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Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore
Archdiocese of the Catholic Church; premier see of the United States
The Archdiocese of Baltimore is the oldest diocese in the United States whose see city was entirely within the nation's boundaries when the United States declared its independence in 1776. The Holy See granted the Archbishop of Baltimore the right of precedence in the nation at liturgies, meetings, and Plenary Councils on August 15, 1859. Although the Archdiocese of Baltimore does not enjoy "primatial" status, it is the premier episcopal see of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America, as "prerogative of place".
Within the archdiocese are 518,000 Catholics, 145 parishes, 545 priests (244 diocesan priests, 196 priests resident in diocese), 159 permanent deacons, 55 brothers, 803 sisters, 205 lay extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, five hospitals, 28 aged homes, 7 diocesan/parish high schools, 13 private high schools, and 4 Catholic colleges/universities.
Maryland being one of the few regions of the colonial United States with a substantial Roman Catholic population, Pope Pius VI proceeded to erect the Prefecture Apostolic of the United States encompassing the entire territory of the United States, with its see in Baltimore, and appointed Fr. Carroll as the first Prefect Apostolic on November 26, 1784. The same pope erected the Diocese of Baltimore, the first diocese in the United States, in the territory of the prefecture apostolic on November 6, 1789. In 1790, Father Carroll traveled to England where he was ordained and consecrated as a bishop in Lulworth Castle in Dorset, by Bishop Charles Walmesley, O.S.B. Carroll subsequently ordained the first American-born Catholic priest, William Matthews, was ordained at St. Peter's Pro-Cathedral in the Diocese of Baltimore in 1800.
The archdiocese continued to lose territory through the 19th century as the church evolved and grew in the United States.
Pope Pius VII erected of the Diocese of Charleston (encompassing the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia) and the Diocese of Richmond (encompassing the state of Virginia except two counties of the Eastern Shore region) on July 11, 1820;, making both dioceses additional suffragans of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Pope Gregory XVI erected the Vicariate Apostolic of the Oregon Territory, taking its territory from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Archdiocese of Quebec and making it an additional suffragan of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, on 1 December 1843.
The federal government having retroceded the city of Alexandria from the District of Columbia to Virginia in 1846, Pope Pius IX transferred that territory from the Archdiocese of Baltimore to the Diocese of Richmond on 15 August 1858.
Pope Pius IX also erected the Diocese of Wilmington (Delaware), taking the state of Delaware and the Eastern Shore region of Maryland and Virginia from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and making it a suffragan of the same archdiocese, on March 3, 1868.
On July 22, 1939, Pope Pius XII erected the Archdiocese of Washington, taking the territory of the District of Columbia and Montgomery, Prince George, St. Mary's, Calvert, and Charles Counties from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and naming the Archbishop of Baltimore, Michael J. Curley also the first Archbishop of Washington so the two archdioceses remained united in persona episcopi (in the person of the bishop). This action established the current territory of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Archbishop Curly used the title of Archbishop of Baltimore-Washington during this period, although the title of the archdiocese never formally changed. Eight years later, on 15 November 1947, the same pope appointed Patrick A. O'Boyle as the second Archbishop of Washington, thus separating the jurisdictions completely. The Archdiocese of Washington thus became the only archdiocese in the United States that was not also a metropolitan see, and this status endured until Pope Paul VI elevated it to a metropolitan see, designating the Diocese of St. Thomas as its only suffragan, on 12 October 1965.
The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Baltimore was the only metropolitan archdiocese in the United States from its elevation to that status on 8 April 1808 until Pope Pius IX elevated the Diocese of St. Louis to that status on 20 July 1847, so the entire country formed just one ecclesiastical province for most of that period. The same pope elevated the Diocese of Cincinnati, the Diocese of New Orleans, the Diocese of New York, and the Diocese of Oregon City to metropolitan archdioceses, on 19 July 1850, substantially reducing the area of the Metropolitan Province of Baltimore. As the nation's population grew and waves of Catholic immigrants arrived, the Holy See continued to erect new dioceses and elevate certain others to the status of metropolitan archdioceses, which simultaneously became metropolitan sees of new ecclesiastical provinces. Thus, the Province of Baltimore gradually became smaller, diminishing to the states of Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia and the counties of Maryland that are not part of the Archdiocese of Washington. At that time, the province consisted of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Diocese of Richmond, the Diocese of Wheeling, and the Diocese of Wilmington.
On 28 May 1974, Pope Paul VI (1) transferred the two counties of the Eastern Shore region of Virginia from the Diocese of Wilmington to the Diocese of Richmond, (2) erected the Diocese of Arlington, taking the northern portion of the state of Virginia from the Diocese of Richmond and making it a suffragan of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Baltimore, and (3) adjusted the boundary between the Diocese of Richmond and the Diocese of Wheeling, which Pope Pius IX had erected in territory taken from the Diocese of Richmond and made a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Baltimore on 19 July 1850, to conform to the Virginia-West Virginia state line by transferred the territory of the Diocese of Wheeling that was in Virginia to the Diocese of Richmond and the territory of the Diocese of Richmond that was in West Virginia to the Diocese of Wheeling. A few months later, on 21 August 1974, the same pope changed the title of the Diocese of Wheeling to Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. These actions established the present configuration of the Metropolitan Province of Baltimore, which now consists of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Diocese of Alexandria, the Diocese of Richmond, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, and the Diocese of Wilmington.
