What effect did the development of the Roman Catholic Church have on Society?


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Recreated Life as We know it! This also sounds like a question in a book....are you in school? Well, in short  IntroductionAlthough Roman Catholics were  not the first Europeans to set foot in what would be the American  colonies, it was not long before they made their presence felt on the  other side of the Atlantic. Since their first arrival in 1513 in what  became Florida, Roman Catholicism has become the largest Christian  tradition in the United States with 25.6 million members. During  its history in America, the pendulum of influence in the Church’s  governance has swung from active lay participation to strict control by  the clergy, and back again. Although hindered in its growth by its  connection with the more traditional European church and the pope, the  American church continues its allegiance to, and guidance from the see  in Rome.Arrival in AmericaThe first Roman Catholics  to enter the American colonies settled in Maryland in 1634. They were  led by its first American bishop, John Carroll, who hailed from a  prominent Maryland  family. Realizing the negative effects of a state-controlled church,  Carroll endorsed the separation of church and state. He believed in a  more private and personal piety than public, clerically led, devotional  services. The church also exemplified an uncommon level of religious  toleration in the face of the Puritans' extremely restrictive beliefs, but Catholics comprised less than one percent of the population during the American Revolution.  When the laity manifested a reluctance or refusal to participate in the  operations of the church and their own private worship, Carroll later  stressed leadership from the clergy, American bishops and the bishops in  Rome. French missionary efforts that penetrated northern tier regions clear to Oregon, and the Spanish discovery and colonization of the Americas, especially regions  that would become southwestern states, left a deep Catholic imprint on  the future country. For instance, near the Pacific Coast, Franciscan  monk Junipero Serra established a system of missions beginning with San Diego, California,  in 1769. He induced Native Americans to abandon their traditional  lifeways and convert to Roman Catholicism. His agenda also included  expanding Spanish landholdings. Lay and clergy membersThe  Catholic Church, the most hierarchical of all Christian traditions,  maintains a complex system of clergy and laity. Deacons, priests, and  bishops comprise the ordained clergy, who are members of the diaconate,  the presbyterate, and the episcopate. Among the hierarchy of bishops,  there are metropolitans, archbishops, patriarchs, and the pope, who is  the bishop of Rome. Cardinals are nearly always bishops, but that was  not always the case. Some cardinals in the past were nonordained  prelates. Unless they originally received Holy Orders to the diaconate,  they were not part of the clergy and could not administer the sacraments  of the church. Among those typically nonordained and considered to be  part of the laity are nuns, friars, and religious brothers and sisters. As  part of the reforms handed down by the Second Vatican Council (1963 to  1965), the laity have since taken a more active role in church  activities and worship services (Mass). Before being ordained a priest,  canon law currently requires an education of two years of scholastic  philosophy and four years of theology. Dogmatic and moral theology, the  Holy Scriptures, and canon law must be studied at a seminary. As  more stringent adherence to Catholic doctrine began to be required, the  once-sanctioned, peculiar practices within monasteries and convents  became limited. In contrast to others in the liturgical family, Catholic  clergy are not allowed to marry.¹Practices and ritualsAs  a part of the liturgical family of churches that adheres to a set form  of ritualistic worship practices, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates  seven sacraments throughout their members’ lives, whereas more recent  Christian denominations usually celebrate only two. From the beginning  of an adherent’s life with Baptism, through the end with the Last Rites,  the church recognizes other such significant landmarks of an adherent’s  life with Confirmation, marriage rites, and ordination through Holy  Orders for those who are so called. By weekly and even daily  distribution of the Eucharist (Communion), Catholics maintain a strong  moral universe. In addition, the church includes an opportunity for its  adherents to be absolved of their sins, through the Sacrament of  Confession.Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, the  Catholic Church became a stabilizing influence during the Medieval  Period. As such, it incorporated a variety of members from all over  Europe who held beliefs unlike those within the Church. Monasteries and  convents were established to serve their specific needs or practices. In  an effort to include all Europeans in the Roman Catholic Church, it  also made allowances for, rather than excommunicate, those who  transgressed canon law. However, at the Vatican Council of 1869  through 1870, the pope was given primary authority over every Catholic  diocese. Also, the church became less tolerant of adherents with  specialized needs and practices. Many left the church or were  excommunicated, owing to those differences and transgressions.Clergy tighten the reins in the 1800sUnlike  the European Roman Catholic tradition, American laypeople were  encouraged to participate in the services in the American church.  However, as the church evolved through the 1800s, power and authority  were directed back to its hierarchy. Accustomed to the leadership role  the clergy played in the European Church, immigrants did not involve  themselves in its operation. They handed over to the local priest many  of their opportunities to help guide the church. Also, according to U.S.  Laws, a bishop could consider himself a “corporation sole;” therefore,  church property was often listed in the bishop's own name. Church of the immigrantsWith  increased immigration during the middle of the 19th century, the church  in America became the “Church of the Immigrants,” whose members clung  to the traditions of their ancestry even though they were strongly  encouraged to change. Rather than rushing to be Americanized, Catholics  instead established their own schools — especially after states passed  laws requiring all children to attend. Values and customs they deemed  necessary for rearing their children were taught and reinforced in those  schools. As part of their value on cultural and social collectivism,  they also established such church organizations as the Rosary Society,  Confraternity of the Sacred Heart, Knights of Columbus, that publicly  expressed an earnest devotion to one’s faith. By the end of the 19th  century, many adherents spent their entire lives centered around the  church because it provided for their “spiritual, recreational,  educational and charitable interests.”Having little contact with Roman Catholicism, except in Maryland and Louisiana,  most African-American churches were overwhelmingly Protestant. Some  blacks, however, did become Catholic, but because of discrimination,  they maintained such segregationist practices as the two separate  communities of black nuns: The Oblate Sisters of Providence in 1829 and  the Holy Family Sisters in 1842. The first black American priest, James  Augustine Healy, was ordained in 1854.As parish priests assumed a  more dominant role in the church, they were expected to be the “cult  leader, confessor, teacher, counselor, social director, administrator,  recreation director, social worker,” and other roles. By the mid-19th  century, lay participation was frowned upon and even condemned for  resisting the hierarchical structure of the church. Because of their  preoccupation with Catholic culture and their willingness to accept and  defer to priestly authority, adherents did not participate in local  politics. Out of a fear of inciting anti-Catholic sentiment² from some  of their Protestant neighbors, parishes took on the role of protector.  The only difficulties in yielding to ecclesial authority occurred at  ethnic parishes where the priest was not of the same ethnic group as his  parishioners.   Toward the end of the 19th century, when many Protestants enthusiastically embraced such social reforms as the Temperance movement and improvements in the labor conditions of those in industrial jobs, Catholics chose to remain uncommitted. It was the rare priest or bishop who encouraged union organization or supported labor reforms. The church did, however, provide for the working poor among their communicants.Modernization during the 1900sBy  the middle of the 20th century, the typical Catholic no longer saw him-  or herself as an immigrant in a hostile country. Even as immigration  from Latin America and the Caribbean increased, most American Catholics  had no memory of the Mother Country or the immigrant outlook. The fear  of anti-Catholic backlash no longer kept them from becoming involved in  politics or social activism. Having elevated their status in society  through good education, occupational success and the accumulation of  wealth, Catholics began to wield power in politics and society.  Traditionally conservative socially, they set their own reform agenda.With the election of Catholic John F. Kennedy to the White House,  Catholics felt more confident politically. Churches no longer felt the  need to shelter their adherents from a society that would discriminate  against them. Support of their social and political platform was given  to them by Pope John XXIII and the reforms brought about by the Second  Vatican Council. The pendulum of laity  participation in the operation  of their parishes swung in the other direction. Forming church councils,  the laity participated in molding policy for the American church.----this should be enough to answer your test question.

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