Msgr. John O'Grady, "The McCarran Immigration Bill: the Perpetuation of the Doctrine of Nordic Superiority is the Basic Question," Commonweal, June 20, 1952


Msgr. John O'Grady, 1938
Courtesy of ACUA

Commonweal is a "review of religion, politics and culture edited and managed by lay Catholics," which began publication in 1924. Leaders of the NCWC and the National Conference of Catholic Charities often contributed to the magazine, explaining their organizations' positions on a variety of political and social issues. In this article, John O'Grady, the head of the NCCC, explains why he believes that the McCarran-Walter Act should be rejected. He condemns the continuation of the national origins quota system, the literacy test, and what he believes in the NCWC's support for the McCarran-Walter Act.


"The McCarran Immigration Bill: The Perpetuation of the Doctrine of Nordic Superiority is the Basic Question"


As you read the document, reflect on the following questions:

  • Why does O'Grady believe that the McCarran-Walter Act "perpetuates the doctrine of Nordic superiority"? What ethnic groups does he mention as particularly restricted?
  • How does O'Grady think the new legislation will affect the process of deporting immigrants? What does he fear will be the inevitable result of this process?
  • What does O'Grady say about the NCWC's support for the McCarran-Walter Act? What does he think is the real opinion of the legislation given by the United States bishops and the majority of Catholic organizations?