revolution opened people's eyes to the fact that liberty, equality, fraternity, reason, progress, and ideology can be tyrannical and dangerous. Even Voltaire wrote: "I like my lawyer, my tailor, my servants, and my wife to believe in God because I can then expect to be robbed and cuckolded less often." In 1819, conservative French philosopher Joseph de Maistre published Du Pape, a remarkable celebration of the Papacy.

The Falloux Laws were passed in France in 1850 whereby the state supported both secular and Christian schools, with parents having the choice of where to send their children. (This is exactly what the United States should do.)

By the 1860s, the Catholic Church was operating more schools and other institutions than ever before in France, Italy, Germany and Belgium. All of the religious orders were growing, especially those involved with teaching. The state schools in these countries seemed filled with radical socialist or communist teachers (the teaching profession seems to inordinately attract such types even today). This was repellent to working families and so the Catholic schools became very popular.

Louis Veuillot published the popular Catholic newspaper l'Universe. He was the autodidact son of a cooper, who remained working-class in his manner and outlook despite his rise in the world. Veuillot studied journalism and went on to write magnificent prose. He was aggressively enthusiastic about Catholicism, and possessed a remarkably sharp eye for the sensational. Veuillot was "not trying to convert unbelievers but to rouse the passions of believers," according to Ozanam.

The Archbishops of Paris were murdered in 1848, in 1857, and in 1871. Speaking for the Republic of France, Jules Ferry said, "My aim is to organize humanity without God and without kings."




Hugues LaMennais (1782-1854) was a priest from France who made a distinctively Catholic case against the philosophers of the French Enlightenment. But LaMennais also blasted Pope Gregory XVI as "a cowardly old imbecile" and wrote that Rome was "a huge tomb in which there are nothing but bones." He described the Vatican thus: "I saw there the most dreadful cesspit that it has ever been the lot of man to look upon."

New attention was focused on what Lamennais called "the foundation of faith in God and faith in Christ, the Kingdom of God, as the rule of justice in the human spirit and the rule of law in the human heart."



The Oxford Movement

The Oxford Movement was created by a group of Anglicans who wished the Church of England to move away from Protestantism and closer to Catholicism. John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was the most famous founder of the Oxford Movement. His compadre, John Kebel (1792-1866), wrote a book called The Christian Year, which sold an astounding 375,000 copies.

What these men wanted was for the Church of England to reintegrate beauty and mystery. Keble said, "New truth, in the proper sense of the word, we neither can nor wish to arrive at."

Another member of the Oxford Movement, Catholic convert Edward Pusey (1800-1882), wrote: "People risk too much now. They would risk everything, if they did not dread an eternity of suffering."



John Henry Newman

John Henry Newman joined the Church of Rome in 1845. He became a Cardinal, though it appears Rome did not care for his theology. Newman drifted away from Anglicanism while working on his book about Arianism. He got the idea that history was a threat to Protestantism but an asset to Catholicism, since the latter has an incredibly rich history. Newman converted to Catholicism in a "quest for authority."

Newman wrote: "The times are very evil, yet no one speaks against them." Newman defined religion as "an intimate and constant persuasion of the existence of a God, creator of the universe, lawgiver and supreme judge of humanity," and as "the knowledge of God, of his will, and of our duties towards him."

He warned that pantheism was "the religion that is of beauty, imagination, and philosophy, without constraint moral or intellectual, a religion speculative and self-indulgent," that was "the great deceit which awaits the age to come." The Christian worldview is that the Creator is distinct from the world He created.

John Henry Newman wrote: "That the Church is the infallible oracle of truth is the fundamental dogma of the Catholic religion." Catholics believed that God had "actually set up a society," which was his Church, according to John Henry Newman.

He defined the word dogma: "A dogma is a proposition; it stands for a notion or for a thing; and to believe it is to give assent of the mind to it."




In 1858, a malnourished waif by the name of Marie-Bernarde Soubirous saw a series of eighteen remarkable apparitions near Lourdes, France. She saw a beautiful young girl with golden roses at her feet, wearing a white dress with a blue sash. It was the Virgin Mary. Townspeople who doubted her story fell ill. A nearby fountain proved to have healing powers.

Lourdes became the largest center of Christian faith-healing in Europe. A huge basilica was eventually built to receive pilgrims to the site where the visions occurred. A Catholic medical center popped up next door to test the veracity of miraculous cures.

Saint Bernadette (1844-1879) was asthmatic, barefoot, and covered with lice. But she was remarkably consistent and spent long hours on her knees in ecstasy. Everybody who saw her believed her.





Pope Pius Ix

Pope Pius IX became the longest reigning Pope in history (1846-1878). He had a background as an aristocrat and a soldier. Pius was known to visit prisons, and he released political prisoners. He excused Rome's Jews from compulsory church service, relaxed censorship of the press, reformed the criminal code, installed gas-lighting, and built a railway. Pius became the most popular Pope in centuries.

In 1854, Pope Pius IX issued a Papal Bull Ineffabilis Deus that decreed the Virgin Mary one of two persons ever born without the stain of Original Sin: "From the beginning and before all the ages,"

God elected the Virgin Mary to be the mother of Christ, and therefore "the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception was, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God and in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all the stain or original sin." The Catholic masses loved it. Protestants reacted with hostility.

Eastern Orthodox and Protestantism continued to oppose this teaching on the grounds that the biblical statement "all have sinned" has no exception except Jesus Christ.

The fervent wish of Pope Pius IX was that "opinions and sentiments contrary to this Holy See may disappear, so that darkness of error may be dissipated and the minds of men flooded with the blessed light of truth." The blessed light of truth being the Pope himself, "Christ on earth." Bishop Mermillod gave a sermon on the three incarnations of Christ—in the womb of the Virgin Mary, in the Eucharist, and in the person of Pius IX.

In 1864, the Encyclical Quanta Cura was published by Pope Pius. It asserted the supremacy of the authority of the Church over all forms of civil authority.

