Friday, 12 November 2010

Authoritarian Religions and Peeping Thomism

On Making Muslim Democracies:

As a philosophy major at the Jesuit University of Detroit (1946-49, I was astonished to see a side of Maritain than none of my Jesuit professors alluded to in the least. Their Thomism was distinctly totalitarian!

Indeed when my essay, "Needed: More Red-blooded American Catholics" ,(i.e.who acted more like Communists on social issues such as racism and anti-Semitism), I was sneered at by my professors(except for sociologist John Coogan,S.J.), even though it won the Midwest Jesuit Province contest in 1949. At graduate school in Cleveland, the Chancery badgered the Newman Club chaplain, Paul Hallinan, for the crypto-Marxist editorials I wrote for the Newman weekly.

When confronted by the ecclesiatical brass, especially ultraconservative John Krol who soon became the backward looking Cardinal Archbishop of Philadelphia, my hometown when I joined the Penn faculty in American Studies in 1957. Hallinan told the skittery brass: "It's a university, gentleman: we're seeking the truth!"

(He was like me, working on his Ph.D.,with a dissertation on the first liberal bishop of Cleveland.) Paul became the first Northern bishop of Charleston, S.C. since the Civil War, and finally the first Archbishop of Atlanta and an intimate of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This hooferay was complicated by my maternal uncle's being Aloysius M.Fitzpatrick, editor of the diocesan weekly. No socialist fighter he!

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