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The Episcopate of the United States Catholic Church Has Always Been Americanist, Indifferentist, and even Heretical November 15, 2019

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, history, Immigration, priests, Revolution, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society, the struggle for the Church.

I mentioned recently I have been reading books by Solange Hertz.  They are very valuable and enlightening reading, providing great insight into how the almost universally rock-solid Church of the 18th century became the structurally modernist, indifferentist, and leftist body that it is today.

Reading Hertz has been part of a broader study I’ve been blessed to make over the course of much of 2019, reading histories of the Church over the period 1800-1950, principally in the  United States but also Europe.  This is history that is almost entirely forgotten, and deliberately so, as it reveals the means and methods by which the Church was first penetrated, and then overtaken, by revolutionary forces.  While many faithful Catholics today point to AA-1025 and communist penetration of the Church in the first half of the 20th century, to be frank, that analysis misses the mark.  In point of fact, most of the damage was done in the 19th century, and came not from European revolutionaries (they more or less took advantage of an already existing situation), but from American ones.

American, ahem, Catholics, were responsible for much of the most destructive beliefs that burst into open view, with apparent approbation of the institutional hierarchy, at Vatican II.  Indifferentism (rejection of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus), almost a maniacal focus on both materialism and ecumenism, the exaltation, if not practical worship of, democratic forms of government and the free market, tacit endorsement of blasphemy and sacrilege under the guise of “freedom of speech” and “freedom of expression”………..all these ideas came primarily from the United States and, it must be said, mostly Irish-lineage bishops and priests, though they did find fertile ground for these ideas throughout much of Europe.

A few datapoints to illustrate.  The first American bishop, John Carroll, was a thoroughgoing Americanist, practically seeking to create an Americanist Gallist Church (a national church free from Rome’s influence).  He practically worshipped the US Constitution and the American state and was influenced, to an almost unbelievable degree for a man who called himself Catholic, by the liberal wing of the protestant sects in the United States. He was also extremely close with the freemasons who dominated the American elite.  He insisted, for instance, on the election of bishops, and even wanted election of priests, to go along with a vernacular liturgy and many other items protestants/masons would like to see changed regarding Church Doctrine.  He was only just prevented from doing this by intervention from Rome, and his death.

Carroll also did all he could to upset and frustrate attempts by the constant waves of immigrants to maintain their traditional Church structures and parish lives within their own communities.  Carroll and his disciples waged constant war against German, Polish, Italian, and other priests and lay people who sought to maintain the traditions of the Faith from Europe. They insisted all immigrants should be swiftly and thoroughly “Americanized,” bowing to the unique genius of the Constitution and the American(ist) way of life.

Thus, the tragic situation we see today, where the US episcopate demands unconstrained immigration in order to make up for the falling away of tens of millions of Catholics, has persisted throughout the Church’s history in this country.  In the latter half of the 19th century, 25-30% of recent Catholic immigrants fell away from the Faith within 25  years of arriving in the US.  Most became some flavor of protestant.  This has been the regular reality of Catholic life in these United States, save perhaps for the brief period of the 1920s to the 1950s when the Catholic Church appeared much more orthodox, reliable, and robust compared to its rapidly collapsing mainline protestant counterparts.  This was about the only period in US history when, subtracting immigration, there was a net inflow of converts into the Church, as against Catholics falling away.

The following quote sums up the situation in Amchurch circa 1900 rather nicely, from The Star-Spangled Heresy: Americanism, pp. 186-188 (I add comments):

…[D]efenders of the Faith had little difficulty linking Americanism to communism, not to mention Semitism, Protestantism, Masonry, and outright Satanism. A Catholic paper in Paris accused Cardinal Gibbons [I haven’t even touched on Gibbons, but he is perhaps the principal villain in the Americanist story] of partiality to masonry on the basis of his persistent defense of such organizations as the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias……….all condemned by Rome, and of secret societies generally in the States. The French Canadian Jules Tardivel dubbed America “the eldest daughter of the sect,” and Leo XIII’s Belgian biographer stated its true center was located here.