The archdiocese began to publish its diocesan newspaper, The Baltimore Catholic Review in 1913 as the successor to the earlier diocesan publication The Catholic Mirror, published 1833 to 1908. The name has since been shortened to The Catholic Review. It changed from weekly to biweekly publication in 2012 and transformed again to a monthly magazine in December 2015.
Plenary councils of Baltimore
The Plenary Councils of Baltimore were three national meetings of Catholic bishops in the United States in 1852, 1866 and 1884 in Baltimore, Maryland.
First Plenary Council of Baltimore (1852): among the decrees were one that required immigrant priests to provide a letter of reference from their previous bishops, and a requirement that marriage banns be published.
Second Plenary Council of Baltimore (1866): promulgated the custom of the Churching of women, the blessing of women after giving birth, focusing on blessing and thanksgiving; and set the age for first communion at ten years of age, as well as, handling other ecclesiastical matters.
Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1884): was presided over by Archbishop of Baltimore James Gibbons as Apostolic Delegate. It set six Holy Days of Obligation, and appointed a commission to draft a catechism, and addressed other subjects.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - Seton founded the first American congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1809. A year later, she opened the first free Catholic school for girls in the United States. Many trace the modern Catholic school system in America to Seton's Emmitsburg institution. In 1975, Seton became the first American-born person to be canonized a saint.
Mother Mary Lange - Born in Cuba, Elizabeth Clarisse Lange migrated to United States in the early 19th century. She eventually settled in Baltimore and opened a free school in her home where she educated black children who faced intense prejudice and were denied access to most schools. In 1828, Lange founded the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first sustained religious order for women of African descent in the United States. She also opened what would later become St. Frances Academy - the first Catholic School for African-American children in the U.S. In 1991, the Catholic Church opened a cause of sainthood for Lange, naming her a "servant of God."
Sexual abuse cases
In 2016, the Archdiocese of Baltimore confirmed that settlements had been paid to past students of Seton Keough High School who were sexually abused by Father A. Joseph Maskell, a priest at the school from 1967 to 1975. In January 1970, a popular English and drama teacher at Archbishop Keough, Sister Cathy Cesnik, was found murdered in the outskirts of the city of Baltimore. Her murder was never solved and is the topic of a true crime documentary The Keepers that was released on Netflix on May 19, 2017. Maskell, who died in 2001, was long fingered as a lead suspect in her murder. Though never formally charged, the Archdiocese of Baltimore settled with 16 of Maskell's possible victims for a total of $472,000 by 2017.
A report released by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on August 14, 2018, singled out Bishop and future Cardinal William Keeler for transferring abusive Pennsylvania priest Father Arthur Long from the Diocese of Harrisburg to the Archdiocese of Baltimore. On August 15, 2018, one day after the Pennsylvania report was published, the Archdiocese of Baltimore announced that a pre K-8 Catholic school scheduled to be opened in 2018 and named for Keeler would no longer bear his name. Despite a denial from Long's religious order and the Archdiocese of Baltimore that Long abused children while serving the Archdiocese of Baltimore, a leaked church memo written in 1995, the year Long was removed from ministry, revealed that accusations of "inappropriate behavior" had surfaced against Long in 1991 and 1992 during his time in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and the Pennsylvania report noted that Keeler was notified of accusations of Long sexually abusing children when he was serving as Bishop of Harrisburg in 1987. Long died in 2004.
In March 2019, Archbishop Lori banned accused former Archdiocese of Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Gordon Bennett from practicing any form of ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the suffraganDiocese of Wheeling-Charleston. In April 2019, the Archdiocese of Baltimore added the names of 23 deceased clergy to a list of accused clergy which the Archdiocese published in 2002. Long, a Jesuit, was among those added to the list.
"Prerogative of place"
The Archdiocese of Baltimore is led by the Archbishop of Baltimore and a corps of auxiliary bishops who assist in the administration of the archdiocese as part of a larger curia. Sixteen men have served as Archbishop of Baltimore; As of 2012[update], the archbishop is William E. Lori.
The archbishop is concurrently the pastor of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland in north Baltimore (donated by Thomas J O'Neill) and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (old Baltimore Cathedral). The older cathedral is located on Cathedral Hill above downtown, near the Mount Vernon-Belvedere neighborhood. Both are called co-cathedrals. The archbishop appoints a rector for each of the co-cathedrals. The basilica, built in 1806-1821, is the first cathedral constructed in the United States (within its boundaries at the time). It is considered the mother church of the United States. During the time from the first bishop John Carroll's installation in 1790 to the dedication of the old Baltimore Cathedral in 1821, the bishop's throne (cathedra) was at St. Peter's Church (first parish in the diocese, founded 1770). It was located two blocks south on the northwestern corner of North Charles Street and West Saratoga Street, serving as the pro-cathedral with its attached rectory, school and surrounding cemetery. Old St. Peter's was across the street from the "Mother Church of the Anglican Church" in Baltimore, Old St. Paul's Church, with four successive buildings at the site beginning in 1730 at the southeast corner of Charles and Saratoga streets in downtown overlooking the harbor. St. Peter's Roman Catholic parish was razed in 1841.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore is one of only three United States dioceses that have two churches serving as cathedrals in the same city, the others being the Diocese of Honolulu, and the Diocese of Brooklyn. Other dioceses with two cathedrals have them in separate cities.