x • United States Catholic Catechism for Adults
to their first Holy Communion. Before receiving the Sacrament, children
were expected to have reached the age of reason, to have received full
instruction in Christian doctrine, and to have gone to Confession.
The fourth session dealt with the need for priests to receive approval
from the bishop to hear confessions. During the fifth session, an extensive
discussion was held about pastoral concerns regarding the Sacrament
of Matrimony. The synod proved to be a success and received wide-
spread praise at home and abroad. The synod’s manner of governance
helped shape the provincial and plenary councils of Baltimore well into
the nineteenth century and beyond. The issues reflected Bishop Carroll’s
commitment to being an attentive teacher, bishop, and shepherd.
Throughout the years that followed, Bishop Carroll proceeded to
influence the establishment of Catholic schools, the institution of reli-
gious congregations, and the creation of new dioceses and parishes. He
was also effective at organizing his wide-ranging diocese, which included
the nation’s original thirteen states, the Northwest Territory, and later
the vast territory of the Louisiana Purchase. He set the stage for the
Church’s strong community in the United States; he built a firm founda-
tion upon which it could and did grow.
In 1808, on the same day that the Holy Father established the dioceses
of Boston and Bardstown, the See of Baltimore was made an archdiocese.
As a result, Carroll became the first archbishop in the United States.
During his time as bishop and then archbishop of Baltimore, the
uniquely American policy of religious freedom began to take shape.
The Declaration of Independence began with a presupposition of faith
in God. The first article of the Bill of Rights prohibited Congress from
making laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the
free exercise of religion.
Archbishop Carroll died in 1815. Catholicism had made great prog-
ress under his twenty-five years of episcopal leadership. The number
of Catholics increased four times over. The number of clergy to serve
them doubled. Archbishop Carroll established three seminaries for the
training of priests, three colleges for men, and several academies for
women. With his encouragement, St. Elizabeth Seton’s Sisters of Charity
spread throughout the East Coast and onto the frontier. Other religious