There is no official view or stand from the Roman Catholic Church on the Great Awakening and following similar events that occurred in the United States among the Protestant groups.
The First Great Awakening occurred between the 1730s-1750s among the already “churched” Protestant members and was sort of a revitalization or “revival” of several of their movements. It reshaped the Presbyterian Church and subsequently invigorated minor Baptist movements, but altogether had little effect on the major groups like the Lutherans and Episcopalians. The main issues surrounded debate on the value of time-honored tradition and ritual in Protestant practice.
While some have created hypothetical models suggesting a “third” and maybe even “fourth” Great Awakening in the United States, there was really only an historical Second, and this is the one that changed the American religious/social landscape and, for what it’s worth, has caused the most “threat” to the churches, Catholic and Protestant included.
The Second Great Awakening began around 1790 and lasted till around 1840. Unlike the First that occurred among the “churched,” this Awakening occurred mostly among the “unchurched” as well as among those with comparatively less formal education. It had the greater impact, with the NRMs or New Religious Movements arising from this period.
The Second Great Awakening involved discussions,debates, revivals, and new movement developments among those who believed in:
*]Millennialism, or a literal 1000-year Reign of Christ upon the earth.
*]The imminent Second Coming of Christ.
*]Restorationism or the belief that all other churches were wrong and God was restoring true religion here and now.
*]Holy Writ as the ultimate and most authoritative form of Divine Revelation.
Adventism was a major influence, but the lack of religious and general formal education on the part of major players was a great weakness and attributed to its flawed theology. While there was some important Christian revival that occurred at the time countering a secular and apathetic view that was starting to grip the nation, especially in the New England area, the birth of the NRMs introduced spectacularly unorthodox followers with a zeal that could not be reasoned with.
The three most influential groups from the Second Great Awakening are:
*]The Seventh-Day Adventists
*]The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
While the Seventh-Day Adventists have since grown into more of a mainstream organization over the years, the other two groups still remain filled with unheard of unorthodox views adhered to with sometimes irrational zeal. For instance, despite the fact that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have repeatedly predicted the end of the world no less than four times over a period of 100 years and even promised followers the world could not exist past the dawn of the 21st century, they are still in existence today (though their growth has stopped in most Western countries and money issues have hit them greatly as of late).
The LDS or Mormon movement took the view that Holy Writ was the ultimate form of Divine Revelation so seriously that it introduced new religious texts that demanded adherence. Today the LDS leadership has begun to introduce a bit of critical thinking into their teaching and has recently, for the first time in all their history, begun to admit that the origin of their new religious texts was not as spectacular as once described.
The NRMs also produced the World Wide Church of God under Herbert W. Armstrong who held views that encompassed all three of these NRMs. But upon his death in 1986 (an event that was not supposed to happen until after Jesus’ Return), the religion adopted mainstream Protestant theology in exchange for Armstrongism, losing upwards of three-quarters of its membership and almost all its funding as a result.