by Joseph P. Duggan
It is accepted wisdom that the newly beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) and his associates in the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement were influences in the faith formation of members of the Episcopal Church in the United States, including some who followed Newman's path of conversion to Roman Catholicism. Less appreciated are the stories of made-in-the-USA Anglo-Catholics and Roman Catholic converts, contemporary or even antecedent to Newman, and probably influential in the Cardinal's own spiritual odyssey.
Though there may not have been a "movement" in America of scope, celebrity, academic prestige and literary heft to compare with that of the Oxford divines, there were notable moves by individuals that deserve their place alongside Newman's. To give two clichés some well deserved mangling, not all of the great 19th-century Crossings of the Tiber took place Across the Pond.
During the early days of the American Republic, when much of the Empire State was still frontier territory, Christian clergy of every church and denomination were pressed to emphasize pastoral duties above intellectual pursuits. John Henry Hobart (1775-1830), an Anglo-Catholic and one of the first leaders of the Episcopal Church following American Independence, was exceptional in his integration of scholarship with pastoral and charitable endeavor. As assistant minister at fashionable Trinity Church in lower Manhattan, he inspired a parishioner, a young society matron named Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, to deepen her faith and involve herself in direct care for the poor. Arguably the most startling event during his tenure at Trinity was Mrs. Seton's conversion in 1805 to the humble parish of St. Peter's, the only Roman Catholic church in New York City.
As Episcopal Bishop of New York from 1816 until his death, Hobart became founding dean of the General Theological Seminary in New York (1817). In 1822, he founded the institution in Geneva, New York, today known as Hobart College. That same year he gave his daughter Rebecca's hand in marriage to Levi Silliman Ives (1797-1867) and ordained Ives a deacon. In 1824, Bishop Hobart traveled in Europe, spending several months in England and dining and conversing with young English churchmen including the 23-year-old Newman, then preparing for his ordination as deacon... Read the whole article.
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- ▼ September 2010 (3)
- Fr. Christopher George Phillips
- Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.