You must log in or register to comment.

the1whoknocks77 t1_jcl492h wrote

The Cathedral was built shortly after this time and you can really see that it’s built like a fortress. Few windows and they are very high to avoid being smashed.


ActionShackamaxon OP t1_jcl5md4 wrote

St. Michael’s (pictured) and St. Augustine’s were both burned down during these riots. Obviously, subsequently rebuilt. The cathedral’s defensive architecture was a direct response. Notably, the “German” Catholic Church on 5th and Girard (St. Peter’s) was spared during the riots. Definitely a culturally targeted initiative.


Dryheavemorning t1_jcl814n wrote

Any idea of when/if they are going to fix the steeples so they can take down the netting?


PurpleWhiteOut t1_jcl9ln5 wrote

The Basilica is the same way. Barely any windows. Instead there are alcoves for statues where some windows would normally go and filled in window-shaped arches


Lunamothknits t1_jclgplo wrote

I love that I grew up in the area, went to catholic school, and still only learned about the whole event as an adult.


MsBeasley11 t1_jcmom2h wrote

Same. I learned about it from urban trinity. The doc on the history of Catholicism in phila. I heard it mentioned briefly before but thought it involved native Americans not nativists 🤦‍♂️


start260 t1_jclqfgx wrote

There is a wonderful book on the riots called The Fires of Philadelphia by Zachary Schrag. Thanks for this post.


Dryheavemorning t1_jcltdhd wrote

Thanks for the book recommendation, just ordered. I live right around the corner from this and was aware of the riots but interested in learning more.


[deleted] t1_jckuqsx wrote



AbsentEmpire t1_jcl36be wrote

Never forget the Know Nothing movement, this shit ain't new we've seen it flair up repeatedly throughout US history.


StevieSimmons t1_jclfgsi wrote

Geez. This is straight up racist. Imagine saying this about “the Jews”, which pre-WWII was actually pretty common.


Dryheavemorning t1_jclkcnm wrote

> Imagine saying this about “the Jews”, which pre-WWII was actually pretty common.

One of the most successful recording artists of all time recently blamed many ills on "the Jews" and dined with a former President. Unfortunately, it's still pretty common.


thisisntshakespeare t1_jcldbjb wrote

(Not a Philadelphia thing, but...) Recently watched the PBS Show Finding Your Roots with an Irish theme for Jim Gaffigan’s and Jane Lynch’s family histories.

Jim Gaffigan’s story had a very interesting segment regarding the Know-Nothings and Catholic Church burnings during the 1840s. His family lived in Maine at the time, so unfortunately the anti-Catholic sentiment was a national issue.


No-Prize2882 t1_jcmjt4y wrote

Look up Blaine amendment to get a sense how national anti Catholic sentiment was. Sometimes I think it’s understated how hard Kenndy’s presidential win was.


thiswastohard t1_jclnfyn wrote

I believe that is still the deadliest and/or most property damage to occur during a riot in Philly history.


Bunnymomofmany t1_jclmqyh wrote

How quickly people forget that the WS movement are really not their friends.


aquaamber t1_jcmvzat wrote

I walk my dog by this church every single day. Thanks for the history lesson!


phillysleuther t1_jcmrawc wrote

My great x 3 grandfather helped to rebuild St. Michael’s after it was burnt. It was my mom’s parish up until they moved to Cumberland Street in the early 60s.


Hollow_Rant t1_jclyltu wrote

And because of those riots and the state being sick of dealing with Philadelphia, we got not only the Act of Consolidation but the town of Villanova.


poulin t1_jcm37l1 wrote

I can’t find any direct evidence to support this, but the original St. Augustine’s Church and St. Augustine Academy (the predecessor to Villanova University) both burned down in the May ‘44 riots. The Augustinians had already purchased land in Radnor with the intent to build a school there in 1841, so that was already in the works. But I believe the Augustinians would have continued to focus their education mission in the city (with the Radnor school being more of an afterthought) but for the riots. And what we now know as Villanova would have been an urban college located in Old City.


TheBSQ t1_jcmzn3e wrote

So, my understanding is that they taught the Bible in public schools back then.

Since Catholics and Protestants have slightly different versions of the Bible, the Catholics asked if it was ok if in their neighborhood schools, would it be ok if their public schools used the Catholic Bible.

The Protestants only considered the Protestant Bible to be the true Bible, and the (slightly different) Bible used by the Catholics was therefore not the Bible.

And so this was characterized as “removing” the Bible from public schools, which really angered everyone who believed that teaching the Bible in public schools was very important.

In this era where people would flip out if you taught the Bible in public school, it’s so nuts that this fight was about which version schools should teach in public schools.

