Cahensly controversy


The St. Raphael Society, under the leadership of Peter Paul Cahensly, was a German emigrant aid society. It not only provided funds to German-American Catholics; it also sought to maintain ties between German-Americans and Germany by, for example, preserving the German language. Additionally, Cahensly and his allies denounced the American church to Pope Leo XIII, claiming that its concern to assimilate immigrants quickly had as a side effect widespread abandonment of the faith. In the context of the 1890s, the discussion became part of the Americanist controversy and Americanist leaders derided "Cahenslyism" as an excessive and un-American attachment to the Old Country.


A. Massey, "The Phantom Heresy?"