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Catholic Church contribution to American history.
Question from Steve B on 2/11/2003:

After contemplating the clergy abuse and "witch hunt" mentality that seems to be permeating the news, I find it sad the number of Catholics who fail to realize the great good and contributions the Catholic Church has made to American society. The church in this country has been blessed with many holy priests and nuns who provided solid moral foundations. If I'm not mistaken, various ideals from Catholic Canon Law was used to help form laws here in the U.S. in the begining.

Answer by Matthew Bunson on 2/12/2003:

I share your sense of frustration at the sanders being perpetrated upon the Catholic Church in the United States and especially upon he entire body of priests in this country. There have been – and are – thousands of priests who have given their lives for the Church. Just three of the many examples that can be noted include Frederic Baraga (1797-1868), a Slovenian missionary bishop who preached among the Native Americans, wrote a Chippewa grammar, dictionary, and prayer book, and was the first bishop of Marquette. There was also Pierre Jean De Smet (1801-1873), a Belgian-born Jesuit and one of the greatest missionaries among the Native Americans of the northwestern U.S. One might also note Demetrius Gallitzin (1770-1840) a Russian prince and convert who labored for forty years in the Allegheny Mountains establishing the faith in Central Pennsylvania.

And then there are the priests – the pastors, teachers, and chaplains – who ministered for decades in all corners of the American Church. They served and died without great fanfare and often with little gratitude, but for all of us who have grown up in the Church, they were omnipresent. Everyone has a story about their beloved priests, and their legacy is one worth remembering and defending.

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