It should also be noted that this was just about two years after the Lombard Street Riots, where the Catholics were actually the aggressors, and were rioting against the Black population. And in that riot, the main Catholic instigators pretty much avoided punishment.

Crazy that in two years, the Catholics were involved in two sets of riots, one where they were the bigots, and another where they were the victims of bigotry. Wild time those 1840s.


rig44gins t1_jcotyg4 wrote

I knew about the history ,because my whole family went to school at St Mike's, my Dad worked at the church for years also as a maintenance guy ,my mom used to run a bunch of Monte Carlo nights to benefit the church,we have alot of history with St Mike's, but its ashame how far it has fallen in the last 20 or so years


GoodGodItsAHuman t1_jcngktp wrote

Great book called "Fires of Philadelphia" about this


DayJob93 t1_jclhyrj wrote

I thought the windows were high so you wouldn’t be able to walk by and see them abusing children


Owlbertowlbert t1_jclnirj wrote

lol why the downvotes? the catholic church is despicable and it's a fact that should be reiterated at every turn


ActionShackamaxon OP t1_jclo963 wrote

There are subcultures who built local identities around these parishes (i.e Irish, Polish, Italian, etc) that are independent of the hierarchical institution of the Catholic Church. St. Michael’s is more reflective (to me) of local Philadelphia Irish than of the larger institution. There’s a time and a place, but it doesn’t need to be dragged through the mud in the context of this post. My own opinion.


DayJob93 t1_jcltr4u wrote

I’ll drag it through the mud every chance I get. There’s sectarian bullshit in this very comment section you tribal idiots.

These same tight knit immigrant communities youre romanticizing kept the abuse from reaching authorities because everyone knew each other and would run cover.

Philly is right up there with Boston in terms of scale and severity of abuses and the church did nothing but find another parish for predators to hunt.

Take your child abuse apologizing elsewhere. This isn’t some small immigrant city in the south or Midwest. This is/was among the epicenters of unspeakable acts of abuse against children aided and abetted by the Catholic archdiocese of philadelphia


NotUnstoned t1_jclxmo8 wrote

lol you’re right. The catholic school I went to as a kid got rid of their last priest because he was particularly fond of the young boys in the parish.

People who defend the church just because they are a part of it or know someone who is a part of it are 100% of the problem. It’s always “that type of stuff doesn’t happen here” but usually the truth is just being hidden or ignored.

Hands down, if you defend people or organizations that fuck children you are a piece of shit.


BrokenManOfSamarkand t1_jcmx90q wrote

>Hands down, if you defend people or organizations that fuck children you are a piece of shit.

If you took this logic to its conclusion you would probably have to give up your citizenship and dissociate from humanity. For instance, why continue to be an American--a citizen of a country with origins based in genocide and slavery? Why be a Philadelphian, one of the premier financial centers during the early centuries of this country that funded and was tied up in those things?

You may respond that those issues have passed and so your identity is not stained by them, but then why can't that be true for Catholics, if they seek to improve their institution?


DayJob93 t1_jcucu5b wrote

This is one of the most hand waving BS arguments I have ever encountered. You’re sloppily ducking the core of the question with some arm chair, half assed philosophizing all over the simple proposition: don’t apologize for people who abuse children and the organizations that enabled predators of children


BrokenManOfSamarkand t1_jcudz5x wrote

I'm not hand-waving anything. You're engaging in guilt by association for over a billion Catholics by trying to claim they "defend organizations that fuck children," as if all the good work done by millions and millions of Catholics in charity, education, healthcare, etc as part of the church should be dismissed because of the actions of a subset of evil men. It's bullshit tribalism, and you know it.


DayJob93 t1_jcugtdw wrote

If you need religion to tell you what is right and wrong and act as the main source of inspiration for ethical behavior in your life then I truly feel sorry for you.

It’s only hundreds of years late but the pope is finally considering ending the ban on marriage for priests. That is a start, but forgive me if I am not rushing to pat you all on the back for finally embracing some progressive changes to your famously regressive and corrupt institutions


Indiana_Jawnz t1_jcuonx8 wrote

I feel sorry for people like you who think grandstanding on Reddit makes them morality superior to those who actually do charity work.

Pack up your edgy atheist routine and take it back to 9th grade.


BrokenManOfSamarkand t1_jcuh3ry wrote

>If you need religion to tell you what is right and wrong and act as the main source of inspiration for ethical behavior in your life then I truly feel sorry for you.

I'd argue that religious belief is the only defensible source of ethical behavior that isn't inherently arbitrary, but I don't think we need to get into that.

>It’s only hundreds of years late but the pope is finally considering ending the ban on marriage for priests.

He should not.

Have a good day!