Hecker, Isaac

Hecker, Isaac (Thomas)

(1819–88) religious leader; born in New York City. After briefly joining the Brook Farm community, he became a Catholic (1844), studied abroad, and was ordained a Redemptorist priest (1849). He conducted missions and won approval for his own congregation (1858), the Missionary Priests of St. Paul the Apostle—widely known as the Paulists—devoted to communications and evangelizing among non-Catholics. He started a publishing house and founded Catholic World magazine (1865), which he then edited. In such works as The Church and the Age (1887) he advanced a relatively liberal vision of the church. A biography of him published posthumously in France led to controversy and eventual papal condemnation of "Americanism," though the ideas proscribed were not specifically attributed to Hecker.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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