Today in Catholic History – The Second Plenary Council in Baltimore

On 21 October 1866, the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore came to an end. It had begun on the 7th of October and was presided over by Archbishop Spalding of Baltimore. Present at the council were seven archbishops, thirty-nine bishops or their procurators, two abbots and President of the United States Andrew Johnson. It was designed to show the unity of the Catholic faith in the United States after the Civil War which saw Catholics fighting on both sides.

Among the decrees of the council were condemnations against religious indifferentism and the “abuse of magnetism” for “superstitious and illicit purposes” such as attempting to fortell the future. The council also called for regular provincial councils, for bishops to regularly visit their parishes and for priests to fully explain the doctrine of the Church to the faithful.


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