Quanta cura was a defiant manifesto against socialism, communism, and modernity in general. Catholics were prohibited from accepting secular education since "the Catholic religion was the sole religion of the state to the exclusion of all others." Freedom of speech was condemned as causing "corruption of manners and minds." The very idea that the Pope should compromise with "progress" was lambasted.

This syllabus was received with astonishment and incredulity by Protestants. And liberal Catholics, most prominently Lord Acton, were dismayed by this encyclical. They thought it essential that the Catholic Church adjust to the modern world.



First Vatican Council

In 1868, the First Vatican Council convened. This was the first ecumenical Church Council in 300 years. It had a vast agenda but the main pronouncement was Papal Infallibility.

This means that all Popes—past, present, and future—have been, are, and will be incapable of making an error when speaking in their official capacity about faith and morals. Not all Catholics agreed and some German, Dutch, and Swiss clerics broke away to form the Old Catholic Church.

The First Vatican Council explicitly claimed for the Pope "that infallibility by which the divine Redeemer wished his Church to be instructed when it defines doctrine concerning faith or morals."




Johann Dollinger (1799-1890) was a Catholic priest and theologian of immense reputation from Bavaria. He led the opposition to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. Dollinger wrote: "As a Christian, as a theologian, as a historian and as a citizen, I cannot accept this doctrine." A few academics who agreed with him formed the Old Catholic Church.

There was, according to Dollinger, no instance in Church history when a simple majority at a council had promulgated dogma in opposition to the views of a significant minority of those attending. Most Catholics did not argue these points. But the last of the first seven councils had been over a thousand years earlier (787) and Catholics argued that the infallible authority of the Church did not simply cease. It continued in the Papacy.

Johann Dollinger warned that "a dogma of papal infallibility would open up an immense chasm between the Roman Catholic Church and the separated churches—the Greek and Russian Orthodox and the Protestant." Dollinger wrote that in the past doctrinal disputes had been decided by ecumenical councils, not by an individual even if he was the Bishop of Rome.



Pope Leo Xiii

Pope Leo XIII was elected in 1878. He was known as the "Pope of Peace," and was one of the few modern popes to write in elegant Latin.

Leo issued the Encyclical Libertas in 1888, which affirmed the positive aspects of democracy, liberalism (not what it means today but what it meant in the 19th Century), and freedom of conscience.

Pope Leo XIII reigned longer than any Pope before him except his immediate predecessor, Pope Pius IX. He also lived to be 93 years old, which makes him the oldest Pope ever.

In 1891, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Rerum Novarum ("Of New Things"). He expressed a new Catholic social doctrine in regard to the working classes. The Pope pronounced that private property was essential to freedom, and a "classless society" was against human nature. Therefore, communism and socialism are wrong. He also condemned usury—and even capitalism if it degrades workers and impoverishes them.

The Pope was mostly concerned with The misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class.” For this reason he supported labor unions if they did not resort to violence. Leo wrote that "Christian morality, when adequately and completely practiced, leads to temporal prosperity."







Christian Unity

All Christians of all branches agreed that, as the people of God, the Church was charged with the mission of proclaiming the Word of God, and that there was no salvation outside the Church. Eastern Orthodox writers would agree with that sentence but they objected to subordination to the Church of Rome, which was only one of the "sees" of Christendom. Eastern Orthodox teachers maintained their belief that the Holy Spirit and the Church as the Kingdom of God were inseparable.

To the Eastern Orthodox, as well as to Protestants, the promise of Christ to Peter that He would build His church on the rock—meant not the person of Peter but his confession. Christ was the only head of the Church, and in Christ—not the Pope or any other man—all Christians would one day come together in unity and harmony.

To Eastern Orthodox theologians, no man was infallible—but the first seven Church Councils were infallible. Of course, these were councils held in the East and not under any papal authorization. Objection to papal infallibility was historically grounded in the Third Council of Constantinople in 681, which condemned Pope Honorius as a heretic.

As pointed out in the 1870 book The Case of Pope Honorius by Karl Josef von Hefele, since any dogma of papal infallibility must necessarily be retroactive in its implications, it would be historically dishonest in the face of a Pope condemned as a heretic by a legitimate council of the Church. The Catholic response was that the council in question was not legitimate.

Eastern Orthodox theologians denied the legitimacy of the First Vatican Council—and all other councils held by the Latin Church since the schism between East and West—to speak for the universal Church on matters of faith and doctrine. They denied that the Pope was infallible and insisted that only Christ and the Holy Spirit were "infallible witnesses of the truth." Protestants joined them in their dissent, and proclaimed that only the Word of God in the Bible could claim infallibility.

Many Protestants doubted that St Peter had ever set foot in Rome, nonetheless been its first Bishop. They quoted the New Testament that errors were "the traditions of men" in opposition to the "commandments of God."

But the great Catholic professor Johann Drey countered that Christian traditions had been handed down by the "ordinary means" of "oral tradition, written language, and symbol." All traditions in human history are handed down the same way. Protestants responded that many traditions of the Catholic Church were corruptions and gross forgeries. "Divine tradition" continued to hold a special place in Eastern Orthodoxy.

Roman Catholic theology distinguished "the state of pure nature" before the Fall, which was lost, and the divine image, tarnished by sin. The image of God in man implies the uniqueness of the human soul among all earthly creatures.

God "adorned man with the most capable body of any creature, endowed him with reason, free will, conscience, and an immortal soul." Only in the case of man, had God "individually made him His own, impressing on him His seal, His image." And God had instituted divine marriage in the Garden of Eden.

The Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox identified the institutional Church as the Kingdom of God. Johann Drey taught that the Kingdom of God was an eschatological summons to repentance, faith and obedience.

The fundamental issue preventing all Christians from coming together as one unified body was authority. Protestants believed in the authority of the Bible—Scripture as the Word of God—alone. The Catholic Church at Rome insisted that all Christians must submit to and venerate the Pope.



