"Communist Activities"

Cronin, John.jpg

Father John Cronin S.S.

Courtesy of ACUA

Father John Cronin S.S. had been fighting communists and their allies in the Baltimore shipyards for only a few months when he wrote this memo at the request of Detroit's Edward Cardinal Mooney. This experience and his extensive knowledge of Catholic labor activity, clerical and lay, throughout the country led him to re-think how the Church ought to respond to communist influence in the CIO. For Cronin, neither the conservative nor liberal method was the answer. What was required, rather, was a third way that would, he argued, combine denunciation and social reform. In addition, it required organization, discipline, and clerical leadership. Cronin would later write an enormously influential report on communism for the bishops and join SAD, but the ideas in this memo remained central to his thinking. They also seem to have influenced Mooney.


Communist Activities


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

1. Why were communists gaining so much influence?

2. Why did Cronin focus on organization?