Top 100 Philadelphia Moments: #100 to #76

91. ARCHBISHOP DENNIS DOUGHERTY NAMED FIRST PHILADELPHIA CARDINAL, 1921
91. ARCHBISHOP DENNIS DOUGHERTY NAMED FIRST PHILADELPHIA CARDINAL, 1921
In 1921 the handful of cardinals in the U.S. was concentrated in the major hubs of American Catholicism, such as Boston and New York. Dougherty’s elevation from archbishop signaled the Philadelphia church’s arrival as a major player, and with an iron hand the new cardinal set out, as one historian noted, “to re-create Rome on the Delaware River.” Only a few decades after virulent anti-­Catholicism had resulted in beatings and church burnings throughout the city, Dougherty masterfully stitched together a teeming population of new immigrants from Italy, Ireland and Germany to create thriving city parishes whose members took his direction on everything from what movies to see to what politicians to vote for. During his 33-year reign, Dougherty also built up a parochial school system that became the envy of the world, cementing a citywide Catholic identity while turning out graduates who would go on to become some of Philadelphia’s most powerful and influential leaders.

 
 

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