The Christian Tradition

To Catholics, their traditions and Scripture were equal, both being revealed by the Holy Spirit, and to be treated "with an equal feeling of piety and reverence." Protestants continued to believe that traditions not based on Holy Scripture were merely human constructs. As Lamennais noted "The Bible only is the religion of the Protestants."

Protestants used writings by Irenaeus, Augustine, and Athanasius in their theology. Roman Catholics could point out that all three confirmed the Church at Rome as the head of the Christian Church, and all three had served the Church in both East and West.

Irenaeus was from Smyrna in the East, wrote in Greek, became Bishop of Lyons in the West, and attested to the authenticity of the biblical canon. Athanasius had been Bishop of Alexandria before moving to Rome, and he attested to the continuity of Catholic traditions from the first age of the Church to the Nicene Creed.

Thus Roman Catholics had good reason to assert that Jesus Christ had constituted the Catholic Church as the authoritative interpreter of Scripture and teacher of the truth—as it was stated by Augustine, a person revered by Protestants.

Montalembert wrote that "in the [Catholic] Church's liturgical practice there resides the formal doctrine of the Church, its continuous practice from age to age." "From earliest times, there had existed one definite system of both faith and worship in the Church."

Adolf Harnack expressed strong doubts about this: "The exceptional nature of Christianity had manifested itself in an absence of ritual. The history of dogma during the first three centuries is not reflected in the liturgy."



Christian Doctrine in the 19th Century

Novelty had always been the mark of heresy. This is different from a creed or confession simply making explicit what is implicit by explaining an already existing belief to give it greater precision and understanding. Protestant and Eastern Orthodox critics charged the Catholic Church as "novelty-mongering," especially through the "new" dogma of Immaculate Conception.

But the Eastern Orthodox theologians did not object to the high position given to the Virgin Mary—as do Protestants. She had always been celebrated more anciently and more consistently in the East as "the all-holy Theotokos (Mother of God) and Ever-Virgin Mary."

The Church Fathers at the Council of Nicea had not revealed truth unrevealed before; they were explaining old truth—eternal truth.




In the Gospels, Christ never hints at any doubt about the eternal punishment of the wicked, as if it might be some kind of injustice or overly severe.

Protestantism was becoming more liberal in the 19th Century, and so beat a retreat from doctrines and sermons about Hell. Some decided that a loving God could not send human beings to perish and certainly not to eternal torment. Many Protestant preachers still believed in Hell but never spoke of it, as it was a subject that could make people "uncomfortable."

The Catholic Church stood firm in its insistence on eternal punishment. Rome had never wavered on the importance of Hell. While Protestants pushed Hell to the sidelines, Catholics brought it to the foreground.

One Catholic writer wrote that in Hell "the unhappy wretch will be surrounded by fire like wood in a furnace. He will find an abyss of fire below, an abyss of fire above, and an abyss of fire on every side. If he touches, if he sees, if he breathes—he touches, sees, and breathes only fire. He will be in fire like a fish in water."

Father Joseph Furniss even wrote a scary book about hell for children called The Sight of Hell, which sold an incredible four million copies.




By the end of the 19th Century, the Papacy had achieved an unprecedented position of total control of the Catholic Church and Catholics. The overwhelming majority of Catholics were not only willing but eager to accord the Holy See this new paramountcy. The Papacy emerged as a force against the perils of modernity.

Intellectual advances in the 19th Century were turning some Protestants into agnostics, and others into Fundamentalists. Thus, the Church of Rome began to attract converts from Protestantism by the very characteristics that had once made it seem repellent, described by Cardinal Manning, a convert from the Anglicans, as "antiquity, system, fullness, intelligence, order, strength, unity."

The Church of Rome stood like a fortress against the encroaching darkness of unbelief. European Protestantism was being eaten away by forces from within—apostates. The Catholic Church offered a safe, secure refuge for those who did not believe that reason or intellect should overrule the authority of the Church—but did believe that spiritual considerations should permeate all affairs of men.

The Catholic Church offered a moral theology that prescribed thoughts and actions for every minute aspect of human life. The Church of Rome was a repository of certitudes, homogeneity, and a unified worldview that appealed to intellectuals in England and on the Continent who were tired of splitting theological hairs until there was nothing left of the Christian Faith.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 27, 2019:

Aniz ~ Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your comments as well. I liked Pope Benedict. While no John Paul II, a towering figure hard to follow, he was miles better than the imbecile they have in his office now.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 27, 2019:

Tony ~ Thank you for your most excellent comments. As for ‘gay marriage’ the issue is not equal rights but the right to force every person on earth to approve of it—or else. The Left hates the traditional family and wants it destroyed. Civil Unions provided all the legal benefits you listed as the being the crux of the issue but that did not satisfy.

Being a believing catholic, as you are, means you believe in the real person of Satan. The title of my latest book is 'What Does the Devil Do All Day?" The simple answer is he opposes God. If God says "I made the human race male and female" the Devil says "Not true." If God says "sodomy is an abomination" the Devil says "It ought to be celebrated!" If God says "I ordained Holy Matrimony as a man and a woman become one flesh" the Devil says "Nonsense. Any combination of people is the same thing."

Aniz on August 28, 2013:

Hey Joe,I want to thanks Pope Benedict XVI for his secrive to the Catholic Church. For the time that he has been pontiff, he has been courageous, not just on determining with clarity that he was no longer able to assume his duty as Pope, but he was able to write a few encyclicals, books and I think he has been a good Pope despite the negative news. I'm assuming it was his personality; it's hard to truly convey what he is thinking or feeling, if the medias are all in control of the message and it's interpretation, that is not really going to help, but now that he has resigned, I can understand it's because he prefer praying, reading books, it seems that a life of prayer is better suited for him than the life of traveling abroad, conferences, dinners, meetings etc., and he was old.My hope for the next Pope, is that it's not just the smartest man in the room but someone who can reach out to people, present himself and his faith in a way that will bring a renewal in the Catholic Church. The best way to do accomplish that is not just to lecture us, that doesn't work anymore it seems, and people have disdain to be treated like that, I think what people wants, is a Pope who is able to reach to their minds and hearts. If he's able to do that, people will really love him and will connect with him and perhaps there will be a renewal of some kind.

