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Response to Martin Eden (Reply #26)

Sun May 9, 2021, 01:58 PM

34. Very well said!

Thank you!

I study local history. A relatively short distance from me is the community that is our "county seat." It is still listed as a "city," though these days it is at best a medium-sized town. It started to grow during New York's canal era, including a number of Irish immigrant workers. The Irish Catholics built a church on the edge of the town, up on a hill.

The railroad era brought in more Irish immigrants, plus a new wave of Italian immigrants to do the labor. The Italian immigrants were also Catholic. Noting the potential "problems" if the Irish and Italians joined together, the powers-that-be did everything possible to create tensions and divisions between the two groups. And it worked -- not only were there a number of vicious fights between groups of the immigrants (especially nights where massive quantities of alcohol were consumed), but the Italians build their own Catholic church, very close to the center of town.

I have quite a few old newspaper articles dating back to that era, including several reporting that the Irish church was heade by a rebel priest who hid a large collection of guns in the church's basement. Among other responses to this "threat," one of the non-Catholic churches, located on the main street, built a new steeple on their church, so that it would reach higher into the sky that that of the up-hill Irish Catholic church.

Even up until the 1960s, the "city" had group divisions. Its streets are off-set in most of the middle of the community, a reminder of the period where the Irish didn't enter the Italian neighborhoods, the Italians didn't venture into Irish neighborhoods, and neither set foot in the Protestant neighborhoods. Some individuals, like my father, had solid friendships with the "others," and my children are friends with the grandchildren of Italian-Americans that used to sit at our table, drinking Utica Club with my father.

The study of churches/cathedrals is an important part of sociology.

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LineLineLineLineNew Reply Very well said!
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