|Pius VI who was Pope at the time|
of the American Revolution and
later named John Carroll as the
first Catholic Bishop for the new
When Carroll built his Cathedral in Baltimore, now known as the Basilica of the Assumption, he hired Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the architect who built the United States Capitol despite the fact the Latrobe was not a Catholic. Carroll wanted a Cathedral that did not reflect European heritage but the ideals of the new American Republic. The consequent church, like the public buildings of the republic, embodied reason, order, discipline, and harmony. It’s crisp clean lines, not in gothic or baroque but in American Federal style speak of the American faith experience: enlightened, rational, discreet, and hopeful. But Carroll, for some reason, never thought to put a single statue in his basilica—that would only come with Archbishop Maréchal, Carroll’s second successor who was Archbishop from 1817 until 1828. The basilica recently underwent a restoration and has proved itself to be suitable for the current liturgy without doing violence to the original design.