Tony on August 28, 2013:

Julie, thank you for posting your quoisten and response. This has been something that I have been struggling with as well. On one hand I know that the Church sees marriage as joining of 2 souls to become 1 with one of the main focus of that marriage is to have children. On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with being able to designate someone you love as being able to make medical decisions for you if you are unable, ability to avoid estate taxes when a person you lived with for 30 years passes away or have someone you can confide in. With the way the laws are set up the only way to achieve this is through marriage (unless you can afford a lawyer to prepare legal documents and this will only take care of some of these issues). The Church is not against love. It isn't against two people of the same sex living a life together. What it is against is sex between two men or two women because that type of sex is not capable of producing children. So the way I see it is there are really 2 separate issues here that people are confusing as one. The Church is arguing that marriage between 2 men or 2 women is not right in God's eyes because no children can come of that marriage. Don't forget we refer to God as Our Father and Mary as Blessed Mother. The gay right movement is focused on the legal benefits of marriage. Being able to visit a partner in the hospital, avoiding tax penalties, provide health insurance to someone they love. I personally believe the gay right movement focusing on marriage and not civil unions is because they feel they would not be treated equally (it would be like a second class marriage). I do see the argument for this. We know how the south was segregated for so many years and how separate but equal was not truly equal. To me the real way to solve this to provide an easy way for someone to designate another that they would like to have the legal ability to make decisions (health, legal or otherwise), ability to designate one person (other then one's children) that they would like to add to their health care plan, and the right to provide the house 2 people have shared for years to avoid being taxed outrageously when the other person passes. To me this would be more inline with what Jesus would be in favor of. Don't forget that Jesus told John to take care of Mary after He rose from the dead. In our current legal and health system, John would not have been able to visit Mary if she was in the hospital or make legal decisions if she was not able to do so. I personally don't think that is what Jesus would have wanted and we should look for a way to provide the benefits that have been attached to those that are married in the government eyes to those that do not fit into the one man/one women marriage role, but to those that are single and want to select their best friend of 20 years or two men or two women that chose to share a life together. As Catholics, we need to stop believing that the best way to stop sin is through the legal system and start looking for ways to support and truly show love to one another.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 04, 2013:

busillis22--- You are quite welcome. I am thankful that you are thankful for my article. :)

These are my favorite topics too. I have made myself a note to come over and see what you have written thus far. Welcome to the HubPages Community!

I appreciate the visitation and your comments.


Kyson Parks from San Diego, CA on February 02, 2013:

Thanks so much for this! I am so thankful and glad to see quality articles on theology and Church history. These are my favorite topics - I am an aspiring historical theologian myself. I look forward to reading more of your work!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 26, 2012:

dahoglund— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 26, 2012:

Christine Miranda— Thank you! Welcome to the HubPages Community.

I apologize for not responding to your kind comments sooner but I have been ill for nearly two weeks.

I sincerely appreciate you voting this Hub Up (and more). :)

Thanks again for reading my work and for the compliment. I have made myself a note to come by and read your writings ASAP.


Christine Miranda from My office. on November 18, 2012:

Great hub. Simple and to the point. Being born in America the separation of church and state is so ingrained in us that we don't realize how much religion has played a part in so many wars and shaped so many countries throughout the centuries. Voted up & more.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 12, 2012:

Derdriu— You are quite welcome, my new arborist friend. I am grateful to you for the voted up and your kind compliments of my work here. I also appreciate you hitting all the good (except funny) buttons for me. :-)

I enjoyed reading your thoughtful and insightful comments, Derdrui. I am well pleased that you enjoyed this article. Thank you for the visitation!


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 12, 2012:

Kaie Arwen— You are extra special. I appreciate your lovely response. Thank you for your irreplacable encouragement of my my writing. :-)

Derdriu on January 10, 2012:

James A Watkins, What a reader-friendly historical tour of the Catholicism of two centuries ago! In particular, I like your acknowledging the kind, long-lasting contributions of Saints Bernadette and Thérèse and of Popes Leo XIII and Pius IX. Your article offers interesting historical information in a context of clear wording and illustrative photos.

Thank you for sharing, voted up + all (except funny), Derdriu

Kaie Arwen on January 09, 2012:

JAW- You know I reciprocate each and every one of those feelings.......... I love you too. You sir.......... are the best of the best.......... these things I know are the truest words ever spoken. Kaie

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 07, 2012:

Kaie Arwen— The most happy days of my life are those few and far between days when you comment on one of my Hubs. :D

You know that I love you and that I pledge my life to you. What else can I say? You are the best woman; in my book. Thank you so much for loving me. JAW

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 07, 2012:

Sueswan— Hello Sue!

Thank you for reading my article. I sure appreciate the voted up and awesome! As well as the kind compliments and your fine remarks.

Wishing you best in 2012!


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 07, 2012:

April Reynolds— You are most welcome. You know, there is a word to describe the movement—or the stance—of wanting the Pope (or the Vatican) to reign supreme over all Catholicism, but I can't think of it. It is not an old term but one from the 19th century probably, which still is alive today.

Thank you for all the nice things you said. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 07, 2012:

suzettenaples— Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I know it is double the length of my usual Hubs. I culled as much material as I could without leaving out anything I deemed to be of the most import.

I am glad to hear that you really liked the illustrations of the "branches" and the stained glass window of Jesus Christ.

I agree with you about "having a personal relationship with God and less with the doctrine of the Catholic Church," as well as "following God's commandments first, rather than Catholic church doctrine."

Well said.

I too "respect the Pope immensely, but I do not consider him infallible."

