Catholic Dictionary




The movement propagated in the United States in the late nineteenth century which claimed that the Catholic Church should adjust its doctrines, especially in morality, to the culture of the people. Emphasizing the "active" virtues of social welfare and democratic equality, it underrated the "passive" virtues of humility and obedience to ecclesiastical authority. Americanism was condemned by Pope Leo XIII in an apostolic letter, Testem Benevolentiae (January 22, 1899), addressed to Cardinal Gibbons.