American Catholic Dilemma: An Inquiry into the Intellectual Life

By Thomas F. O'Dea | Go to book overview
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Introduction

By this time everyone knows that there is a warm discussion going on in American Catholic circles concerning the state of intellectual endeavor among American Catholics. Fortunately, non-Catholics have politely and wisely kept out of the debate. In consequence, the dialogue has remained purely domestic, as it should be.

It all began simply enough. In 1946 there was formed The Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs. The motive for this action was a certain amount of social pressure brought to bear on American Catholics by the work of the Pax Romana association of Europe, which was a Catholic organization for all Catholics engaged in intellectual work. The association had no intention of being merely European and wanted American co-operation. In the European cadres of Pax Romana, university students were most conspicuous. In America it was felt that many Catholic colleges and universities, along with the national federation of Newman Clubs, took care of this phase of Catholic action. However, a professors' union was considered to be feasible and helpful. Hence it was given form and being.

The group, which as late as 1958 does not count 300 members, was ever gentle and harmless enough. They certainly felt no vocation toward revolt or intrigue. Actually they are not very active. They hold regional meetings and one annual national convention. So far not much more

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