Plenary Councils of Baltimore
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Time Period
5/9/1852  - 12/7/1884
The Plenary Councils of Baltimore were a series of three meetings of the American Catholic bishops in 1852, 1866, and 1884. At these councils, the bishops implemented policies affecting the country’s Catholic Church, which was growing rapidly due to a large influx of European immigrants. The First Plenary Council, led by Archbishop Francis Patrick Kenrick of Baltimore, encouraged parishes to erect schools for Catholic children and curtailed the powers of the lay trustee system, which had been a source of controversy in the first half of the 19th century. The Second Plenary Council, overseen by Archbishop Martin John Spalding of Baltimore, produced a law code for the American church, created new dioceses, and supported immigrant devotionalism. The Third Plenary Council, led by Archbishop James Gibbons of Baltimore, ordered parishes to open schools and worked to establish a Catholic university, an English-language catechism, and a system of support for black Catholics.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links

Gibbons, James
Ireland, John
Spalding, John Lancaster
Spalding, Martin John

Third Plenary Council of Baltimore- English Wikipedia

Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore, title page- Hathi Trust

Francis Kenrick, apostolic delegate for first council- Internet Archive- History of the Catholic Church in the United States by John Gilmary Shea

John Spalding, apostolic delegate for second council- Internet Archive- from The Irish Catholic Colonization Association of the United States by Mary Evangela Henthorne

James Gibbons, apostolic delegate for third council- Internet Archive- from Memorial Volume of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore
Book/Journal Source(s)
Fanning, William, 1907. "Plenary Councils of Baltimore". New York: Robert Appleton Company.Notes: In The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2. .)
Spalding, Thomas W., 1995. The Premier See: A History of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 1789-1994. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Web Source(s)
Acta et decreta Concilii plenarii Baltimorensis tertii. A.D. MDCCCLXXXIV. [Acts and Decrees of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore. A.D. 1884.]
Web Page Contributor
William S. Cossen
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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