The National Catholic Review
From April 17, 1954

As promised last week, we offer further excerpts from our exceptionally heavy "McCarthy mail."

EDITOR: Congratulations to Fr. Hartnett on his fine exposition of the McCarthy investigations and their effect upon the common good ... It indeed strikes at the heart of the issue.

Such an article was to be expected. You have long evidenced a deep interest in the common good in all of its aspects. You can sensibly evaluate the efforts of the Senator from Wisconsin in this regard.

I realize that to criticize the Senators conduct is at the moment the height of un-American activity, even though you go beyond objectives and methods. This is not the ordinary way of evaluating the issue.

You undoubtedly will lose some subscriptions. Perhaps you can be consoled by the fact that you probably have brought a very much-overlooked truth to the attention of many people who have more than an emotional approach to the problem of subversive investigation.

(Rev.) FRANCIS W. CARNEY / Cleveland, Ohio

EDITOR: Your "Congress, Communists and the common good" is the last straw. It was not enough that ministers of religion in Washington and New York brought the Christian Gospel into the McCarthy row. Now you bring Christian philosophy. The article definitely does not explain AMERICAS attitude toward the Senator from Wisconsin ...

(Rev.) THOMAS SULLIVAN, C.S.V. /Aberdeen, S. D.

EDITOR: Enclosed you will find my order for a years subscription to replace that of a dissatisfied reader. How anyone can classify Senator Joes "blunders" as "occasional" is tough to understand ...

One of your critics prays that you will change your policy ... I would much rather have it remain as it is. It couldnt be better. Pax!

W. K. COSBY / Roxbury, Mass.

EDITOR: Congratulations on Fr. Hartnetts articles. At least AMERICA does not avoid an issue of raging current interest for fear that some subscribers who may be of different opinions will cancel their subscriptions.

In the many years that I have read AMERICA I have been struck by the emphasis on the three "Rs" of Reason, Restraint and Revelation.

I do not agree in toto with Fr. Hartnetts evaluation of the purpose and scope of a congressional investigating committee in its relation to the Executive branch nor the value of the McCarthy subcommittee in particular, as related to the common good. But I hope to continue reading AMERICA for many years to come, not haphazardly, but as a regular subscriber.

N. M. SELINKA /New York, N. Y.

EDITOR: I am more alarmed each day about the endorsement by Catholics of McCarthy and McCarthyism. A hospital nun told me recently: "He is the only one who is fighting communism." The superior in a parochial school told her class: "I cant see why anyone is against Sen. McCarthy." ...

I recently gave a friend one of your editorials ... I received in reply an anti-Semitic reprint from Common Sense, "The Coming Red Dictatorship."

I am happy that your publication, along with Commonweal, is taking the stand it does.

LESTER A. BALLIET /Appleton, Wis.

EDITOR: This letter will terminate my subscription to AMERICA, which has extended over nearly 40 years. ... Its editorial pronouncements on the anti-Communist drive are a continual source of irritation. I tried to be patient ... But lately they seem to be infecting others on the staff besides the Editor and even spreading unnecessarily into the book reviews.

I have read and re-read "Congress, Communists and the common good." In my opinion it boils down to a discussion that beclouds the issue by wordy assertions and quotations on philosophical discriminations that have no value to the man in the street ...

I regard Sen. McCarthy as a forthright fighter against subversion who has done more to expose traitors and near-traitors than have all his critics combined ...

I also feel that ... your resistance to the Bricker-led movement ... is far from representative of American Catholic opinion ...

HERBERT D. A. DONOVAN, PH.D. / New Hyde Park, L. I., N. Y.

EDITOR: In regard to the overpublicized McCarthy controversy, how many Catholics have considered that the present situation does more to prove Paul BIanshards thesis than any of his books? How many Americans are connecting McCarthyism with Catholicism?

T. J. GEOGHEGAN / Mattapan, Mass.

EDITOR: ... To me, Sen. McCarthy is a man of infinite courage. I thank God for such men as he in public life. My religion is my most precious possession. Anybody who helps prevent my losing it, I will always champion, regardless of AMERICA, Time, Life, the Progressive ... or the Daily Worker.

KATHRYN ELLIS NOWAK / Hempstead, N. Y.

EDITOR: Youll no doubt grant me the right to disagree, sometimes very strongly, with your position ...

It is my conviction that your charge to the effect that Sen. McCarthy is splitting the Republican party, etc., is a lot of first-rate potash.    

PETE PRICE / St. Louis, Mo.

