Religion: Plot

4 minute read

The Brooklyn Tablet, official organ of the Roman Catholic diocese of Brooklyn, N. Y.. .is a monolithic weekly which is edited, as if with mallet & chisel, by Dr. Patrick Scanlan. Last week, for the third successive time, the Tablet gave its wide-eyed readers news about a plot which, if authenticated, would have made every front page in the land. Villain of the plot was Professor Thurman Wesley Arnold, Assistant Attorney General of the U. S. The plot itself: “starting a national religion and striving to control all others.”

In last fortnight’s Tablet Dr. Scanlan reported that Professor Arnold “urged an established church in the U. S. and sought to dictate what type of religion the churches should teach. It was a Hitler gesture.” In the issue before that, Editor Scanlan had printed the evidence for his extraordinary belief—a speech by Thurman Arnold in which that able lawyer, using imagery drawn from his widely-quoted book. The Folklore of Capitalism, had said:

“Every organized State must have its established church or, as I have expressed it elsewhere, its folklore. That church must embody the fundamental truth and principle which give the State its greatness. At the same time that church must not impose ridiculous unnecessary sacrifices on the great mass of the people. The fact that today the established church of the modern State is legal and economic, promising security for this life rather than for the hereafter, distinguishes us from the Middle Ages.”

Prince’s Progress

Of the three Roman Catholic Cardinals of the U. S., the most ardent friend of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal has long been Chicago’s Archbishop George William Cardinal Mundelein. Last month, after pontificating as Papal Legate at the New Orleans Eucharistic Congress (TIME, Oct. 31), Cardinal Mundelein journeyed to Washington, spent an afternoon cruising with the President aboard the yacht Potomac.

Shortly afterward the Cardinal sailed from Manhattan on the S. S. Rex, bound for Vatican City to report to Pope Pius XI and attend the beatification of a woman who may be the first U. S. citizen-saint, Italian-born Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini (TIME, Sept. 12). Said the Cardinal before sailing: “I am very glad to do this because I knew her very well and I buried her when she died in Chicago.” Last Sunday, by precedent-breaking permission of Eugenic Cardinal Pacelli, Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica (in charge of beatification ceremonies), Cardinal Mundelein celebrated Mass during rites which gave Mother Cabrini the title “Blessed,” entitled her to public veneration at her tomb in Manhattan.

Cardinal Mundelein’s visit to Italy had other spectacular aspects. Upon arriving; at Naples on the Rex, he was met by U. S. Ambassador William Phillips, lunched by the commander of the U. S. Mediterranean Fleet, given full military honors by the Italian Government, which furnished a special train to take him to Rome. The U. S. honors, unprecedented for a churchman, were ordered by President Roosevelt.

The progress of Chicago’s Prince of the Church (who, like all Cardinals, ranked as a prince of the blood while in Italy) gave rise to reports that he and President Roosevelt had arrived at an agreement for the resumption of diplomatic relations between the U. S. and the Holy See.* Observers pointed to a handsome new building, arising on Washington’s “Embassy Row,” for the Catholic Apostolic Delegation (whose function is purely ecclesiastical). Such reports have been current before—when Postmaster General Farley visited the Pope in 1936 and when Cardinal Pacelli, Papal Secretary of State, visited the U. S. two years ago (TIME, Oct. 19, 1936).

*The U. S. maintained ministers at the Vatican between1848 and 1867, when, with the end of the Papacy’s temporal power in sight, the U. S. Congress ceased appropriating money for its legation. Relations were never formally broken.

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