Before there was an annual Bishops’ meeting, the American hierarchy gathered periodically in the form of plenary councils convened in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the oldest American diocese. On this day in 1884, the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore was convened. Among the business taken up there was the drafting of a nationwide catechism, which resulted in the famed Baltimore Catechism. It stipulated that whenever possible, parishes should establish parochial schools. It also required clergy to wear Roman collars instead of secular clothing, as many had done throughout the nineteenth century.
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