Walking the streets of Old City Philadelphia last month was a thrilling experience for me. I have always loved history, and particularly the stories of the great men Pictureand their deeds. American Revolutionary history was particularly fascinating because these were not foreign people like the great Romans or the even more foreign Egyptians and Babylonians. These were the founders of my country, a country that had a great deal of pride in its ideals and its heroes.

Posted on one street corner was a reproduction of an 18th-century map of the city with prominent places labeled. “The Popish Chapel” immediately caught my eye: an opportunity to visit an important piece of Catholic history, and also a reminder of the great difficulties faced by Catholics in an intolerant Protestant country. As I shortly learned, the existence of the chapel, Old St. Joseph’s, was only tolerated because the concerned Provincial Council of Pennsylvania decided Pennsylvania’s Charter of Freedoms trumped the English Penal Laws forbidding Catholic public worship. Thank God for William Penn, the Quaker founder of Pennsylvania.

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