In 1899  Leo XIII was finally forced to write Testem Benevolentiae condemning Americanism specifically as a heresy.  In the face of the threatened withdrawal of American support for Peter’s Pence, however, [the American Church, like the German Church today, routinely used its massive financial resources to threaten Rome with denial of funds – and this, at a particularly critical time when the Papal States had been stolen by Garibaldi and the Church was in desperate financial straits] none of the heretics was designated by name, although everyone knew who they were and had expected them to be formally excommunicated. Robert Cross relates that one Roman periodical, referring to the “satanic spirit” of America, exclaimed: “Put the mask aside, O Monsignor Ireland: bow down before the Vicar of Jesus Christ, Cardinal Gibbons, and deny the blasphemous theories of the heretical sect which are embodied in you!” Civilta Cattolica dubbed the heresy:

…….purely American…….employed at first to indicate in general the ‘new idea’ which was to rejuvenate the Church, and in particular the ‘new crusade’ against the uncompromising position of Catholics of the ‘old creed.’

All the heresiarchs loudly disclaimed being tainted by what they termed a ‘phantom heresy’ existing largely in the minds of the Curia or at best in a few French dioceses, and they continued on as before. [Indeed – an encyclical sent to the lead American cardinal, talking only about the United States, only applied to a few foreign dioceses, and those strangely French.  But do we not see the exact same kinds of dissembling tactics today, especially in the US episcopate?] The American flag was displayed ever more prominently at altar-side, as if also intended for worship, despite the frowns of Rome, which steadfastly refused approval for the tricolor within the sanctuary.  Episcopal progress in socialism was steady. At the close of the First World War the American bishops under the leadership of Msgr. John Ryan became so convinced that “so-called  ’socialistic’ measures were practically synonymous with Catholic moral principles” – to quote a popular Catholic history textbook – that they boldly embarked on their own social program. Advocated were minimum wage legislation, unemployment and old age insurance, prohibition of child labor, legal protection of unions, national employment service, public housing for workers, control of monopolies, curtailment of ‘excess’ profits, participation of labor in management and wider distribution of stock ownership.  Christ was now harnessed to the Revolution as to His Cross. [These efforts were through the “National Catholic War Council,” supposedly set up to help fight WWI, but then extended after the war as the National Catholic Welfare Conference. The first permanent episcopal conference in Church history, it was banned by Pius XI but later, of course, was given approval at Vatican II, where the Church awoke and groaned to find itself Americanist.  Of course, episcopal conferences have turned into  charnal houses of sex abuse, graft, larceny, and radicalization political agendas, along with constantly reducing the Faith to the lowest possible common denominator, in concert with ‘right democratic principles.’]

……[I]n 1928 indulgent America permitted a Catholic, Al Smith, to run for the Presidency for the first time in the nation’s history. Ten years later in Madrid the anti-Catholic writer George Seldes was able to say in The Catholic Crisis:

The future of Catholicism may lie in America because of the growing Catholic population, the large increase of bishoprics, the financial support of the Church which is said to be larger than that contributed by the rest of the world.  But it may lie in America because America is the stronghold of democracy. American Catholicism is the Catholicism of the famous credo of Al Smith……which states that the Syllabus of Pius IX which is anti-liberal, anti-democratic, and in a way anti-American, has ‘no dogmatic force’ as Cardinal Newman said long ago……..[I hope Cardinal Newman did not say that.  I don’t know]

By the Smithian system of dialectics no Catholic need fight Socialism, or Communism, or pay any attention to Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno, Casti Connubii, Lux Veritatis, or the late Pope’s utterances in favor of Franco’s Spain, if he individually disagrees.  The American Catholic, according to its most important spokesman, can take it or leave it. [The primacy of the individual conscience, circa 1930!] However, no Catholic outside the United States has ever expressed the same views and remained in the Church.

Thus, the Americanist heresy is at the root of the crisis in the Church, and contrary to the relatively conservative body most Americans are propagandized to believe it is, has been one of the key driving forces behind the revolution against the Church conducted principally by those given sacred trust to promote and defend the authentic Faith.  Unfortunately, Americanism is deeply rooted in the basic patriotism of the United States, and so constantly finds new adherents.  It’s a difficult and tragic thing to find one at odds with one’s country, but that is exactly the position thinking, informed, believing Catholics find themselves in.  That this nation has produced so precious few of that group only demonstrates how insidiously effective that propaganda is.

