“So, you might ask, after 110 years of opposition to communism, why are we publishing an article in this issue that is sympathetic to it?”
Slowest softball pitch ever. *GQ cracks knuckles* The Jesuit-run magazine American just published an article “The Catholic Case for Communism”. It’s less subversion and more spiking the football in the faces of God’s remnant. But it’s interesting because the article is so shameless that the senior editor of American published his justification for publishing the heresy, simultaneously with the heresy itself.
Here’s the heresy. I won’t cover it except for one paragraph, just so you know I’m not off the rails.
In fact, although the Catholic Church officially teaches that private property is a natural right, this teaching also comes with the proviso that private property is always subordinate to the common good. So subordinate, says Pope Francis in a truly radical moment in “Laudato Si’,” that “The Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable, and has stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property.”
Whatever you say, Forktongue.
But here is President and Editor-In-Chief Matt Malone, S.J., trying to justify that blatantly vile article IN THE SAME AUGUST 5, 2019 ISSUE. This, this is worth covering.
Why we published an essay sympathetic to communism
By Matt Malone, S.J. 23 July 2019
One of the finest hours in the history of the Catholic press occurred in the late spring of 1954, when this magazine, along with several others, published an editorial denouncing Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s witch hunt against communists, which was then reaching its ugly zenith in the infamous Army-McCarthy hearings. “Catholic Weekly Assails McCarthy,” read The New York Times headline—just one among several national stories about the editorial.
So, American magazine has been fully Converged since at least 1954.
America’s comments about Senator McCarthy generated a great deal of interest for a couple of reasons. First, Senator McCarthy was a prominent Irish Catholic, and he had powerful friends in the Catholic community, including several bishops. Second, America had spent much of the previous 50 years loudly denouncing communism in its pages. As early as 1934, my predecessor John LaFarge, S.J., who later served as the sixth editor in chief, had even introduced a detailed plan for how American Jesuits should attack the growing threat of communism in the United States. So the fact that the anti-communist America magazine was now critical of Mr. McCarthy created an “only Nixon could go to China” moment, lending great credibility to the anti-McCarthy forces.
While proving McCarthy right. So, Converged between 1934 and 1954.
LaFarage. Big nasolabial “disappointment” lines suggest an unhappy life. Triangular, narrow nostrils suggest a lack of social energy. Thin lips confirm a lack of passion. Per Wikipedia,
LaFarge was plagued by ill health throughout his youth, and the completion of his M.A. degree left him severely exhausted. His superiors advised him that he probably couldn’t support the rigors of life as a scholar. He moved into pastoral work, spending fifteen years (1911–26) ministering to mainly African-American and immigrant communities in rural St. Mary’s County, Maryland, along Chesapeake Bay. His work here deeply shaped his attitude to race relations and to racism, which he considered a sin. He spoke out publicly against the conditions under which African-Americans lived, and he demonstrated special interest in furthering education for disadvantaged communities. In 1926 he founded an industrial school in southern Maryland for African-American boys, the Cardinal Gibbons Institute.
In 1926, LaFarge left his pastoral work in Maryland to become assistant editor of America, a leading Jesuit weekly magazine in the United States. He went on to become its fifth editor-in-chief in 1944. Acknowledging that he was not a great administrator, he stepped down after four years and assumed the position of associate editor. All told, he worked on the magazine for 37 years, and he is credited with establishing a progressive editorial tone that the magazine has largely retained. He described himself as a priest who was also a working journalist…
He didn’t converge the magazine but his race attitude suggests he laid groundwork. Probably unwittingly; parasites don’t voluntarily step down from the reins of power. That was an impressively humble move on his part. Or, impressive leverage.
So, you might ask, after 110 years of opposition to communism, why are we publishing an article in this issue that is sympathetic to it?
Because you’re a lovely bunch of hypocrites who targeted, infiltrated and Converged the organizations successfully warning people against your poisonous beliefs.
Well, for one thing, you should not assume that America’s editorial position on communism has changed very much. It has not.
Oh come on! You wrote this article to explain why you DID change!
What has also not changed is our willingness to hear views with which we may disagree but that we nonetheless think are worth hearing. And we could not have picked a better author for such an article. Dean Dettloff [GQ: author of the heresy linked to above] has made many fine contributions to these pages as our Toronto correspondent.
