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Carroll, John - Timeline Biography

Time Period

01-08-1735 - 12-03-1815

Description

John Carroll was influential in expanding the Catholic Church in the United States. He became an ordained Jesuit priest in 1765. After serving on a diplomatic committee during the Revolutionary War, Carroll became a prominent leader in the campaign to build the Catholic Church in the United States. In response to prompting on the part of Carroll and several other priests to officially organize the American church, the Vatican chose Carroll to lead the country’s Catholic mission in 1784. In 1789, it named him the Bishop of the Diocese of Baltimore, itself the first Catholic diocese in the United States. In 1808, he became Archbishop of Baltimore. At the time of his death in 1815, the Catholic Church in the United States had grown to five dioceses.

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Narrative

John Carroll was born in 1735 to one of the most prominent Catholic families of Maryland. He was the cousin of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Carroll was ordained a Jesuit priest in French Flanders in 1765, taught throughout Europe for several years, and returned to Maryland eight years later after Pope Clement XIV suppressed his religious order.

In 1776, Carroll was appointed by the Continental Congress to be part of a diplomatic committee, along with Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and his cousin Charles, which was tasked with attracting Canada to the American fight for independence. After the war, Carroll became a prominent leader in the campaign to build the Catholic Church in the United States. In response to prompting on the part of Carroll and several other priests to officially organize the American church, the Vatican chose Carroll to lead the country’s Catholic mission in 1784. In 1789, it named him the Bishop of the Diocese of Baltimore, itself the first Catholic diocese in the United States, following an election by his fellow priests; he became Archbishop of Baltimore in 1808. As bishop, Carroll oversaw the founding of Georgetown Academy (the present-day Georgetown University) as well as St. Mary’s Seminary and St. Joseph’s College in Maryland.

Functioning as a predecessor of sorts to Bishop John England of the Diocese of Charleston, Carroll became an early proponent of church synods and a degree of republicanism in local churches, though still maintaining the power of the hierarchy and reinforcing the ultimate primacy of the papacy. He oversaw the expansion of the institutional Catholic Church into the Northeast, New England, the South, and the Appalachian West. He also oversaw the creation of several new dioceses, which were fueled in large part by the arrival of European missionary priests, including Stephen Badin, the first Catholic priest ordained by Carroll in the United States. At the time of his death in 1815, the church in the United States had grown to five dioceses.

Religious Groups

Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Religious Family Tree

Events

Diocese of Baltimore

Related Dictionary Terms

Archbishop, Bishop, Catholicism, Roman, Church, Diocese, Priest, Religious Order, Seminary, Synod

Photographs

John Carroll portrait- Internet Archive- from Biographical Sketch of the Most Rev. John Carroll by John Carroll Brent
John Carroll portrait- Internet Archive- from Biographical Sketch of the Most Rev. John Carroll by John Carroll Brent

John Carroll laying the cornerstone for Cathedral of the Assumption- Wikimedia Commons
John Carroll laying the cornerstone for Cathedral of the Assumption- Wikimedia Commons

John Carroll portrait- Internet Archive- from The Life and Times of John Carroll by Peter Guilday
John Carroll portrait- Internet Archive- from The Life and Times of John Carroll by Peter Guilday

John Carroll certificate of consecration- Wikimedia Commons
John Carroll certificate of consecration- Wikimedia Commons

Book/Journal Source(s)

Dolan, Jay P., 1985. The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
O'Brien, David, 1989. Public Catholicism New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History New York: Facts on File.

Web Page Contributor

William S. Cossen
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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