Your commentary on my Hub is extraordinary. I loved reading your thoughtful, insightful, and wise remarks. I so appreciate this visit from you, and even more so I am grateful for your laudations. :-)

Kaie Arwen on January 07, 2012:

It's a Saturday morning marathon! I probably should have begun here.......... :-(

I believe I'm out of order.........well, not the first time anyway ;-D I loved the section on the French Revolution (I'm just me), and I'm happy you included the subject of one of my favorite childhood films (Bernadette). I watched a documentary on her not long ago, it was enlightening to say the least.......... K

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 06, 2012:

michiganman567— The Jesuits surely do exist. I have not kept up with their activities. When I get to the 20th Century I will be sure to research what they have been up to lately.

It is always a pleasure to hear from a fellow Michigander! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 06, 2012:

Hello, hello,— I vaguely remembered that a Pope in the 1970s only reigned 33 days but knew nothing about it until you told me. I did check it out and I see that quite a few books have been written alleging a murder plot. It was even used in the film "Godfather III!"

I never heard of 'God's banker' before. I just read about that and it too is quite a story. Quite shocking. It does appear that the Mafia was involved.

When I write about the 20th Century in my book I will have to cover these stories. Thank you for bringing my attention to both of them. Wow! I don't know what to say.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 06, 2012:

Dolores Monet— Hello there. Nice to see you. Yep, I did put a lot of time into this Hub. Thanks for noticing! And for the Voted up!

I am glad you mentioned your appreciation of the images selected too.

Sueswan on January 06, 2012:

Hi James,

Another enjoyable, interesting, and informative hub.

I am not a fan of organized religion. When I was in grade school, I had a friend that attended Catholic scool. She was always talking about how mean the nuns were. I always said to myself, "Thank God, I am not Catholic."

Voted up and awesome.

Have a great weekend.

April Reynolds from Arizona on January 06, 2012:

Ah, maybe conservative was the wrong word. The prof. presented it as those who lived in the city were looking to give more power to the role of pope vs those who lived outside the city who saw the role of pope as a servant to the people. It would be interesting if it were true! I will let you know if I am ever able to confirm or deny the story.

I have noticed that you take the time to read and answer each comment carefully and thoughtfully. I am very impressed, considering the large amount of comments that you have here. I appreciate the time you put in for each one of us. Thank you!

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on January 06, 2012:

James: Very, very informative article on the Catholic Church. I am a practicing Catholic myself and some of this I knew, but some of this is new to me as your research is so thorough. I particularly like the photo of the stain glass window of Christ - it is beautiful. I also like the illustration of the branches of religions and the branches of Protestanism. They are so helpful to me in understanding all religions.

As I said, I have been a practicing Catholic all my life, (but always went to public schools) but I tend to lean more toward the Lutheran church in my personal beliefs of God because my great-grandfather was a Lutheran minister. I tend to believe in having a personal relationship with God and less with the doctrine of the Catholic Church. I also tend to lean toward following God's commandments first, rather than Catholic church doctrine. So, I don't know if I am really considered a "good Catholic" or not by the Catholic Church. I respect the Pope immensely, but I do not consider him infallible - no human man/woman is infallible - only God has that status in my mind. So, am I really a Catholic? I don't know, any more. The older I get, the less I worry about being a "good Catholic" and the more I concentrate on being a "good Christian." Then, my grandmother and father were Methodists. So, I'm sort of a religious mixture at the moment.

This article of yours is so timely for me, because I have such an interest in religions, but also, next week I am attending a talk and viewing of a DVD ( I believe it was on PBS or will be on PBS) on Catholicism in the 21st Century. It should be enlightening, because the Catholic Church is once more going through a huge change and shift right now. I will learn what that change is in greater detail next week.

I am a product of the Ecumenical Vatican Council of l964 with Pope John XXIII (my favorite Pope). Even at 9 or 10 years of age, I seemed to connect with Pope John XXIII (don't ask me why) and really was pleased and refreshed when we stopped the Latin masses and changed to English and a few of the other relaxations. Now, the Catholic Church seems to be moving backwards to more restrictions and even more Latin masses. So, next week I hope to find out more and the reasons for all this. Perhaps I'll do a hub in this area, if it is not too complicated. Your hub helps a lot to fill in the gaps of my knowledge if the Catholic Church.

Also, last week I did watch on PBS a special on Martin Luther and his breaking away from the Catholic Church in 1517. It was an excellent presentation, and I fully understand the Lutheran Church and its beliefs now. Unfortunately, I fell asleep before it was over and missed some of it, but hopefully, I'll be able to view it again sometime.

I love to read your articles as they are on topics I am interested in - religion and history. I am now moving on the the Vaclav Havel article. It too will be interesting!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 06, 2012:

phdast7— Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it isn't too long. I am glad you found it interested.

It must be fascinating to teach Western Civilization. I thought that subject had been discarded from many curriculums. :)

I see you have a bit of everything in your family background. I, like you, am a non-denominational Christian.

I love your comments. You wrote:

'We believed strongly in the faith and teachings of Jesus, but found the rules, traditions, structures, habits, and practices of men (churches)to be entirely optional and often quite dispensable -- not in and of themselves evil, but often leading to faith in the rules and history of the institution rather than faith in the Creator and Savior.

To my mind, there is a huge difference in these two attitudes or approaches; one is about religion, the other about spiritual belief. Not intending to offend anyone, but I think of "denominations" as "flavors or preferences."'

I feel the same way.

I enjoyed your tangent about personal preferences. I agree with your discerning concepts. And I appreciate your gracious compliments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 06, 2012:

sheila b.— I was a bit surprised to read in your last paragraph about hatred of the Catholic Church among Irish people. I had thought the Irish the most loyal Catholics of all time, save maybe the Italians and the Spaniards.

Anyway I must say that your comments are extraordinarily insightful. Thank you for them. I always enjoy it when you visit. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 06, 2012:

Spirit Whisperer— You are quite welcome. You are most kind to call this article a "masterpiece." Thank you ever much for making my day. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 06, 2012:

April Reynolds— You raised a fascinating question: Did the first vatican council vote on papal infallibility during a blizzard? I had not come across this idea during my research. I looked around on line and could not find any evidence of this. In any event, the more conservative bishops would have been more likely to vote for papal infallibility—at least as it seems to me.