Cult of Nice thinking. “Wait, wait, wait, don’t judge Karl Marx so harshly. While it’s true that some people have said bad things about him and a few might even be right, some of his ideas are actually interesting and legitimate!”
Detloff is a good pedoface.
This sort of thing is also not a first for America. One year before Father LaFarge declared his red alert, the saintly Dorothy Day appeared in these pages, defending the values of the communists she knew, if not their political program. “The trouble with many Catholics,” Ms. Day wrote, “is that they think of Communists as characters from E. Phillips Oppenheim’s international mystery novels.” In other words, she thought Catholics were missing something of value amid all the legitimate criticism.
That “legitimate criticism” is that Communism is Godless EVIL.
Could the same be happening today? It is possible. Socialism is much in the news. One presidential candidate says he is a socialist, and several others don’t mind sounding like one.
My reading of Catholic social teaching, especially the commentary of recent popes…
The post-Vatican II ones that spawned a functional church split in the RCC? Maybe the current, Jesuit Pope Judas specifically?
…is that it has many good things to say about capitalism while always reminding us about the bad that comes with it. At the same time, it has many bad things to say about socialism while always reminding us of the good that comes with it. For my part, I don’t like ideological “-isms” of any kind, except for Catholicism, which is nothing like an “-ism” in the sense I mean here.
Blurring the line between good and evil. It’s one thing to make a specific complaint; I can even respect complaints that Christianity caused the fall of Rome even though I disagree; but this vague “everything has good parts and bad parts, we should hesitate to judge it all at once” is the hissing of demons.
For what it’s worth, my general view of economics begins with the fact that markets, for all their downsides, are the greatest force for economic empowerment that the world has ever seen. But that is just my opinion and, therefore, not the point.
Freeze frame. Right here. That paragraph. The wicked have a curious yet frequently observed compulsion to tell the truth about their wickedness even at the cost of self-destruction. That’s what Matt just did. He tells us that he believes capitalism has many downsides but is the best the world has done… in an article written to justify telling us about Communism.
Remember how Communists love to claim that Communism “has never actually been tried”? That’s how Matt is disguising outing himself as a Commie here. “Capitalism is the best the world has ever seen BUT WE CAN DO BETTER.”
It is entirely the point of this “Why we published an essay sympathetic to Communism” article that Matt thinks Capitalism is the best we’ve yet done but has many downsides. Every Communist everywhere thinks that.
Mr. Dettloff’s piece is in this issue not because I agree with it but because I think it is worth reading, just as I did with Arthur Brooks’s article in defense of free markets that we published in February 2017 and just as we did when we published Dorothy Day in 1934.
Matt obviously agrees with it. He, too, wants to Converge the Catholic Church to Communism but he doesn’t want anybody to notice, so he wrapped it in a fog of “our good people were not all good, our evil people were not all evil. Mr. Dettloff is not that evil if you listen to him.”
America, in other words, is not a journal of Father Matt’s opinions. Not even I would want to read such a magazine. This is a journal of Catholic opinion, and Catholics have differing opinions about many things.
It is a journal of Jesuit beliefs, not the opinions of random Catholics. And apparently, it is a journal specifically of Communists masquerading as Christians in the Jesuit organization.
Catholics have differing opinions about many things. They do not differ on the compatibility of Communism with Christianity. It is impossible to be Communist and Christian at the same time.
See what Matt is doing? First he attacked the concept of universally good/evil people (who don’t exist, as we saw above with LaFarage; humans are complicated and internally conflicted), now he’s using that to attack the concept of universally good/evil beliefs. Which absolutely exist.
The evil of Communism, both its ideology and history, is not a matter of opinion. As if we were debating breakfast cereals instead of whether the Kulaks deserved to die.
Our job is to host a conversation among Catholics and our friends in which people can respectfully and intelligently disagree. Accordingly, we publish something in almost every issue with which I personally disagree. I hope we publish something you disagree with, too. If not, we are not doing our job.
What about God? Do you ever publish something with which Father God might personally disagree?
It will be interesting to monitor reactions to Mr. Dettloff’s article on social media. I have followed folks on Twitter long enough to recognize certain patterns. While you who are reading this will know what we are up to, many among the Twitterati can be counted on to be uninformed, unreasonable and uncharitable. I can see the tweets now: “This Dettloff piece! So typical of that left-wing America magazine!” “America shows its radical tendencies again!” Well, that’s just claptrap.
