Email this review


A venture in publishing which is certain to produce controversy among Protestants as well as Catholics, if one can judge by the storm the Blanshard articles in The Nation released. Catholic authorities branded them as ""anti-Catholic propaganda""; public schools and libraries in some instances barred The Nation because of this. It is hoped that those authorities will approach the book which has grown out of the articles with open mind as to the seasoning of the analysis and its presentation. An honest effort has been made by the editors, by a group of objective scholars, laymen and figures of national importance in the Protestant denominations, and by some prominent Catholics to remove those sections which might be considered directed against the religious faith of the Catholic people, and to focus attention on those aims and practices of the Catholic hierarchy which, the author feels, threaten democracy and freedom. He explores the program as it affects education, social questions, science, political and international affairs. At times one wishes he could have felt it advisable to balance his criticism with a fair presentation of the constructive contributions of Catholicism. It is that lack in this book which may cause it to fail in his purpose to inform every American citizen, including Catholic layman and their thoughtful leaders among the clergy, of some of the policies of the Vatican which he feels will require American Catholics to choose, ultimately, between a church hostile to fundamentals of democracy and a state where contrary views are implicit under our Constitution....Much of the data he has accumulated will astound the reader who considers himself unprejudiced and well-informed; much of it is based on Catholic sources from which he quotes liberally. To some readers, non-Catholics, who feel that the attack on Communism spearheaded by the Catholic church is vital to all, anything they could construe as an attack on Catholic power and policies -- such as this book -- will be labelled intolerant, -American and divisive. To other readers, who approach the subject objectively, as the reasoned study of a vital factor in American life, the book is important. No doubt it will be prescribed by the Catholic authorities. It may be soft pedalled by the press. Knowledge of its content and viewpoint is essential to all who purchase the book for sale or circulation. Watch for this book. It is not to be ignored.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1949
ISBN: 0313246203
Publisher: Beacon Press