Roman Catholicism and the American Way of Life

By Thomas T. McAvoy | Go to book overview

JUDGE JUVENAL MARCHISIO*


IV. The Italian Catholic Immigrant

Catholicism is the universal religion of the people of Italy. Less than one-third of one per cent -- 82,618 Protestants, 50,000 Jews and two or three thousand others -- out of a total population of over 48,- 000,000, attest to this fact. The Italian is consequently and unquestionably a Catholic immigrant.

Sailing ships, modern ocean liners, and airplanes, all in their time, have been carrying the children of Italy not only to the United States and the countries that make up the Americas, but to others, including far away New Zealand and Australia. Almost eleven million Italians, living abroad -- two million in Brazil, two million in Argentina, one million in France, and more than five million in the United States -- have brought with them the heritage of their culture and tradition and, what is more important, the comfort of their Faith.

While referring to the Italian immigrant, we are not unmindful of the millions of other foreign-born and first-generation Americans who, in the simple performance of their daily tasks, have contributed and contribute to the strength, the progress, and the welfare of our nation. Just as the earlier immigrants struggled and toiled to create the United States of America, so do the more recent arrivals continue to add to the sinews that give the country dynamic force for growth and security.

It is important to remember that Italian migration to this and other countries was not prompted by lust for adventure nor by violence done to them, but prompted almost always by a sense of personal dignity and the will to obtain, through work, the right to the necessities of life. The Italian immigrant, here, in America, as elsewhere, seldom abandoned his Faith. Even when he appeared to have

____________________
*
Judge Juvenal Marchisio is Judge of the Domestic Relations Court of New York City and President of the American Committee on Italian Migration.

-172-

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