Letter from Secretary John O’Grady to Most Rev. C.H. LeBlond, with enclosure, “Resolution Passed by the Directors of Catholic Charities at their Annual Meeting, October 9-10, 1947.”
At the same time as the US bishops were taking notice of the plight of refugees, other Catholic charitable organizations were drawing up comparable memos and resolutions. Their object was to make lay Catholics aware of the refugee crisis, and to mobilize their support in order to move the refugees from the camps into new permanent homes. LeBlond introduces both a draft and a final version of Catholic Charities’ resolution to O’Grady. The draft and final versions of the resolution are similar in content, with only a few stylistic changes, perhaps indicating that the directors of Catholic Charities were more or less united in their intention to aid refugees.
The resolution emphasizes the need to help the refugees quickly, and to not delay or become bogged down in negotiation. If left to languish in the refugee camps for more than “the next two months,” refugees might become disillusioned and desperate, and fall prey to “powerfully organized Communistic forces.” Here, and elsewhere in the documents, US Catholics seem especially frightened by the Communists’ efficient organization and interconnectedness. The Communists’ ability to get things done, and to mobilize their resources, is held up as an incentive for Catholics to become more organized as well.
- How does the challenge of helping refugees compare, in this document’s estimation, to the other challenges that the United States has faced throughout its history? Do you consider this emphasis to be hyperbole for the purpose of making an effect, or do you think the writers of this document were being literal?
- What is one campaign on behalf of the refugees, according to this document, that the US government has already launched?