Presenter Information

Leonard R. Riforgiato C.M.


The internal Church politics surrounding the 1851 succession to the see of Baltimore reveal significant divisions in the hierarchy of the time. The archbishop of Baltimore would essentially also be the primate of the American church. John Timon, the first provincial of the American Vincentians and the bishop of Buffalo, was considered for the position. He was a native-born American, which many considered an important qualification for an archbishop of Baltimore. Whether it was done purposefully or not, Bishop Francis Kenrick of Philadelphia’s backing of Timon split the hierarchy, resulting in Kenrick’s appointment to Baltimore. Kenrick had incurred the enmity of New York’s Archbishop John Hughes, who did not want his subordinate, Timon, to receive the archbishopric and worked against his ascension. As pre-Civil War northern and southern loyalties divided the native-born bishops, the southerners did not want northerner Timon in a southern city. Kenrick’s motivation and possible machinations are explored.