Pro-confederacy clergy dominated in the South

The feature (CR, Jan. 15) regarding Abraham Lincoln and reactions to his policies in Maryland was most interesting.

However, the comment by Father Michael J. Roach, of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, that the “pro-Confederacy position of the paper (The Catholic Mirror) was an embarrassment to the hierarchy” should be qualified.

It may have embarrassed the Archbishop of Baltimore, and other bishops in states loyal to the Union, but bishops in the eleven seceding states, with one exception, openly supported the Confederacy.

Among them was Bishop John McGill of Richmond, whose patronage The Catholic Mirror claimed; Bishop William Elder of Natchez, Miss., who clashed with the U. S. military for refusing publicly to pray for Lincoln; Bishop Patrick J. Lynch of Charleston, S.C., who represented the Confederate government abroad in its effort to secure diplomatic recognition from Spain; and Archbishop Jean Marie Odin, of New Orleans, La., whose pro-Confederate sympathies were so pronounced that after Federal forces took New Orleans, they put him under surveillance.

The only exception in the South was Bishop James Whelan, O.P., of Nashville, Tenn. However, he was only construed to be pro-Union. He never made a public statement directly stating pro-Union sentiments, and he never publicly criticized Tennessee’s secession or the existence of the Confederacy.

Catholic Review

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