Blast from the Past: New Orleans

by Michael Sean Winters

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“Shortly before the completion of the Cathedral, on April 25, 1793, the diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas was created by Pope Pius VI. Don Luis Ignacio Maria de Penalver y Cardenas of Havana was appointed the first bishop. He arrived in state in New Orleans in July, 1795 to take formal possession of his See and begin his episcopal duties. Arriving in New Orleans on the same ship was Fray Antonio de Sedella, a Capuchin priest who had served in New Orleans since 1781 and who was returning from Spain to resume his pastorate of the Cathedral, a post from which he had been removed in 1790 for insubordination by Bishop Cirillo, the Havana auxiliary in charge of Louisiana and the Floridas. Pere Antoine, as he was more familiarly known to his parishioners, was an eloquent preacher and led a charitable life, but he was a firebrand and his career was marked by constant clashing with the ecclesiastical authorities.”
From a short history of the Cathedral of St. Louis in New Orleans. I repaired to this little booklet after reading the story about Gov. Jindal signing a law permitting guns in churches in Louisiana, about which I wrote below. Please note that the Church was there before the United States and before rifles became commonly used by infantry, which is to say, that in this matter, the National Rifle Association is a newcomer. Where is the stormy Pere Antoine when we need him?

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