A voice from the past: The Converted Catholic Magazine

I recently purchased the pictured February 1945 edition of The Converted Catholic Magazine,scan0007 which was published monthly by a former ministry to Roman Catholics called Christ’s Mission.

Christ’s Mission was incorporated in 1887 in New York City by ex-Catholic priest, James A. O’Connor, as a Gospel witness to Roman Catholics and as a resource for men who had left the priesthood. The Converted Catholic Magazine was first published in 1883. It merged with The Protestant in 1928 but was revived in 1940. The Converted Catholic was renamed Christian Heritage in 1958, which was published until 1978. Christ’s Mission was absorbed by International Teams in 1984.

This particular edition of The Converted Catholic Magazine focuses on the danger of Roman Catholic hegemony in Canada with two articles; “Quebec – Spearhead of American Fascism” by J. J. Murphy and “The Secret Order of Jacques-Cartier” by (Canadian) Senator T. D. Bouchard.

Fear of the ascendancy of Roman Catholicism in North America may seem quaintly paranoid from today’s vantage point but the publishers of the magazine had been witnesses to the militant Roman Catholic clerical fascism of that period in nations like Spain, Portugal, Italy, Vichy France, Austria, Poland, Belgium, Slovakia, Croatia, and various countries in Latin America. Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI had issued encyclicals condemning democratic forms of government and extolling autocratic governments which favored Roman Catholicism and limited the religious freedom of non-Catholics. Yes, there were Catholic societies such as the secret Order of Jacques-Cartier ( L’Ordre des Commandeurs Jacques- Cartier), which were committed to the conversion of North America to Roman Catholicism. Many Protestants worried about the Vatican’s potential involvement in American politics with the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 but various factors contributed to the subsequent sharp decline of Catholic political power and influence.

These days the Catholic hierarchy has a hard enough time trying to convince its own membership to attend obligatory mass on Sunday let alone militantly imposing itself on anyone else. In recognition of the changing circumstances, Rome reversed its policy of confrontation and now extends a hand of ecumenical friendship to the separated brethren, which is working quite well. As the saying goes, you can catch more bees with honey than vinegar.

Where are the Christ’s Missions of today? I’ll address that question in a future post.

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4 thoughts on “A voice from the past: The Converted Catholic Magazine

  1. Loved this. Loved this post for the picture into the past. I love old books and writings for that reason: you get a glimpse of the times before and also see the similarities and differences of the human condition. It also seems that many people today don’t see the history of how aggressive Romanism use to be…politically and otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jim. Yes! Contemporary Catholics love to bring up anti-Catholic prejudice in this country in the 19th and 20th centuries but are they even vaguely aware of the papal decrees condemning democracies and freedom of religion or the heavy persecution of Protestants in countries where the Catholic church was in league with the civil government? It’s like the schoolyard bully running home crying to mommy because someone stood up to him. A good number of uninformed evangelicals today would say, “Why bring up the past? It’s all water over the dam. Catholics love Jesus just like we do. That’s the important thing.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I read your comment I thought about how last Fall someone in our congregation who had a British education was talking about “remember the fifth of November.” Other memebers of the church was wondering if he was talking about the movie “V for Vendetta.” Some were amazed that there was a real guy name Guy Fawkes who was Catholic and wanted to bow up the Parliament. It amazed me how we in the US might not be well informed with European history in general and among other things is why many American Evangelicals not understand the threat the Institution of Romanism posed to others historically…

        Liked by 1 person

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