This week in Christian history: John Calvin dies, Massachusetts bans priests, GK Chesterton

Massachusetts Puritans ban Catholic priests – May 26, 1647

This week marks the anniversary of when Puritan-controlled Massachusetts enacted a law that banned Catholic priests from entering the colony.

Any Catholic priest found in the colony was to be banished from Massachusetts on first offense and possibly executed if a repeat offender.

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However, the law failed to stop the eventual spread of Catholicism to the area, Today, nearly half of Massachusetts’ population identifies as Catholic.

“By the time the American Revolution came around, anti-Catholic sentiment had simmered down. Catholics weren’t welcomed with open arms, but they weren’t in danger of being hanged,” noted Boston magazine in a 2016 article.

“While priests were banned here more than 350 years ago, the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston was established about 160 years later by Pope Pius VII in 1808.”

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