Thank you very much for the gracious compliments. And you are welcome.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

cr00059n— Thank you very much for the laudatory remarks. I appreciate this visitation from you. Welcome to HubPages!

Dave Smith from Michigan on January 05, 2012:

I don't know for sure if it is going on or not. They have the whole ecumenical movement now, so there might not be a need for the Jesuit infiltration anymore. However, they do still exist so they must be doing something right?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

oceansnsunsets— You are quite welcome. Thank you very much for the voted up, and for hitting all the "good" buttons for me. :-)

I share the sentiments you expressed so well: "I am thankful for the good things that Catholicism brings to our world."

Yes. Me too. And it is a long list.

I am glad that you found this interesting and valuable. And I sincerely appreciate your encouragement.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

afro's mistake— Thank you! Thank you very much. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

Polly— Well, I sure appreciate the voted up and across (except funny). I thank you for coming by to read my article. As always, I enjoyed your comments.

I am grateful for your ongoing affirmation and encouragement. Happy New Year! And God Bless You.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

GmaGoldie— You write: "God's love is a father's love, God's wish for us is for us to find our unity, our brotherhood."


Well said. And I certainly agree with you that most all the Christian denominations have far more in common than that which separates them.

I love this that you wrote: "Our skin and our hair may be different, yet we all have 640 muscles in our human body with the same bones, the same red blood, the same human feelings."

Yes, indeed.

I think the Catholic Church has grown more and more receptive to ecumenical efforts in the past perhaps thirty years. As America has experienced a War on God from Secular Socialists, Catholics and Evangelicals have been forced to sharpen their vision and realize they are generally on the same side.

I attended Catholic Mass for the first time in years a few months ago at Old St Patrick's in Chicago. The church itself is awesomely beautiful and the service was delightful. I even took communion. :)

You wrote: "There is no documentation of Jesus precluding anyone from the table."

That is right. He even had Judas Iscariot at the table. I am not real up on what this fuss is all about. And I'm not sure what you mean by "equality of women" in regard to the Catholic Church. Are you referring to women priests or something else?

You ask, "Why put up obstacles when the person is hurting?" As you say, after a divorce it is "the time to embrace the person, definitely not the time to isolate." That makes sense to me.

I surely agree with you that it is "A religion that helps and guides billions." And I am with you in that I too "admire the Catholic faith for many things."

As you said so well: "We are all brothers and sisters. God is all about unity. Jesus is about unity not separation."

I agree. But, of course, a Catholic could say, "You guys left us. We didn't leave you. So how can you blame us for divisions among Christians?"

Thank you for your outstanding comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

lilyfly— Gosh, I am sorry I missed the tome. :-)

I appreciate the love, Lily. Happy New Year!

I Googled "the Jesuit Convocation" and I seem to come up with "The General Congregation." Is that the same thing? It must not be because I didn't see anything sinister about it.

You did recommend "Deliver Us from Evil" to me a while back. I watched that film in 2007 and no doubt it is highly disturbing.

Yes, I agree with you that the Church is always under attack by the forces of Satan. What glee the lost have when someone inside the Church falls into perdition!

The Catholic Church has been infiltrated by demonic pedophiles, in particular by homosexual offenders. And this is a black mark on the Church that is hard to live down. It was not on guard against its enemy as it should have been.

Thank you for your comments. I am always glad to have you visit.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

stars439— I appreciate the luadations and your blessings, my brother. I have worked pretty hard to educate myself as I have not much formal schooling—and what I had bored me to tears.

The study of religion and of history are my two favorite subjects to delve into—and to share with others on HubPages as to my discoveries.

I am glad you liked the photographs I selected. Thank you for reading my work and God Bless You.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on January 05, 2012:

Now this is a point and I believe it. James, with your research on the 21st cent. find out about the Pope - about two or three back - who wanted to open the books (accounts not the bible hahahaha) and he died suddenly after being about 43 days a Pope. They never gave the body for a ..... I can't think the word now and haven't got the time. It supposed to have been something about a stomach ulcer. Then there was the so called 'God's banker'. From a start to me it is disgusting. He run away to England in hiding. He was found haning on the BlackFriar's bridge (right named) committed 'suicide' with two bricks in his pockets. He was laundering Mafia money for the Vatican. Soit was said in the papers. Now you know why I feel like this toward that mob.

There is also an interesting book written by an Irish called Angela's Angels. It really gives you such an inside about the way they had to live but all the dos and don't from the CC. Also there are great scandals about orphanages where the children were abuse by nuns and priest right up to the '50s and '60s. They had the grip on Ireland like anything and oh, yes, got threatened with ex-communication for being friendly with people from the other feith, leave alone accepting anything like that. Even I was told and believed it that all the other faith were all wrong. I gosh they had us in the grip in those days.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

Hello, hello,— Hello there!

I do appreciate your recognition of my hard work in preparation to write this article. Since I am not of this particular persuasion I wanted to present a Hub that is fair and balanced.

This is one Hub in my series about the History of Christianity. It must about the 40th overall. Only two more and I will be up to the 20th Century—but for that part you'll have to read my book. :D

I had never read up on the response of the Catholic Church to the Irish Potato Famine. I just now read a few brief articles about it and, sadly, it does appear that the Church of Rome did not do much while Protestants, especially Quakers and Methodists, were very active in aiding their Christian Brethren. But the Catholic Church blasted those poor souls who accepted humanitarian aid from Protestants as traitors. One article went as far as to say the Pope wanted the Irish to move to America to help the Vatican establish a strong presence there.

Thank you very much for the visit and your comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

CMHypno— Thank you for taking the time to read my Hub. I hope it wasn't too long. I had a lot of ground to cover.

I find it fascinating that you have actually been to Lourdes. And I appreciate this visitation from you. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

H P Roychoudhury— I am really glad to hear from you again, my friend. I hope you are feeling better.

Thank you for the kind compliments. You made a very good point in your comments. I appreciate you for reading my article. :)

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on January 05, 2012:

Hi, James - wow, you really put a lot of research into this one. Great hub on Catholics in the 19th century. And great images too! Voted up!

