Wednesday, May 31, 2006

An interesting read

The May isue of Columbia, the magazine of the Knghts of Columbus, carries this article by Bishop William E. Lori:
The recently published biography of Father Michael J. McGivney, Parish Priest (William Morrow, $24.95 US/ $32.95 CAN), helps us better understand the world in which Catholic Irish immigrants of the late-19th century were living. Their families left Ireland to escape starvation, chronic poverty, and unremitting religious persecution. But even after they arrived in the United States, they continued to face poverty, discrimination and religious persecution. Although Irish immigrants were in the ranks of those who built the infrastructure of the United States, they suffered not only for their Irish heritage but also for their Roman Catholic faith.

Even in Father McGivney’s time, the Church in the United States was living in the shadow of the Know-Nothing Party. The Know-Nothings believed that all were created equal — except for Catholics, foreigners and African-Americans. When questioned about their political philosophy, members of this secretive organization replied, “I don’t know.” In fact, however, everyone knew that their main target was Irish Catholics. They did their best to deprive Irish Catholics of their rights. They organized mob violence against them. Above all, they sought to ensure that no Irish Catholic — and no one who married an Irish Catholic — would ever be elected to public office or serve in a responsible government position.

Take a moment and read the entire story.