A Church Squabble: Bad Blood between Rival Italian Congregations (1886)

Champions of Two Societies Come to Blows—The Fight the Result of a Feud Between the Catholic and the Episcopal Churches of South Brooklyn.

That portion of South Brooklyn known as the Italian quarter is at the present time in a ferment of excitement over a fracas which occurred on Sunday last, in front of the Italian Episcopal Church, No. 20 Union street, between Franscisco Corrao, No. 11 Conover street, and Signor Giuseppe Cacace, of 20 Union street. The quarrel between the two men was the outcome of a bitter feud, which for some time past has existed between the church previously named and the Italian Roman Catholic Church at No. 32 President street. Signor Cacace possesses considerable means and belongs to the elite of the Italian society in this city, while his assailant is a working-man. The Italian Episcopal Church was started by Bishop Littlejohn, and is under the pastorship of the Rev. Alberto Pace, a talented and educated gentleman. While the Italians who attend this church are what in this country might be termed “blue blood,” they are not as a rule blessed with an over-abundance of wealth, and are few in number. On the other hand the congregation of the Italian Roman Catholic Church, of which the Rev. Pasquale Danisco is pastor, while laying no pretentions to aristocracy, are very numerous and very liberal in the support of their church. The feeling which exists between the two congregations is easily understood. Those belonging to the President street church believe that all Italians should be Roman Catholics, while those belonging to the Union street congregation consider that every individual has a right to his own opinions, and is at perfect liberty to affiliate with the denomination which is in accordance with his way of thinking. This state of affairs led to a serious breach between the two factions, and for some time past it has been feared that it would end in an outbreak. The good sense of both parties has prevailed, however, and until Sunday last no overt demonstration of the bitter feeling which existed between the two congregations was shown. There had been no previous acquaintance between the combatants, and the occasion of the rather one-sided quarrel, as near as can be ascertained, was nothing more nor less than the feeling of sect. The quarrel might have ended in a bloody riot had it not been for the interference of friends of both parties. Signor Cacace swore out a warrant for the arrest of his assailant, and the Rev. Dr. Alberto Pace engaged the services of Counselor George F. Elliott to prosecute Corrao, in order that an example may be made of him, and so deter others from pursuing a similar course in interfering with the worship of the Italian Episcopalians. Corrao was arraigned before Justice Massey on Friday, and was remanded for examination. When the case comes up for trial it will be a decidedly interesting one, as both plaintiff and defendant are backed by their respective congregations.
The Brooklyn Union-Sun, July 11, 1886

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