They have now. Apparently, As Bishop O’Gorman once wrote his friends from Rome, “Americanism, which was supposed to be our defeat, has been turned into a glorious victory. We are surely on top.” The lucrative waters of the Potomac were now flowing freely into the Tiber. Only a faithful few in the US today recall that their Lord “suffered under Pontius Pilate,” after Pilate and the “religious” Herod became friends. “If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…….The servant is not greater than his master.” And “no man can serve two masters” (Jn xvi:20).

Mindful of this difficulty, Hilaire Belloc predicted the “necessary” conflict between the civil state and the Catholic Church in America. He said in so many words, of course, “the Catholic Church in America.” He was not referring to the star-spangled “American Catholic Church” which is after all only a modernist sect of long standing, with a large growing membership. No conflict with Pilate should arise there. [Since, after all, for Cardinal Gibbons and most current and historical American bishops, their greatest fear was and is that they might ever give offense to the protestant majority, and especially the formerly protestant but now thoroughly secularized and leftist political-cultural elite.]

————End Quote————-

This post is already very long, and I hope to get out one much shorter post today, but I’ll conclude with this: it is a profoundly unsettling realization to make, that one’s Faith, and one’s country and culture, are totally at odds.  It is even more discomfiting to realize that, in many ways, only one can ultimately survive.  It was, of course, fear of this realization that drove the thoroughly American bishops and priests (again, most all of them, strangely enough, Irish) to attempt to posit a typically American ‘new and improved’ church, one that fit in fine with the surrounding culture and political landscape, one that wouldn’t make any waves, and one that would rarely, if ever, expose its practitioners to persecution.

But Our Blessed Lord told us that if we love Him, the world will hate us, and that if we are faithful, it will persecute us like it persecuted Him.  This is the narrow path of salvation.  The Church in the US, by and large (there were numerous countervailing elements, especially German), chose the wide, soft, easy road.

We all know how those two stories end.


1. Richard Malcolm - November 15, 2019

“He insisted, for instance, on the election of bishops, and even wanted election of priests, to go along with a vernacular liturgy and many other items protestants/masons would like to see changed regarding Church Doctrine.”

Just a caution here. I share your assessment of John Carroll, but we also need to recall that direct papal nomination of bishops is for the most part a phenomenon of early and late modernity – and not only because poor communications and travel made it difficult for popes to do so before that. Carroll’s mutation of (and modernist motivation for) this ancient practice should not allow us to lose sight of that.

It’s relevant now given that we have moved into the unfamiliar situation in more than a few American dioceses wherein American clergy would pretty arguably elect bishops more conservative than anyone Francis would appoint. I am not suggesting that the patristic practice of election would have averted the modernist crisis, mind you, but it *could* have enabled some small but noteworthy number of dioceses to fend off modernists appointed by Rome to demolish them. There is a reason why the SSPX is so passionate about retaining all authority to name its superior generals from within.

Obviously, where a diocese has fallen thoroughly into heresy and moral corruption, election of bishops will produce very bad results. But if you’ve reached that point anyway (as so many dioceses in North America and Europe did by the 1970’s), even a St Pius X is going to struggle to turn that diocese around with his appointment power – assuming he can even find a worthy prelate for the job.

Tantumblogo - November 15, 2019

I actually look at his demand to elect/appoint his own bishops – basically every bishop chosen until his death was hand-picked by Carroll – as one of the least of his sins. But it was consistent with his anti-Roman attitude, and his adherence to revolutionary philosophy. To be fair, he was a regular Liguori compared to what came later, like Gibbons and Ireland. They are the reason the generally reliable Baltimore Catechism is very weak on extra ecclesiam nulla salus and the imperative to always be evangelizing in this country.

Richard Malcolm - November 16, 2019

“They are the reason the generally reliable Baltimore Catechism is very weak on extra ecclesiam nulla salus and the imperative to always be evangelizing in this country.”

You know, I’d never thought about that.

2. aroamingcatholicny - November 15, 2019

Add also the Slavic Byzantine Rite Catholics who were subjected, by Archbishop John J. Ireland & James Cardinal Gibbons, to decimation & Persecution of their Rite.

Tantumblogo - November 15, 2019

Certainly. I absolutely did not mean to give a complete list.

3. Trg - November 15, 2019

The bishops are rotten all over not just US. I still rather live here than a sh#& hole like Mexico. No country is or ever was perfect. Only in the heavenly kingdom.

