Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

A Catholic Cold War. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and the Politics of American Anticommunism

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

A Catholic Cold War. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and the Politics of American Anticommunism

Article excerpt

A Catholic Cold War. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and the Politics of American Anticommunism. By Patrick McNamara. (New York: Fordham University Press. 2005. Pp. xxi, 280. $45.00.)

When the young Bill Clinton arrived at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service in 1964, he tells us in My Life, he knew that its founder, Father Edmund A. Walsh, was a "staunch anti-Communist" and that its faculty, many of whom had fled Communist regimes in Europe or China, were still conservatives and "sympathetic to any anti-Communist activity by the U.S. government, including in Vietnam." To some degree the founders had the future Bill Clintons of America in mind when in 1918 they set out, as Patrick McNamara writes, to "exert a wider influence on society by producing future statesmen and financiers imbued with a sense of moral responsibility . . . to promote the common good."

McNamara's thorough and focused study of Walsh's anticommunism reveals that actually Walsh was more the publicist than founder of the School and that, contrary to various histories, although Walsh did have dinner with Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy in 1952, he was probably not his mentor in McCarthyism's witch hunt. The final irony is that this Jesuit entrepreneur, who McNamara argues was the best-known, most influential American Catholic of his time, is already, only fifty years after his death, a forgotten man.

By any standards, Walsh's career dazzles. Born in Boston in 1885, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1902 in Frederick, Maryland, after attending Boston College High School. Ordained at Woodstock College, Maryland, in 1916, he was assigned to Georgetown University in 1918. Apparently because his diplomatic talents were evident, he was made director of the Papal Relief Mission to faminestricken Soviet Russia in 1922 and went on to spend twenty months there, both distributing food and as an ambassador from the Holy see to the new communist government, which was persecuting the Christian religion. Over three decades, stunned by what he had witnessed, Walsh made himself the most outspoken critic of the Russian revolution, which he saw as a plot to enforce an immoral, godless system on an unwary world. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.