Church and state encounters have been part of the American landscape from the colonial period when issues such as establishment versus disestablishment of religion and freedom of worship were hotly debated on many fronts. The ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in 1789 created, if not in actuality but by spirit, a separation of church and state where neither of these two institutions would in theory work for or against each other. The First Amendment's Establishment Clause made this concept clear: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Despite this apparently clear cut separation, numerous battles over issues such as education, religious freedom of expression, and government funding for religious purposes have been waged in the courts, especially during the latter half of the twentieth century.
Anti-communism, an issue that dominated thinking on all fronts in the United States during the Cold War era, was one area where church and state collaborated in their common desire to drive this ideology from America's sphere of influence. While some effort has been made to explore how the American government and various American religious groups and individuals collaborated toward the common goal of the eradication of the communist menace, no systematic or comprehensive study has been completed. During the 1950s, with American Catholicism and anti-communism at their respective apexes, the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) and some Catholics entered into partnerships to fight communism in Latin America. This essay describes how the Family Rosary Crusade, led by Father Patrick Peyton of the Congregation of Holy Cross (C.S.C.), with the assistance of multi-millionaire shipping magnate J. Peter Grace, entered into an agreement with the C.I.A. to fund the Crusade's efforts in Latin America as a vehicle to defeat communism through Catholicism, the traditional and practiced religion of the vast majority of people in South and Central America.
PATRICK PEYTON, C.S.C.-PRIEST AND ROSARY CRUSADER
Patrick Joseph Peyton was born on 9 January 1909 in the parish of Attymass, near Ballina County Mayo, Ireland, the sixth of nine children of John Peyton and Mary Gillard. He was raised in a humble setting that was highly influenced by the strong faith of his parents, especially his father who, although a sickly man, gathered the entire family in the main room of their small farm cottage each evening to pray the rosary. This experience of family prayer, traditional in the average Irish family of the early twentieth century, was the fundamental religious influence of Peyton's childhood and became the rationale behind a fifty-year career that promoted Marian devotion through the family rosary.
With the prospects of work and success in Ireland few, Peyton in May 1928 emigrated with his elder brother Thomas to the United States, initially settling in Scranton, Pennsylvania where an older sister, Beatrice, lived with her husband, Michael Gallagher. Peyton obtained work as a sexton in the Cathedral parish while attending St. Thomas High School. During his first year, members of the Holy Cross mission band from the University of Notre Dame came to Scranton to preach a mission. This initial contact led Peyton and Thomas to the minor seminary at Notre Dame in September 1929.1
Peyton completed high school, the novitiate, and graduated Magna cum laude from Notre Dame in 1937. He entered Holy Cross College, the theologate of the congregation associated with The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and lived at the Bengalese, a separate house of formation for those contemplating ministry in mission districts. In October 1938, however, his dream took a serious detour when he was diagnosed with an advanced case of tuberculosis. After initial treatment in Washington produced no positive results, he was moved to Notre Dame …