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on January 04, 2012:

Interesting and thorough article as always. I teach the two semester West Civ survey every year and of course much of the time we are examining the rise of the Catholic Church, the rise of the Nation States, the tug of war between the two for power and control of the people, comes Martin Luther and a new series of political - religious wars and intellectual-religious conflicts and so forth.

All of this is even more interesting to me because of my family background. My father was a Catholic from Poland, my mother was a Southern Baptist from Georgia, my husband's family was Methodist...and by the end of our second year of college, my husband and I were non-denominational Christians.

We believed strongly in the faith and teachings of Jesus, but found the rules, traditions, structures, habits, and practices of men (churches)to be entirely optional and often quite dispensable -- not in and of themselves evil, but often leading to faith in the rules and history of the institution rather than faith in the Creator and Savior.

To my mind, there is a huge difference in these two attitudes or approaches; one is about religion, the other about spiritual belief. Not intending to offend anyone, but I think of "denominations" as "flavors or preferences."

We may have musical or literary preferences. What suits me may not suit another, but these differences do not mean that either of us is wrong. Music is a good example of what I call flavor or stylistic differences.

Personally, I like folksy, participative, guitar and percussion based music in a Christian worship service. Several years ago, I attended a nearby Lutheran Church that a friend had recommended. I forced myself to go for four weeks and then looked elsewhere for Christian fellowship.

The music was killing me. It was solemn, formal, highly structured, funereal, even dirge-like. I left each service seriously depressed. Were the Lutherans wrong? No. Crazy? No. Un-musical? Yeee, well, no.

As much as that music did not suit me, I believe it was very comforting, perfectly suited for some people. My style of of music would have driven them crazy. But we both believe that music is a way to praise and worship God.

I seem, as frequently happens, to have gone off on a tangent about my musical tastes....sorry. When my intention was to tell you what an excellent Hub this is.

sheila b. on January 04, 2012:

It seems to me ancient societies were generally ruled by a warlord and a witchdoctor. The witchdoctor dealt with the gods, the warlords dealt with the enemies.

Fast forward to Europe. Kings and the Pope. Local priests and bishops ruled the masses and collected taxes, and the King had his men doing the same. For centuries they seemed to all work together against the people, taking everything they could.

When I imagine being one of those people, I can imagine liking the new Protestant religion because it would free me from the rule of the Pope.

I think of Irish I have met who hated the Catholic church because of the hold it had on their country. Once in America, they wee happy being Catholic because they were free.

Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on January 04, 2012:

This is indeed a masterpiece. You left no stone unturned and anybody who wishes to know about Catholicism in the 19th Century need look no further.Thank you for this most informative article.

April Reynolds from Arizona on January 04, 2012:

Thank you James, I found your hub very interesting. I was wondering if you could help me? I remember learning in college that the first vatican council voted on papal infallibility during a blizzard. This was significant because the majority of the conservative members who lived outside of the city couldn't make it to vote. Did you come across this story in your research? I have never been able to find info to back it up and no longer have my original notes. It would be very interesting to know if it was true or not. Wonderful and informative hub!

cr00059n on January 04, 2012:

You article about Catholicism is intriguing. Never knew the type of life style, views and godly relationships people in that century had. You're article is reflective of your expertise. Nicely written.

Paula from The Midwest, USA on January 03, 2012:

Wow, this is a very interesting and informative hub on Catholicism in the 19th century. It's a very valuable thing to learn more about religions, and anything that deeply touches the lives of people like Catholicism has for so long. While I am not Catholic myself, (I am Protestant Christian), I am thankful for the good things that Catholicism brings to our world.

Voted up and all but funny. Thanks for sharing and I hope you continue to share more and more. So much to learn!

afro's mistake from dorothys kansas on January 03, 2012:

New favorite.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 02, 2012:

michiganman567— I am aware of this infiltration of which you speak in olden days. Is it still going on?

Yes, man will have his doctrines—which means what you confess, preach and teach. Still, the basic message of Christ as our Redeemer carries on.

Pollyannalana from US on January 02, 2012:

I found this so interesting and a little surprised that Catholicism holds to hell above Protestants when they are famous for the three Hail Marys and do as you please, or that has been my opinion so far from what I knew. I read some on the Christians coming to America in the 1700s (Moravian in particular) that they were running from Catholicism to get back to their roots.

I do know about Bernadette.

So much to learn as always and I will be back a few times until I absorb it not to forget. Voted up and across as always. (Uh, I didn't do the funny.)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 02, 2012:

tillsontitan— You are quite welcome. Thank you for the voted up, useful and interesting.

I surely appreciate your gracious compliments. While I have never been a Catholic, certain men such as Richard John Heuhaus (RIP) and Pope John Paul II (RIP) have made a powerful impact on me and changed my view of Catholicism.

I am thankful for your affirmation and encouragement.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 02, 2012:

drbj— You are most welcome. Thank you ever much for the lovely laudations. Your warm words have made my day. :D

Happy New Year!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 02, 2012:

Gypsy Rose Lee— Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your comments.

I have never been a Catholic. In fact, when I was a boy my grandfather was decidedly anti-Catholic. And as a younger man I attended for quite some time a Seventh Day Adventist Church that viewed the Pope as the anti-Christ himself.

My views have been tempered by the fact that I have made many lifelong friends who are devout Catholics and I must admit: they are wonderful people. :)

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on January 02, 2012:


A thorough review of the largest and most pervasive religion in the world. A religion that helps and guides billions. The certainty of the Catholic religion is helpful. The guidance is very precise.

I admire the Catholic faith for many things. I especially love the adoration chapels and the stations of the cross. I know the protestants offer different viewpoints.

The items of concern with the Catholic faith are 1.) in-equal treatment of females and 2.) the communion table. Accepting and loving should include the table. Closing doors is akin to the one sin God cannot forgive - a hardened heart. Our Father in heaven wants to be just that. We are all brothers and sisters. God is all about unity. Jesus is about unity not separation.