For the Communist, it’s always a short trip from “please listen to me” to “silence the dissidents”
I once said that being an America reader requires you to engage with opinions that are different from your own. It occasionally requires something else, especially when browsing social media: the ability to spot what this family-friendly magazine will call male bovine fecal matter.
Your “family-friendly” magazine is now preaching an anti-Christian religion that has torn innumerable families apart, the wives feral and husbands disgraced, from Beijing to NYC to Stalingrad, and inspired the One Child policy of China… the largest single mass murder in recorded history.
By the way, I traced the Convergence of American magazine to LaFarage’s successor Robert C. Hartnett, S.J, who edited American from 1948-1954. Surprisingly for a main opponent of McCarthy, he has almost no existence on the Internet. I was forced to use American Magazine itself for information on him.
Robert C. Hartnett, S.J., came to America as editor in chief on Nov. 30, 1948, his new doctoral degree in philosophy from Fordham University in hand.
Red flag: he jumped directly from college graduate to editor-in-chief of an established magazine.
A tall, broad-shouldered man, Hartnett had the ability to write nuanced essays accessible to readers without a Ph.D.
Skip flowery praise.
As editor in chief, though, Hartnett was an autocrat of Shakespearean dimension. In theory he saw the other editors as advisors, but in practice he had a tendency to treat them as debate opponents, giving no quarter to their ideas and demanding that his own interpretation be applied to most everything they wrote. Little seemed to satisfy him; according to the magazine’s board of Jesuit overseers, he would make “tactless comments like ‘No one on the staff can write’” and often rewrote editors’ copy.
He was either chosen to perform a top-down Convegence or was so insecure in himself that he made a point of tearing down the more successful around him. Both is possible.
When Senator Joseph P. McCarthy stood up at a meeting of the Republican Women’s Club in Wheeling, W.Va., in February 1950 and claimed to have in his hand the identities of 205 Communist infiltrators working in the State Department, he was an unlikely candidate to become the favorite son of American Catholics. Although McCarthy was a lifelong practicing Catholic, a veteran of World War II and a Marquette University-educated lawyer, his career…
Skip McCarthy slander. This article is dated 2009, long after Editor-in-chief Reese finished the Convergence by embracing sodomy. Speaking of…
Thomas J. Reese. Great pedoface! But I digress.
But in February 1950, McCarthy’s accusation tapped into festering American anxiety. … American Catholics had a special investment in this conflict. Church encyclicals had long condemned specific propositions of Communism; even so, the political status of American Catholics remained in some quarters an open question. Blanshard’s screed against American Catholicism was a bestseller in 1949 and 1950, as well as a Book of the Month Club selection. When the Yale Law School sponsored a public debate between Blanshard and Hartnett in early 1950, the question posed was: “Is the Catholic Church fundamentally hostile to American democracy?” For a group still being asked to prove its trustworthiness, anti-Communism was a means of signaling loyalty. For many Catholics, McCarthy’s relentless pursuit of traitors over the next four years expressed the passion of their commitment to the United States.
To this day, McCarthy serves as a litmus test between those who realize the Communists won the Cold War, the Communists themselves, and the chumps. Using him for that today, Hartnett’s pattern of claiming anti-Communism while attacking McCarthy at every opportunity defines him as a Cuckservative at best and more likely, a Fifth Columnist who feared McCarthy was about to expose him.
At the inception of McCarthy’s hunt for Communist subversives, America was open to both sides of the question… they stated, “we ought to be very careful…not to identify ourselves too closely with anti-Communists like Senator McCarthy, who has never identified himself closely with the Catholic social movement.”
Then, in late 1952, McCarthy publicly referred to Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic presidential candidate, as “Alger, I mean, Adlai, Stevenson,” and said that the Communist Daily Worker had just endorsed Stevenson’s candidacy. Hartnett espoused many of the ideals of the Democratic Party; in fact, some critics had accused him of being in President Harry S. Truman’s pocket. Hartnett found that The Worker had made no such endorsement. So he took McCarthy on, calling the insinuation a “cheap stunt” that exemplified “what are euphemistically called McCarthy’s ‘methods’.”
