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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