The past two decades have seen an efflorescence of works exploring cultural anti-Catholicism in a variety of national contexts. But so far, historians have engaged in little comparative analysis. This article is a first step, examining recent historical literature on modern British and American anti-Catholicism, in order to trace the similarities and distinctiveness of the turn-of-the-century German case. Historians are most likely to be acquainted with American nativism, the German Kulturkampf, continental anticlericalism, and the problems of Catholic Emancipation and the Irish Question in Britain. Many of the themes and functions of anti-Catholic discourse in the West transcended national and temporal boundaries. In each case, the conceptualization of a Catholic ‘other’ is a testament to the tenacity of confessionalism in an age formerly characterized as one of inexorable secularization. Contemporary observers often agreed that religious culture—like history, race, ethnicity, geography, and local custom—played a role in the self-evident distinctiveness of peoples and nations, in their political forms, economic performance, and intellectual and artistic contributions. We will see how confessionalism remained a lens through which intellectuals and ordinary citizens, whether attached or estranged from religious commitments, viewed political, economic, and cultural change.