This was a bold move; in 1952 one risked much, even one’s career and livelihood, in attacking McCarthy. He responded in kind, calling Hartnett’s criticism “completely and viciously false” and condemning the magazine for having failed in its “heavy duty to the vast number of good Catholic people who assume that at least in a Jesuit-operated magazine they can read the truth.” In private he also put pressure on McMahon, the provincial, to rein Hartnett in. McMahon offered only a polite reply, saying he had read McCarthy’s letter “with interest.” Hartnett, however, published McCarthy’s letter in America and wrote a detailed response to his every criticism. McCarthy’s address, he said, was a “tissue of innuendoes.”
The action of a man with something to hide, risking his career to discredit someone over a trivial issue.
The magazine then returned to its prior equilibrium, discussing McCarthy along with a range of other issues, and frequently calling on anti-Communists to be concerned not simply with the domestic scene but international issues as well.
Yep, that’s the sort of Convergence Forktongue that we just saw today. “What will the neighbors think if you oppose Communism too hard?”
In a piece on April 18, 1953, about academic freedom, Hartnett condemned academia for the “inexcusable mistake” of “rallying to the defense of ‘persecuted’ professors, including (so it turns out) the pinks and even the Reds.”
I don’t have this article so it could be a counterexample to my theory. It could also be that the accused professors were innocent and Hartnett used them as cover. The fact of his attacking and discrediting McCarthy, combined with the praise from American post-Convergence, heavily favors the latter.
Then, in October 1953, McCarthy began an investigation into possible Communist infiltration of the Army, including the secretary of the Army. This new move provoked consternation even within his own party; to take on the secretary was implicitly to attack fellow-Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The next spring Hartnett wrote an editorial opining that McCarthy’s actions encroached upon the jurisdiction of the executive branch, and calling on President Eisenhower to protect the balance of powers. Two weeks later a second editorial by Hartnett argued that anyone who asserts that his or her approach is the only approach regarding Communism has lost perspective—dangerously so.
Again, sounds like today.
It took the letter columns of two successive issues to present the responses to these editorials. Reactions ranged widely from “I am proud of America” to “It is my conviction that your charge to the effect that Sen. McCarthy is splitting the Republican party, etc., is a lot of first-rate potash.” Hartnett himself proved unable to hold back from the fray, attacking critics for considering theirs the only orthodox point of view. “The McCarthy issue is one of conflicting opinions,” he admonished.
Yeeep. Heard that one before, too.
A month later Hartnett returned to the issue again. In substance his editorial reworked old material, suggesting that the McCarthy hearings challenged the balance of powers. But he took the further step of suggesting that McCarthy’s actions amounted to a “peaceful overthrow” of the presidency. Hartnett published this editorial without showing it to any other editor.
That was a step way too far. He was scared of McCarthy revealing… something.
The piece was political dynamite. The Associated Press immediately picked up the story. America’s phone lines were flooded with calls, and letters poured in, many of them written on the back of America subscription cards: “Remember McCarthy in your prayers, not scandalize him in your weekly.” “Wake up. You are not helping the faith.” “No irony when I say that I would not have your paper as a gift.” “I WANT NO MORE AMERICAS.”
Even among Jesuits there was backlash. The Brooklyn Tablet and other publications were host to numerous, strong criticisms of America by Jesuits who wanted it made clear that the magazine did not speak for the Society of Jesus. In some Jesuit communities in New York City the divisions were so strong that the topic of the McCarthy editorials simply could not be broached.
On May 29, 1954, McMahon informed Hartnett that America was not to write about McCarthy for two months: “America has stated clearly its position. We think it is best for America to let the matter rest there, at least for the present.” He also reassured Hartnett of the board’s backing. “We do not wish you to interpret this Directive as a vote of no confidence. It is not that. You are not asked to retract or change your position. You still have our support.” McMahon even left open the possibility of America writing about McCarthy in the future, subject to the board’s approval.
Sounds like his handlers were having trouble protecting their little firebrand. That’s John J. McMahon, head of the New York Province of the Jesuits and…
…professor of philosophy at Fordham University.
Where Hartnett got his PhD in Philosophy immediately before becoming editor in chief of the American upon graduation. McMahon hired his own student instead of promoting in-house.
I don’t have the timelines to verify this, in fact there’s almost nothing about McMahon online either, so this is as far as I can go.