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Spalding, General Evidences, 450-53; cf. also Edward McGlynn, “The Bugbear of Vaticanism,” American Catholic Quarterly Review 1 (January, 1876): 96. ”70 The coming centuries, in Hecker’s opinion, would pay increasing attention to the internal dimensions of the Christian life, as the former centuries had paid considerable attention to external authority within the Christian community. Hecker’s interpretation of Vatican I indicated how some Catholics could enter into the optimism of the late nineteenth century without denying the teachings of Vatican I.

With the exception of Brownson, Catholic apologists in the United States reflected neither the learning nor the depth of the Europeans or the American Transcendentalists, but their apologetics did reveal a shift from the rational, objective and individualistic concerns of the Enlightenment to the intuitive, subjective and organic concerns of romanticism. The romantic apologetic had two major emphases. First, the romantic rehabilitated the organic value of tradition and history, emphasizing the internal and corresponding external continuity of Catholicism.

The gradual change from Enlightenment to romantic emphases is evident first of all in the changing practices and perceptions of ecclesiastical polity and in a new stress placed upon the papal role in the church. In the section on Vatican I, I discuss the American Catholic understandings of the role of the papacy in the church. Here I outline briefly the shifts in the understanding of ecclesiastical polity. Increasingly after the First Council of Baltimore in 1829, the American bishops effectively reasserted the episcopal structure of the American church at the national level in reaction to the congregationalism of trusteeism and in opposition to prior American Catholic apologetical attempts to explain Catholicism as a quasi-republican system of government.

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