Acknowledging that such a question may have fallen outside the constraints of the topic, it still would have been valuable to ask whether concerns about Catholicism in 19th century America had any warrant. At that time, how did Catholicism function when it was the state religion for a nation? Did it allow for religious pluralism? Indeed, one can look at Ireland as recently as the 1970s and readily see that converting to Protestantism was the sure road to losing your job as a teacher or nurse. And even in present day Ireland where Catholic scandals have brought the church low, there appear "conflicted" letters to the Irish Times about lack of nonsectarian schools and yet the need to remain within the Catholic ones to avoid cultural marginalization. Although I would in no way endorse the actions of the KKK then or now, their fear Catholicism as a state religion needs to be understood in historical context and should not be confused with how Catholicism may function today within a religiously pluralistic society.
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