Founding Father James Adams Visits a Catholic Church

by Steve Ray on October 6, 2011

544px-AdamstrumbullJohn Adams (1735-1826) was a Founding Father of the United States. He was raised in an austere Protestant movement called the Puritans who left England to flee liturgical Christianity and to find religious freedom. He was raised as a Congregationalist and later turned to Unitarianism. He was elected President of the United States in 1796.

Screen Shot 2011-10-06 at 5.54.51 PMFrom Wikipedia we read, “Adams criticized the claims to universal authority made by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1796, Adams denounced political opponent Thomas Paine’s criticisms of Christianity in his book The Age of Reason, saying, “The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity, let the Blackguard Paine say what he will.”

My older brother sent me the page (84) on the left from a biography of Adams entitled John Adams by David McCullough. I thought it was insightful. Click on the image of the page to read the comments.

I responded to my brother:
Thanks for sharing this with me. I quite feel like this too at Mass, especially in some of the old beautiful churches, like the majestic churches in Detroit and in Europe. And, I still tear up frequently during the spender of the Mass.

His explanation shows he picked up on much of what is known to most Catholics. I sense this awe at Mass and can relate to Adams’ observations — having lived deeply now in both worlds, plain and chatty Protestantism and mysterious and heavenly Catholicism.

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