I recently purchased the pictured February 1945 edition of The Converted Catholic Magazine, 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.