Controlling Priests and Congregations
Substantial authority was exercised by Father John Baptist Causse as he proved to have fulfilled the frontier priest's key responsibilities. However, he also took advantage of his position for personal gain. Because of indications of rebellion and how he had defied his bishop, the immigrant cleric was able to epitomize a behavioral pattern that would initiate how the early republic's church officials would experience certain problems. Because of the priest shortage, the church's undeveloped structure, and the various expansion problems in the urban East, American congregations attracted ill-advised and aggressive clergy during the period between the 1780s and the 1820s. These priests advocated factions, tested episcopal authority, and initiated public controversies. This chapter looks into the various measures taken in attempting to control these priests and their congregations.
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