BISHOP BENEDICT J. FENWICK, S.J. (1782–1846), Jesuit or Catholic Sentinel, September 5, 1829, Boston: H. L. Devereux.

BISHOP BENEDICT J. FENWICK, S.J. (1782–1846), Jesuit or Catholic Sentinel, September 5, 1829, Boston: H. L. Devereux

In this first issue of what would become the longest-running Catholic newspaper in the United States, the second bishop of Boston, serving as editor, declared his purpose in turning to journalism. “Our columns,” he wrote, will be “exclusively devoted to religious information” offered to refute the “crying calumnies, and gross misrepresentations … so cruelly heaped upon the Church” in New England. The “exclusive” focus on religious argumentation meant that other topics and genres, including poetry and cultural criticism, were omitted. With the exception of the occasional religious poem relegated to the back page of the paper, this focus held through 1834. But, at the end of 1834, only months after the burning of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Bishop Fenwick relinquished ownership of the paper to Henry L. Devereux and Patrick Donohue (1811–1901) who brought in a new editor: George Pepper. Starting with the first issue of 1835, the renamed Literary and Catholic Sentinel regularly included articles on Irish politics, poems written by Irish writers, and reviews that celebrated Catholic literature and culture.

Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society