4. Mr T - November 15, 2019

Yeah. My mother’s family circa 1921 when the youngest child was born: Two Catholic parents and 10 Catholic kids. My Mother’s family circa 1960: Four children have not left the Church. Two children have Catholic spouses. Two children have more than two kids. Americanism, hooray.

5. ms. in DFW - November 16, 2019


“Americanist” open borders bishops ?

Telling us hispanics are the future of the Church in the U.S. for my entire 50 + years here in Texas.

Just elected Mexican-born bishop from L.A. as USCCB president ?


I ain’t buyin’ that “Americanism” is a bad thing,
Or that the bishops are “Americanists.”

ms. in DFW - November 16, 2019
Richard Malcolm - November 16, 2019

The (new) problem is, there is now a new (and dominant) strain of Americanism that happily embraces an identitarian social justice narrative. Counterintuitive as that may seem to you from the name.

But Tantum is right: American was rightly diagnosed by Leo XIII, and it has been hard at work in the Church in America for over two centuries.

Arthur McGowan - November 17, 2019

“Americanism” in a theological context is not MAGA. It isn’t even patriotism. The worst No-Borders, NeverTrump bishops are all “Americanists,” even as they labor to destroy the actual America by importing millions of people who vote 80% pro-abortion.

Tim - November 19, 2019

“Americanism” has nothing to do with being an American by nationality. It is a heresy of indiffertism of religions at its core. These Mexican bishops hold as much error and heresy as the white ones. Are you Novus Ordo or are you Catholic. From your comments it’s difficult to tell.

6. jamesthe1st - November 16, 2019

Another good Catholic historian to read, Dr. John C. Rao. He has some very excellent writings on the problem of the spread of Americanism. Here is a good article by him. http://jcrao.freeshell.org/AmCatPolitics.html

Tim - November 17, 2019

Dr. Rao is excellent. We gad the good fortune to walk the Chartres Pilgrimage with hom and Michael Matt in 2013 and 2014.

7. Arthur McGowan - November 17, 2019

Americans have rejected EENS because it been presented to them as interpreted by the Feeneyites. Namely, as the ugly, baseless belief that all non-Catholics go to Hell. This is not what the church has taught. EENS means that outside the Catholic Church there are no sacraments. That is, the Church does NOT know who does and does not go to Hell, but she does know that no one has any OBJECTIVE reason to hope for salvation in the absence of the sacraments.

The heresy taught by Vatican II and ALL popes since 1965 lies NOT in hoping that at least some non-Catholics might be saved, but in teaching that non-Catholic “churches” are in “partial communion” with the Church, and that non-Catholic RITUALS and beliefs are channels of grace–that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit ACT through them. That Lutherans or Anglicans receive grace precisely by the act of receiving Lutheran or Anglican “communion.” Or Catholic Communion, etc.

The heresy that all persons and religious groupings have “sacraments” and exist in varying DEGREES of communion with the Church explains the post-Vatican-II mania for CORPORATE-level “convergence” of religions, accompanied by hostility to “conversion”–and outright condemnation of “convert-making” in the manner of Fulton Sheen.

Susan from the Parish Council - November 19, 2019

I’m so glad Vatican II is inclusive. The Church no longer teaches that old nonsense. Barb told me the other day at Taize service, that we are all human channels of grace.

8. ms. in DFW - November 17, 2019

rather confusing

“Americanism” — a misnamed “Phantom Heresy”
Concocted by people sitting in Rome who read a French translation of a biography of Isaac Hecker. Heresy declared by Hearsay ?

Cardinal Gibbons replied that no educated American Catholic believed in anything approaching the Americanist Heresy.

Okay — so you think I’m just too thick-headed to understand the responses to my previous post. I do appreciate the answers nevertheless.

Don’t waste your time trying to explain it to me again or to persuade me to your point of view.

I too can google and read.

jamesthe1st - November 17, 2019

Americanism isn’t a phantom heresy. Leo XIII in his condemnations didn’t name Gibbons directly because his secretary of state was a liberal. They had enough influence in the Vatican to get Leo XIII to weaken his condemnations in Testem Benevolentiae and Longinqua Oceani

Americanism is clear and simple. It is simply the error that the Church must learn from America instead of fulfilling its mission to be the teacher of the nations as Jesus says in Matthew. As Leo XIII said in Testem Benevolentiae “The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them.”