I admire the Catholic faith and was proudly Catholic for many years. Sadly, we had to separate. The church I feel should aggressively seek out peace and love and unity in the same way Mother Teresa was accepting, in the same way, Jesus was accepting. There is no documentation of Jesus precluding anyone from the table. The formal requirements for communion is antiquated. The lack of equality for females is antiquated. Isolating divorced people from the communion table in my opinion is a sin. I have never been through a divorce. My first husband left the Catholic church when he was disowned from the communion table because of his divorce. Yes, he could go through the hoops but why put up obstacles when the person is hurting - this is the time to embrace the person, definitely not the time to isolate.

The priests are getting better about inviting all to the communion table at least for a blessing.

I know there are differences but the religions have more in common than are different. Our skin and our hair may be different, yet we all have 640 muscles in our human body with the same bones, the same red blood, the same human feelings.

God's love is a father's love, God's wish for us is for us to find our unity, our brotherhood. A religion that separates cannot be a religion completely pleasing to God.

Lillian K. Staats from Wasilla, Alaska on January 02, 2012:

Well, now, I had a tome that was erased, but here it goes: I have got here, Sir, as reactionary as they get, against the Catholic Church. I believe that I exhorted you to watch, "Deliver Us From Evil", a true tale of how Ratzenberger allowed a priest to deflower something like 54 children, even tho he was a known pedophile.

I also, am molten about a particular Jesuit Priest, that deflowered about the same amount, here in Alaska, in the 60's, 70's, and 80"s. The damage is still happening. Have you ever read the Jesuit Convocation? It is antichrist at best. I will also never call a man on earth, Holy Father, especially when he sits below an inverted cross, to receive blessings, as you would have seen in, "Deliver Us from Evil." I will also never say, BLESS me Father, for I have SINNED.

WE know Satan attacks the Christ. I just wish the Catholic Church would put up some kind of fight. Happy New Year, Sir! Much Love, lily

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on January 02, 2012:

A magnificent hub with and awesome amount of knowledge. I cannot begin to imagine how much brilliant education you possess in regard to Christianity, and of a large degree of other religions. What a wonderful education you share with everyone. Very nice photos to enhance the abundance of information. God Bless You, and your precious loved ones so dear.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on January 02, 2012:

Hello, James, you must have worked very hard researching all these information and for that I give you credit. I was born into Catholic Church but I think nothing of them. They are as far apart as the angels and the devil. I believe in God and the ten commandment but the amount of does and don't the church put on it is crazy and only serves their purpose. Everything is a sin and is only to keep a hold of the people. Jesus gave ten commandments and they make sense and that was it. I could write book about what all is wrong with that lot plus criminal doings. You were mentioning the potatoe faming. I bet the 'Holy Father' never done a thing to stop the suffering. Frm a start they are so loaded that they are one of the richest states. There children dying of hunger, yes do they do anything to help? I wish Jesus wuld come and sweep them out of there like he done in the temple. They are just as bad as the Mafia.

As CMHypno said the holy places were and are so commercialist. That again is wrong.

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on January 02, 2012:

A very thorough and informative hub James. As I went to a convent school, we were taken to Lourdes on a school trip. It is a beautiful town in the Pyrenees, but is a strange mixture of religious sincerity and commercialism - so many cheap souvenirs!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 02, 2012:

Vladimir Uhri— You are quite welcome, my friend. Thank you for reading it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 02, 2012:

dahoglund— I agree with your take on Hell. It is a pleasure to receive your fine comments. Thank you, kind sir, for visiting my Hub. I am well pleased that you enjoyed reading it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 02, 2012:

marcoujour— Hello Mar! Happy New Year!

I am glad you found this article interesting. I surely appreciate the voted up, as well as you hitting all those good buttons for me. It was good of you to visit. Thank you for the gracious compliments.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 02, 2012:

blondepoet— How delightful it is to hear from you. Thank you for the kind compliments and the "thumbs up!" Happy New Year!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 02, 2012:

jainismus— Hello there! You are welcome. Thank you very much for being my first visitor! :D

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on January 02, 2012:

It is a well written article with elaborate history of information. AS the human Civilization is changing with the change of century, CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE is bound to change with the change of time.

Dave Smith from Michigan on January 01, 2012:

The gentle years of the Catholic Church. What do you think of Jesuit infiltration into protestant churches? I've noticed that there are a lot of doctrines floating around that are not consistent with the Bible.

Mary Craig from New York on January 01, 2012:

You took on an immense project and did it justice! I was especially touched by:

Veuillot was "not trying to convert unbelievers but to rouse the passions of believers," according to Ozanam.

How desparately the Catholic Church needs that revival now!

Also: "will be incapable of making an error when speaking in their official capacity about faith and morals." This is the crux of the belief in the Pope - only when he speaks on faih or morals is he infallible.

This is truly a great piece that every Catholic, and Christian, can learn a lot from. Thank you for a job very well done. Voted up, interesting and useful!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on January 01, 2012:

Another excellent summation, James - this time of 19th century Catholicism. Your talent for impeccable research is exceeded only by your ability to put it all together in an eminently readable manner. Thank you. And a very Happy New Year!

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on January 01, 2012:

That was a fascinating read. I've always thought that the Catholic faith was difficult to understand. I'm Lutheran. I remember ages ago that when friends of my parent's wanted to get married the groom's parents made sure that his chosen bride went into the Catholic religion.

Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on January 01, 2012:

Thanks James for this information.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on January 01, 2012:

I congratulate you on this informative summation about religion in the 19th Century.The Oxford movement, especially Newman and Chesterton were popular when I was in college. Hell currently is thought of as being denied the contact with God rather than physical torture.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on January 01, 2012:

Dear James,

Such a comprehensive and interesting overview of this subject in a style that is distinctly yours. I smiled at the memory of reading the stories of the Saints with Mom, as I read about Bernadette.

Masterful writing-- Voted UP & UABI.

Happy, peaceful New Year to you and yours, ma