EDITOR: After reading your interesting "Congress, Communists and the common good," I am pleased to see that someone has finally approached the McCarthy issue with clear, solid reasoning ...

However, I disagree with your conclusion … In all equity, I ask you, who distracts public attention from important matters, Sen. McCarthy or the anti-McCarthy press?    

GERALD GALLAGHER / West Concord, Mass.

(Some of the most vigorous reactions came in letters explicitly marked "not for publication" or addressed personally to Fr. Hartnett or sent to the Business Office wit1wut clear indication whether they were for publication. Excerpts from this correspondence follow. Ed.)

FROM A PRIEST: I have just read your fine article developed from Yves Simons distinctions. It makes the issue neat and clear ... Some day a future Editor of AMERICA may say: "Too bad about Fr. Hartnett. He could not see Vox populi, vox Det [the voice of the people is the voice of God’] and now he languishes in a ‘clerical reform camp." I am overdoing it. I know. But am I entirely wrong?

FROM AN M.D. WHO IS A K. OF C. OFFICER: I am very much impressed by "Congress, Communists and the common good." Most of us are sick and tired of hearing it said from all sides that Sen. McCarthy is a spokesman for the Catholic Church ... AMERICAS articles should do much to dispel that impression ...

FROM A DENVER SUBSCRIBER: You may cancel my renewal ... After reading Fr. Hartnetts feeble attempt to put the record straight, I have been disillusioned as to where AMERICA stands on the major political issues of the day. Perhaps it has not occurred to your minds that the internal threat to America by communism has been mostly exaggerated by political rightists.

If AMERICA would junk its moderation and middle of-the-road policy and return to the Jeffersonian Liberalism from which it sprang, I am sure your influence would be much greater than it is ...

FROM A DENVER READER: It is too bad either your vision is a bit awry or your moral courage as to this particular issue is a bit weak. Had we no Sen. McCarthy, who really has it on the Army brass, thered be more Lattimores and Hisses on the loose.

FROM CHICAGO: How we need AMERICA in this day and age!

FROM A PRIEST IN UPSTATE NEW YORK: I am not discontinuing my subscription, since I do not have one. But if enough people did it might bring you to your senses. Please accept my prayers for your conversion ... May it not come too late to be effective.

FROM A LAWYER IN JACKSON, MICH.: "Presidential leadership vs. Senate hegemony" was more than intolerable. Kindly cancel my subscription immediately ... I have been diametrically opposed to you on the Korean war, British trade with Red China, Nato, the UN, the Bricker Amendment and Sen. McCarthy ... I cannot tolerate the arrogant and supercilious manner in which the editors and writers of AMERICA state their case.

FROM DENVER: Enclosed is a clipping of your article on "Presidential leadership," reprinted in the Denver Post. Everyone I know is in perfect accord with your viewpoint ...

FROM A LAY DEAN IN A JESUIT UNIVERSITY: Your "Congress, Communists and the common good" is the best analysis of a phase of the McCarthy problem that I have read .... Your article of March 27 is a calm and capable analysis of one of the basic issues. Thank you very much for your leadership in this most important situation.

FROM FLUSHING, N. Y.: Isnt Fr. Hartnett trying to ease out of his position a bit? His last article appears a bit timid, I thought.

FROM A PARISH PRIEST: I believe you on AMERICA have gone off half-cocked ...

FROM SAN FRANCISCO: You may personally have any opinion you wish regarding Sen. McCarthy. But I strongly condemn your taking any public position ...

FROM A MOTHER IN APPLETON, WIS.: In your views on "Presidential leadership vs. Senate hegemony," are you advocating scrapping the Constitution?

FROM A PRIEST IN N. Y. STATE: ... I still contend that in attacking Sen. McCarthy you are giving aid and comfort to our mortal enemy, or, as the Psalmist says, "helping the counsel of the wicked" ...

FROM TOLEDO: Sen. McCarthy is a good Catholic ... Look at his enemies: the Daily Worker, Tito, and Stevenson-a divorced man and member of the ADA.

FROM SAUGUS, MASS.: … I am convinced fear has become an obsession with you. Why dont you go to the foreign missions and get rid of that fear?

FROM A CATHOLlC JOURNALIST: I like "Congress, Communists and the common good" very much and am entering my subscription.

FROM A PRIEST IN NEW JERSEY: While I do not fully agree with you on the McCarthy issue, you may relax. I do not want to cancel my subscription to AMERICA. I want to seek further information …