The main belief of the Americanists is say that the American social arrangement of not having the state not recognize recognize the Catholic faith as the true religion is good in principle. By accepting the non establishment clause as good in principle, the Americanist will work to make all things fit this notion.
Do note this: Catholic can support the non establishment clause as expedient in the current situation, but he can’t say that this is how it ought to be.
To say the non-establishement of the Church is good in principle is against Catholic doctrine. To hold this is to deny that the state has the obligation from justice to acknowledge the Divine Revealed law of God, and make its laws to be in accord with this law. Pius IX condemned infallibly the notion that we can have have laws and an ethics only dealing with the realm of the natural law, while ignoring the Divine revealed law of God.

This heresy is very dangerous because when it is accepted as true, the whole faith will be compromised. This happens because now the Catholic has to make the faith fit in to his pluralistic society. Anything that sounds like it is putting the Catholic faith above any other belief is deemed a violation of this non-establishment principle.
Thus we have the mess of the current day Church. Doctrine has been watered down to make it less threatening to the pluralistic mind. The liturgy had to be changed to make it more palpable to the Protestant sensibilities of America. The bishops do not teach the faith, but rather run their dioceses like a business with many assets to protect as to teach the truth is to invite hardship. A new notion of ecumenism had to be introduced to break Catholics out of their old habit of not having anything to do with heretics, which gets in the way of business.

None of this means we as Americans cannot love our country with a just patriotism. What this means though is that we must strive to convert our country to the Catholic faith, not accept its errors as true.

ms. in DFW - November 19, 2019


Thank you for the time and effort that went into your lengthy reply.

” What this means though is that we must strive to convert our country to the Catholic faith”

I’ve never believed anything but that. I wonder how I managed to figure that out if our leadership has always supposedly been so heretical and crappy.

“the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions”

I would expect that this happens in every age and culture. In that case, I’m not sure why they refer specifically to our country.

Guess they had some specific things in mind.
Yes I took a look at a summary of TB.

I don’t need a response. Ya’ll have better things to do I would think. I usually do.

Tim - November 19, 2019

So, you have better things to do? Please go do them and stop spewing your nonsense here. One good use of your time would be to become Catholic.

ms. in DFW - November 21, 2019

I am a Catholic, cradle Catholic.
Are you the Tim that’s a veterinarian ?

I hope you are more polite to your animal clients than you are in the comment to me. Else I wouldn’t patronize you.

Tantumblogo - November 22, 2019

No he’s not a vet. And not local to DFW.

Tim - November 22, 2019

Well little “ms.”, I am polite to most but your smug liberalism disqualifies you. Just from using the term “ms.” tells me your not a serious Catholic as that is a satanic feminist term to undermine marriage and family. What I do for a living is none of your damned business. You need some schooling in Truth. So why don’t you go hold hands with Miss Suzy-Q and sing “On Eagles Wings”. In other words, buzz off….that’s as polite as I get for people like you. Have a swell Thanksgiving!

9. CATHOLIC HEADLINES 11.17.19 – The Stumbling Block - November 18, 2019


10. ms. in DFW - November 23, 2019



Everything you said is incorrect.

Except for the part that if you don’t want to make your living public that’s your prerogative.

P.S. Jesus said leave a blessing not a curse.
Even the pagans love those who love them.

You’re in my prayers, whether you want to be or not.

Tim - November 23, 2019

“Everything you said is incorrect.”….PROVE IT.
I don’t really care if people know what I do for a living, you got the response you did because you are nosey and obnoxious.
I didn’t curse you, grow some thicker skin, your posts and little internet fake name give the impression that you are a liberal.
Your sentiment of praying for me may be kind but I’m not sure who you pray to with your radical feminist moniker. I will pray to the True Triune God for you however.

“P.S. Jesus said leave a blessing not a curse.”
You hardly come across as leaving a blessing. if you are a cradle Catholic then why do you spew stuff that gives people doubt about your seriousness as a Catholic?

Have a Blessed Advent and Christmas.

P.S. If you must know, I am a veterinarian and I am not a DFW local(I’ve had layovers at DFW, that’s it). Just because I get into heated exchanges with other Catholics on important issues on occasion does not mean I am rude to clients, employees, etc. Best not to paint with a broad brush.

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