Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Tuesday, February 9, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Pacifica Senior Living - Calaroga Terrace

Home : News : Nation and World
8/4/2014 10:57:00 AM
'Great War' brought Catholics, bishops into mainstream of U.S. society
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — World War I was dubbed "the Great War" because of the near-global scale of the fighting.

Some called it "the World War," and many had thought it was "the war to end all wars." But its status as World War I was cemented when World War II commenced just 21 years after it ended.

It was 100 years ago, on July 28, 1914, that World War I began in earnest. The United States didn't enter into the war until 1917, playing a decisive role in its outcome, but U.S. Catholics were watching and worrying long before the nation -- what was for many of them their adopted homeland -- entered the hostilities.

Catholics accounted for about 16 percent of the U.S. population at the war's outbreak. Their numbers and proportion had grown because of immigration from many of the European nations and territories engaged in the conflict.

"There was a lot of anti-Catholic feeling in the country before the war, based on the large amount of Catholic immigrants coming into the country," said W. John Shepherd, an associate archivist at American Catholic Research Center at The Catholic University of America in Washington, where he has worked for the past 25 years.

"I think the war was very important to Catholics to show themselves and the rest of the country -- anybody who's paying attention -- that they could be devout Catholics and loyal patriots," Shepherd said.

There are as many stories in war as there are participants. One participant was Robert O'Connell, a Connecticut lad who was one of Gen. John Pershing's Doughboys after training at Washington Barracks -- now Fort McNair -- and shipping "over there."

Once in Europe, he asked his kin to write, "but don't expect me to write much. Censor is nuisance." In October 1917, O'Connell said, "Some of the boys must have expected to begin killing Germans the week after they enlisted and are disgusted with the Army."

Combat came soon enough. In July 1918, he was wounded. O'Connell, after being examined, was told to walk to a cave to get fixed up. "Cave was almost two miles farther along. I'd have walked twenty, I think, to get some relief from those shells," he wrote. "When you get this, I'll be back with the company again, but I'll have had this rest, anyway, just for a little hole less than half an inch deep."

Another story -- like O'Connell's, found in Catholic University's WWI archives -- is that of Adm. William Benson, the highest-ranking Catholic in the armed forces during the war. Born a Methodist in Georgia, he joined his wife's Catholic faith after marrying. Benson never saw any combat during his military career. He became chief of naval operations, a post created by Congress before U.S. entered the Great War. Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels was convinced Benson was a trustworthy officer who would not challenge civilian leadership of the military.

Benson retired in 1919 after the war ended. He was 64 and became one of the country's most high-profile lay Catholics after his military career. After just a year as a member of the Knights of Columbus, he became a fourth-degree Knight. In 1920, Pope Benedict XV bestowed on him the military insignia of the Order of St. Gregory the Great. He was the first president of the National Council of Catholic Men. He received the University of Notre Dame's Laetare Medal in 1927, and became chairman of the board for the Cardinal Gibbons Institute, the first high school in St. Mary's County, Maryland, to educate African-Americans.

For a church with a long-held just-war theory, it took war for the Catholic Church and its members to move more into the American mainstream.

"However, it was an easy war for them to support, especially with the German atrocities against the church in Belgium, the execution of as many as 13 priests," Shepherd told Catholic News Service. "There were also the German sinking of neutral, Allied ships, ships with neutral American passengers aboard, who being killed, so there's a humanitarian reason to oppose the German war effort.

"But there's a convenient reason for America to be against Germany, for the Catholic Church to support the war effort. As a despised minority, it gives them a chance to show that they're good citizens."

To that end, the National Catholic War Council was founded to support U.S. military efforts and oversee war-related activities in the church.

It was not the first attempt by the U.S. bishops to inject themselves  into the national conversation. The U.S. bishops had held plenary councils in 1852, 1866 and 1884, in part to deal with nativist backlash to the ongoing waves of Irish immigration.

But with the Great War, there were Catholics in the training camps and the battlefields, and those soldiers were every bit of deserving of spiritual care as their Protestant counterparts. Working with the Jewish Welfare Board, the YMCA and other organizations, the bishops joined in a "United War Work" campaign to support the war effort and get Americans to buy war bonds. After the war's end, these organizations coalesced into the United Service Organization, or the USO, which supports the U.S. military both at home and overseas.

After the armistice was signed Nov. 11, 1918, a National Catholic War Council was no longer needed. However, then-Father John Burke, a Paulist, who for years before World War I had envisioned some kind of entity for the U.S. bishops to make their voice heard on temporal as well as spiritual matters, convinced the bishops to look beyond war to peace. And thus was born the National Catholic Welfare Council.

Two American cardinals were strongly opposed to this council: William O'Connell of Boston and Dennis Dougherty of Philadelphia. They feared a nationwide body would usurp the bishops' authority in general, and theirs specifically.

The U.S. cardinals convinced a new pontiff, Pope Pius XI, to suppress  the NCWC in February 1922. But after Bishop Joseph Schrembs of Cleveland, Msgr. Burke and their supporters successfully argued their case to the pope and the curia, the suppression order was lifted that July. The name change was changed from "Council" to "Conference."

The National Catholic Welfare Conference was the precursor to today's U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The U.S. model was later adopted by other nations' bishops as a way to lead the Catholic faith and suggest policy to governments, according to Douglas Slawson, a professor at National University in San Diego, who has written on U.S. Catholic history.

"By 1934," Slawson told CNS, "the hierarchies of Austria, England and Spain had founded organizations patterned on NCWC." Canada's bishops had tried to do the same as early as 1928, but was forbidden to do so by the Vatican, he noted. "The Canadian Catholic Conference was finally organized in 1943," he said.

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved