This provides the historical background and a summary of completed research.  There are ongoing additions. 


  • Entries in black concern historical background–both religious and secular.  The focus is on events affecting British Catholics in particular,   but in addition, Fr. Dudley had a very close connection to the United States–it is even possible that he was even more popular in the USA–so entries also reflect that. 
  • Key entries are in red.  Usually they concern Fr. Dudley and/or  the Catholic Missionary Society, but sometimes they are other key events.
  • Green entries concern Fr. Dudley’s fictional characters.
  • Blue entries are newspaper articles which illustrate the wide-spread popularity of Fr. Dudley.  They are typically small matters:  which is the point–Fr. Dudley was popular in even at the village level.  This listing is contingent upon what has/hasn’t been yet electronically archived.  Sometimes the full article is provided to illustrate the home-town feel of many of these discussions.
  • Purple entries are articles about Fr. Dudley’s speaking engagements, interviews, writings, etc., or the Catholic Missionary Society, unless they warrant red as a key entry. 
  • Newspaper entries are typically from the Unites States.  Although we have found articles in the British press–including Fr. Dudley’s own articles–we have not found many announcements of book discussions, interviews, etc.  That could have been because they were announced in the Catholic Gazette (the publication of the Catholic Missionary Society which is not electronically archived) and/or in Catholic parish bulletins.  Still, it does appear that British newspapers didn’t carry as much religions news (at least regarding Catholics) as did American newspapers.  Regarding other countries, the articles are quite limited:  we have not found sufficient archives, and (alas) are fluent only in English.  Assistance would be appreciated!
  • With apologies, dates are listed: month/day/year.  The year of events without specific dates, are mentioned first, followed by events with specific identified dates.  (Sometimes only the year is mentioned when the exact date seems irrelevant.)  Likewise, when only the month is available, that is listed first followed by those items with specific dates within the month.
  • “Fr. Dudley” or “Dudley” will always refer to Fr. Owen Francis Dudley: not his brother Eustace Dudley, SJ.
  • The sources for the information for Fr. Dudley are listed on the Research Information page.  Sources for general historical events during that period are sometimes linked, or can be found through an internet search.
  • Links to the original articles are usually provided when not behind a pay-wall:  but the norm is that they are behind a paywall. 
  • Please contact the editor of this site about any needed corrections or additions.


  1.  The timeline seeks to provide the big picture–showing inter-relationships and context–as well as providing a detailed list of specific facts.
  2. The entries, taken as a whole, demonstrate a strikingly different picture of the Church Militant than typically portrayed in recent decades.  We don’t see the empty formalism, poor catechesis, and indifference that is often claimed regarding this period (although there were doubtlessly examples of such problems).  Rather, sincere, devout efforts at the parish/local level come through in these entries. 

1789:  French Revolution began.

1800’s:  Catholic decline and resurgence (from the Modern History Sourcebook, Fordham University):

     England had been among the most Catholic of European countries before the Reformation, but the actions of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I in establishing the Church of England, and of King Philip II of Spain and a whole succession of popes in seeking to bring down the English monarchy led to a situation where Englishness was defined by Protestantism. The number of English Catholics dwindle to a few tens of thousands.
In the 19th century this changed. English Catholics were joined by thousands of converts from Anglicanism, and millions of Irish Catholic immigrants. The result was a vast expansion in the number of Catholics until they numbered about 10% of the population, and a much higher percentage of the church-going population. Catholics continued to be seen as “foreign” (“the Italian mission to the Irish”), however, until well past World War II.
     In the middle of the 19th century, Pope Pius IX decided to restore the English Catholic hierarchy… This move was denounced by English Protestants as “aggression” and a law was passed preventing Catholics from using any Anglican episcopal title: hence Catholic dioceses ended up with names such as “Westminster” rather than “London”…  [F]or all the opposition by Protestants, the event was seen by Catholics in triumphal terms.

 1815:  Napoleon defeated at Waterloo.

1828-1829:  Catholic emancipation granted by British Parliament.

1839:  Slavery abolished in British Empire.

1845:  John Henry Newman (1801-1890) converted to Catholicism.

1845-1849:  Irish famine.

1852:  A “Second Spring” for Catholicism was declared by John Henry Newman (1801-1890) in a sermon before the Bishops of England.  Converts during that time included prominent Victorian writers such as Coventry Patmore, Alice Meynell, William Ward, Aubrey Beardsley, and Oscar Wilde.

1853-1856:  Crimean War (France and Britain against Russia).

1858- 1947:  British rule of India.

1859:  On the Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin published.

2/29/1860: A New York Time article “Civilization before the Reformation: A LECTURE BY RIGHT REV. DR. SPALDING.” A pro-Catholic lecture delivered to the Catholic Library Association.

1861-1865:  The U.S. Civil War and then the end of slavery in the USA.

1868:  The Catholic Truth Society founded in England (and remains active).

1869-1870:  First Vatican Council details the conditions for papal infallibility–among other things.

1871-1887:  Otto von Bismarck achieved unification of Germany, and initiated the Kulturkampf against the Catholic Church.

1882:  Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy form the “Triple Alliance.”

1878 – 1903:  Pontificate of Leo XIII.

1879:  Aeterni Patris issued by Pope Leo XIII praising St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings. This revival of Thomism later influenced Fr. Dudley as one can see in his novel The Pageant of Life (1932).

1880 – 1881:  First Anglo-Boer War.

7/1/1880: “The Catholic Crisis”, a New York Times article, supported a glowing endorsement of attacks against the Catholic Church including condemnation of the “Ultramontanism” of Vatican I (in a review of Contemporary Portraits by E. De Pressense.)

5/24/1882: Owen Francis Dudley born in Yorkshire, England.  He attended:  Monmouth School for boys (Monmouth, Wales by the banks of the River Wye); and Lichfield Theological College, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England.
Fr. Dudley comes from a strong Protestant background which included writing.  Charles Stokes Dudley (paternal grandfather) was a published author–as was his mother, Mary (nee Stokes) Dudley (whose writings were compiled by her daughter Elizabeth Dudley whose memoirs were also published ).
  Another possible relative was Hannah Dudley:  a Methodist missionary (mostly) in Fiji.
–  Mother’s parents:  John Dixon Frost (1811-1880), an Anglican Vicar, and Elisabeth Bodley (1815-1897).
–  Father’s parents:  Charles Stokes Dudley (1780-1862), and Sarah Dudley (?).
–  Father: Francis Dudley (1844-1923), Anglican Vicar
–  Mother: Alice Isabella Frost Dudley (1853-1943)
–  Siblings:
—  Theodore Dudley (1879-1879): died in infancy.
—  David Dudley (1881-1915): an accomplished athlete who became an Army officer stationed in
 India–and then sent to France in WW I where he died in action.  
—  Owen Francis Dudley (1882-1952)
—  Eustace Dudley (1884-1956): converted to Catholicism, and became a Jesuit priest.  Fr. Eustace wrote columns in the Catholic Gazette (the publication of the Catholic Missionary Society) along with his brother Fr. Owen.

—  Edmund Dudley (1885-1959): married to Catharine Lambert Irwin (1881-1975) in 1913.  Edmund was the only sibling to have children of his own:  5 daughters all of whom have now all died (although leaving decedents).  These were no doubt the children to whom The Tremaynes was dedicated:  “Dedicated to the children with whom I have spent glorious days in the bays and on the cliffs of North Cornwall.” 
—  Dorothy Christine Dudley (1889-1978): never married.

6/18/1882:  Owen Francis Dudley baptized at the Anglican parish of St. Anne, Wrenthorpe, County of York, Yorkshire, England.

10/18/1883: New York Times article, “The Catholic Church Praised:  Resolutions Passed by the Presbyterian Synod.”

1891:  Rerum Novarum issued by Pope Leo XIII.  Fr. Dudley came to view it as the antidote to Marxism, and it is the only encyclical that he quoted in his novels (in The Coming of the Monster, 1936)–and this is the only Pope Fr. Dudley mentions by name.

1893:  Providentissimus Deus issued by Pope Leo XIII drew a battle line against modernism concerning Biblical interpretation–and emphasizing he inerrancy of Scripture.

1895:  the “wild west” period ends in the USA.  It started at the end of the Civil War in 1965 when many veterans moved west of the Mississippi River:  many of whom were used to killing their fellow Americans; some of whom were unwell; and some of whom were bitter about the outcome of the war.   Alternative ending dates of this period include 1912 when New Mexico and Arizona were admitted into the US as states–thus completing the 48 states (leaving only Alaska and Hawaii to be later admitted).  This was the peak period:  wild westish things happened before and after this period. 
    Those who were not killed obviously lived later:  Bat Masterson died in 1921.
    Wyatt Earp died in 1929 and lived long enough to be friend of early western movie actors.
    Wyatt’s widow lived until 1944, and Virgil Earp’s widow, Allie, lived to be nearly a hundred:  dying in 1947.  (This does not represent any claim that either of them were a “wife” in terms of moral theology or even necessarily  by law.)  Both of these women had personal, first hand, memories of the wild west in Tombstone, AZ and many other locations.

1896: Apostolicae curae issued by Pope Leo XIII declared all Anglican ordinations to be “absolutely null and utterly void.”

11/5/1897:  The Times of London, “THE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION,”, p. 11: 

The Tablet publishes the following letter which has been addressed by Cardinal Vaughan to a correspondent:–

November 1, 1897.

“Dear —– , –As you have asked my advice in reference to the School Board election, I lay before you the following principles which I think contain sufficient guidance for the present occasion: 
     “1.  No system of public elementary education is acceptable for the training of Catholic children, but, such as is distinctly and frankly Catholic.  The Catholic demand is Catholic education given by competent Catholic teachers to Catholic children.  If the State insists upon educating the children of the country it is bound at the same time to respect the inalienable natural right of parents and their offspring in the matter of religion.
     “2.  No instruction in partial Christianity, no form of Christianity other than the Catholic, can be accepted by Catholics for their children.  Better a thousand times purely secular instruction, supplemented as best may be elsewhere, than unsound and faulty instruction in the truths of Christianity.
     “3.  As Catholics are not expected to support the various non-Catholic missionary societies that seek to evangele the heathen, so neither can they be expected to support any of ths non-Catholic methods by which it is sought to evangelize the Board schools.
     “4.  At the same time, Catholics who stand for the liberty of the subject will do wisely to demand that School Boards shall recognize the right of all parents to have their children instructed in their own religion and in no other, and this even during school hours, if it can be so arranged.  School Boards are necessary and must be maintained; but they ought not to have power to over-ride a parental right directly affecting the religion of the children.
     “So far as Catholics are concerned, it will be distinctly understood that the limitation of religious education to the mere teaching of a Catechism, either within or without the Board school premises, is a compromise that will never satisfy the Catabolic demand for an education that shall be fully and frankly Catholic.
     “A compromise, indeed, may sometimes be accepted as the less of two evils, for instance, where no Catholic school is possible; and in such ease a School Board ought not to have power to refuse it.
     “5.  The main objects before Catholics, in sending members to the School Board and in serving upon it themselves are these:–To protect the interests and rights especially of the Catholic part of the population; to see that voluntary schools be not hindered, injured, or destroyed by the action of the boards; to secure that the Board schools be conducted with due regard to the rights and liberties of all, to public economy and to efficiency in secular instruction.
     ” I hope these points may help to decide your course: in the coming election. ”

“Herbert Cardinal Vaughan”

1899 – 1902: Second Anglo-Boer War.

1900:  Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) met.  Belloc was a prolific author who first published in 1896. Belloc and Chesterton supported each other so much that George Bernard Shaw called them “Chesterbelloc.”
Still, their styles were very different. As University of Dallas Professor Frederick D. Wilhelmsen put it:  “[Belloc’s] intransigent defense of all things Catholic first amused a literate and basically skeptical gentry looking for novelty; then offended; finally, it was considered intolerable.” “Old Thunder,” as Belloc was called, opined in 1940 (4 years after Chesterton’s death) that Chesterton’s great failure was in not indulging in enough “ridicule and invective” of his opponent’s nonsense, and faulted Chesterton for having “made no enemies.”  (“How Belloc reaches Our Souls,” David Paul Deavel, Gilbert, March/April 2014.)  Dudley’s approach fell between these two.

1901:  Census.  At St Peter parish, Buckinghamshire, England resided:  George William Halch (47, head of household, married, Architect, born in Shinfield, Berkshire, England); Jane Edith Halch (48, wife, born in Hillingdon, Middlesex, England); Leonard John Halch (21, born in Cowley, Middlesex, England); Charles Henry Halch (18, ), Cicely Hare (25, ); Sarah Edwards (69, married, Houskeeper, occupation of servant & housekeeper ); Frances Edwards (70, married, Servant, retired gardner); Robert G. Thrower (16, single, Page Boy ) Frances Long (14, Housekeeper), Owen Dudley (18, visitor, single, “Architecture Pupil”?, born in about 1883 in Rainthorpe, Yorkshire, England).  Of course, the record is handwritten, and difficult to interpret in places.

1901:  Queen Victoria died after ruling since 1837. She was replaced by King Edward VII who ruled until 1910.

1901:  G.K. Chesterton and Frances Blogg marry.

1902:  Arthur James Balfour (Conservative) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until 1905.  See here for official listing.

1903:  Pope Leo XIII died; pontificate of St. Pius X began (ending in 1914).

Beginning of Fr. Dudley's 1952 article on CMS history.
Beginning of Fr. Dudley’s 1952 article on CMS history.

1903:  The Catholic Missionary Society was founded by Cardinal Herbert Vaughan.  It was a project of the bishops of England and Wales, although their out reach was throughout the English speaking world, and their priests made numerous trips to the USA.  Several famous and amazing priests served (such as Mgsr. Benson below).  Fr. Dudley would join it in 1919, and serve as Superior 1933-1947.

1903:  Author Mgsr. Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914) entered the Catholic Church. He was one of the first priests who use the Motor Chapel (in 1911) operated by the Catholic Missionary Society under Fr. Bernard Vaughn (the 2nd Superior).  (Fr. Dudley joined the Society in 1919, also working under Fr. Vaughn until succeeding him in 1933.)

1903:  Author J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973) received his first communion as a child after his widowed mother converted to the Catholic faith resulting in the wrath of all her relatives–plunging her and her children into poverty.

1904:  G.K. Chesterton met Fr. John O’Connor who was the model for Fr. Brown in the mysteries that Chesterton started writing in 1910.  Chesterton also wrote The Napoleon of Notting Hill–his first novel–this year.

1904:  Entente Cordiale signed:  signaling the end to conflicts that had erupted between France and Britain many times over the centuries.

1905:  Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (Liberal) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until 1908.

1905:  George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950, Irish playwright ) enters into 30 years of witty public debate with G.K. Chesterton.

1905:  A revolution in physics begins led by Albert Einstein.

1905:  First Russian revolution (not the Bolshevik revolution of 1917).

1906: “electric theatres” started opening in London.  These were permanent, full-time cinema venues:  although the first show to a paying audience took place earlier in 1896.  See London’s Silent Cinemas.

1906:  Writer/professor Jacques Maritain (1882-1973) entered the Church.

December 1906:  The plot of The Pageant of Life (1932) begins with a Christmas dance.  June Campion was 16 years old as was Bernard Rodney.  Cyril Rodney was 17.

July 1907:  The plot of The Pageant of Life (1932) (Chapter II).  While rowing, Bernard Rodney finds June Campion walking with his brother Cyril–the transition of affections from Bernard to Cyril appears well underway.  Cyril has decided to cram for Sandhurst and go into the Army, and Bernard has decided to become a writer, and obtains his father’s approval to take his education in that direction.  Shortly thereafter, Anselm Thornton is first invited to the Rodney home.

9/8/1907:  Pascendi Dominici Gregis issued by Pope Pius X:  declaring all out war on modernism.

1908:  Herbert Henry Asquith (Liberal) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until 1916.

1908:  Chesterton’s Orthodoxy published. He had written Heretics, and Mr. G.S. Street (a Catholic modernist) had complained that Chesterton had not written what is was in favor of–only what he opposed–thus Chesterton’s new book.

1909:  The Ball and the CrossChesterton’s 2nd novel, concerned the confrontation between militant atheism and a militant Catholicism.  (Chesterton’s 1st novel was The Napoleon of Notting Hill, 1904.)  Dudley addresses this conflict, but in a very different way, in his novels:  The Shadow on the Earth, The Masterful Monk, Pageant of Life, The Coming of the Monster, and Last Crescendo.

1909:  Francis Galton was knighted: essentially knighting eugenics–a term coined by Galton and the work for which he was best known. (Support of eugenics within British government was not usual, and included Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Arthur Balfour.)  Eugenicist’s focused opposition to the Catholic Church may seem odd, given that Britain’s official religion was Anglican: but the Anglican Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral (Inge) was an enthusiastic eugenicist and his views were supported by such Anglican bishops as Boyd Carpenter (1841-1918) and Charles Frederick D’Arcy (1859-1938; chairman of the Belfast branch of the Eugenics Education Society).  Although the connection may not be immediately obvious, eugenicists tended to also support “free love” and marriages that were temporary and open.  It was Adolf Hitler who finally ended open eugenics advocacy among polite society by discrediting it.

March 1909: concern about cinema theaters:  “For instance, when the Superintendent at the Southwark Station police branch visited the Bio-Picture Land Theatre on Trinity Street, Borough…he thought that the crowded conditions, where boys and girls sat together, were ‘very demoralising’, and that ‘the place lends itself to indecent practices’.”  And then later:

During World War I, earlier fears about the conduct of the city’s audiences grew worse. Moral and religious reformers, like Frederick Charrington, who had been vocal in the campaign to ‘clean up’ London’s music halls in the 1890s, produced evidence of indecency inside London’s cinemas. This included accusations of male and female prostitution and child prostitution. Subsequent investigations organised by the Metropolitan Police were less damning. But they did suggest that cinema staff were habitually turning a blind eye to sexual behaviour between adults (including between women and soldiers) going on in the darkness of the auditorium…  [T]he LCC and neighbouring councils took the complaints seriously enough to tighten up their regulations, and, in the case of one cinema in Finsbury Park, to prosecute the proprietor for disorderly conduct.  Elsewhere, the death of four children in a stampede at the Electric Theatre Picture Palace in Deptford added to ongoing calls for proper supervision of children inside London’s cinemas.

10/15/1909:  letter in The Pageant of Life (1932):  Anselm Thornton to Mrs. Rodney about her son Cyril after his (initial) engagement to June Campion.  Cyril was in the Army, and had “completed his course at Woolwich and had done his Gunnery, was a Sub. in the R.F.A. [Royal Field Artillery].”  Anselm was at the end of his 3 years at London University (before attending Guy’s medical school in London).  Bernard Rodney was at Oxford.  Mrs. Rodney was concerned about what the extent of Cyril’s drinking might be, and (unbeknownst to her) Anselm had intervened the night before to prevent a liaison between Cyril and a prostitute.

December 1909: The Pageant of Life (1932):  Anselm Thornton  begins philosophic tutoring with Dr. Edward Pearce–a priest working in the East End of London–while attending medical school at Guy’s.

1910:  Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980, American writer) became Catholic.

1910:  G. K. Chesterton’s first Fr. Brown mystery published.

5/6/1910:  King Edward VII died; replaced by King George V (who reigned until 1936).

1911:  Dudley became an Anglican minister:  He served first in a small country parish for a year (Westbury-on-Severn); and then a parish in London’s East End (St. John’s Limehouse, E.)  (Source:  The Catholic Who’s Who, 1940]).  London’s East End became one of the settings for his novel, Pageant of Life.

1911:  England & Wales Census.  At Divenor House, Adsett, Westbury On Severn, Gloucestershire, England shows the following residents:  Clara Ruth Brazington (57, widow, head of household, born in “Little Kissington, Glos.”), Gladys E Brazington (20, daughter, single, born in Westbury on Severn, Glos), Owen Dudley (28, boarder, single, Clerk in Holy Orders, born in Helmsley, Yorkshire), and James Sholts Douglas (22, boarder, single, Parish Worker, born in Chester).  The entries were (of course) handwritten, and the specific date of the census information is not given.

1911:  Pohle-Preuss Manual of Dogmatic Theology published.  This 12 volume reference work was used in many Catholic seminaries until seminaries began to take a different approach in the 1950’s.  Fr. Dudley would have used either this reference, or an equally scholastic one.

1911:  William Inge (1860-1954) was chosen by the Prime Minister to be Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral at London: “the supreme pulpit of the supreme city of the British Empire” (Chesterton). Chesterton used this “Gloomy Dean” as a foil for nearly 20 years–as did Belloc.  
     Dudley pejoratively mentioned Dean Inge in The Shadow on the Earth (Chapters IV and XII), and it was surely Inge whom Dudley referenced in The Coming of the Monster.  (From pp. 37-38:  “From a pulpit of a London Cathedral, on Good Friday, a Doctor of Divinity is preaching in well-modulated tones: `In these days, when educated reason revolts against dogmas to which it cannot intelligibly subscribe, the doctrine of the Redemption requires restatement in terms of modern thought, and according to the findings of modern Scriptural research. It is recognized now that Christ did not claim to be the Son of God in a physical sense such as the Gospel narratives of the Virgin Birth affirm, nor in a metaphysical sense such as is required by Nicene theology, and such as it required if we accept the mediaeval conception of the Atonement. The once popular doctrine too, of the Fall of Man being no longer tenable, we are compelled to abandon the consequent crude, I might say barbaric, notions with which Catholic theology has invested the Death on Calvary…'”
     Inge was a prolific writer who was strongly anti-Catholic, pro-contraception, and pro-eugenics. Surely Inge must have been a factor in Dudley’s conversion to Catholicism.

1911:  The 1st of the Motor Chapels was put into service by the Catholic Missionary Society:  “to establish parishes throughout the suffrage of Norfolk. The first Priests to go with the Motor Chapel were Fr. Bernard Vaughn (Second Superior), Mgr. Robert Hugh Benson, Fr. Vassall Phillips and Fr. George Nicholson.”

1912:  The Task of Social Hygiene, by Havelock Ellis (1859-1939), published. Ellis was a tireless supporter of eugenics. Ellis also famously wrote about homosexuality, gender and transgender identity, autoeroticism, and other sexual matters.

1912:  Pageant of Life (1932):  Anselm Thornton become a physician, and stays on at Guys as Junior Surgeon, and Bernard Rodney published his first book which was sympathetic to St. Aquinas’ approach.  

4/15/1912: RMS Titanic sinks.  Fr. Thomas Byles, one of the original Catholic Missionary Society priests, died bravely performing his duties during the sinking of the Titanic while on the way to the United States.  From time to time CMS priests came to the USA to give talks.

8/6/1912:  The Times of London, “ROMAN CATHOLIC CONGRESS AT NORWICH,” p. 3:

     Yesterday morning the National Catholie Congress at Norwich was occupied with sectional meetings of various societies. In the afternoon a largely attended general meeting, organized by the Catholic Missionary Society, was held in St. Andrew’s Hall. 
     CARDINAL BOURNE, who presided, said he regarded the meeting as the most distinctive of the congress.  The motor chapel had been carrying on its missionary work in East Anglia, and when all things were considered really great results had been obtained.
     CANON FREELAND said that the motor chapel had not only brought many into fold, but had restored many to the practices of their religion which, in isolated places, had lapsed or grown cold.
     The ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NORTHAMPTON said that elsewhere congregations created missions, but in the diocese missions had to be started to create congregations. If they were to confine their efforts simply to those places where there was an existing congregation then they would have hundreds and hundreds of square miles absolutely without a Catholic priest or Catholic church.
     A discussion took place on the influence of the stage on character, and one of the papers quoted the testimony of Sir Charles Santley, who said that there was no more perilous career than that of the artist in the theatre. It was stated that the Church had no antipathy to stage qua stage, but to the abuse of its undoubtedly great powers ‘when it pandered under guise of the artistic to the lowest passions of mallkind.


     The proceedings of the Catholic Congress at Nonvich were brought to a close at a meeting addressed by Cardinal Bourne last night. In proposing a resolution of allegiance to the Holy See, Cardinal Bourne said that the Catholic Women’s League-now happily established even in Rome-asked for their support. If it seemed strange that their brethren in Rome looked to them for help, adequate reason for that appeal was found in the fact that the attacks which were made upon the faith of the Roman people were largely dependent on the money sent there from England, America, and other English-speaking countries. (“Shame.”) He was told that since October last new recreation balls had been established in Rome in addition to numerous schools and proselytizing centres which already existed. There were anti-Catholic agents who had opened sanatoria where delicate girls ‘were admitted on condition that they gave up going to Confession and to Mlass and did not pray to the Madonna. (” Shame.”) When they set up Catholic schools in England they did so for Catholic children, and they might fairly and justly complain when any organization in any other country set up schools for proselytizing purposes. (Cheers.) 
     Alluding to a pilgrimage to Rome which the Catholic Association at his request had organized for October, and of which the Duke of Norfolk will be the leader of the laity, Cardinal Bourne said its object was to renew the dedication of England to the Holy See. They did this because thev felt that by the act of the Holy See in reorganizing the hierarchy of England a new period of activity was opening before them.”

November 1912:  Woodrow Willson elected President of the U.S.

1913:  Compton Mackenzie (1883-1972) became Catholic: a British novelist, and celebrity (first on the radio and then on TV).

1913:  Theodore Maynard (1890-1956) became Catholic. An Englishman whose parents were Calvinist missionaries to India, Maynard studied in the US to become a Congregationalist minister. He was sliding into humanitarian skepticism before reading Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, which prompted him into the Catholic Church long before its author. A professor (in the US), one of the most important historians of Catholicism in America, and a contributor to a journal (“Eye Witness”) founded by Cecil Chesterton and Hillarie Belloc.

1913:  Trent’s Last Case by E. C. Bentley published.  Edmund Clerihew Bentley, (1875 – 1956) was a British writer and journalist–and the life-long friend of G. K. Chesterton.  This novel was written a counterpoint to the infallibility of the Sherlock Holmes character, and considered by Dorothy L. Sayers as the first work of the Golden Age of mystery fiction (although the general rough starting date for that era is 1920).  Bentley also was the inventor of the “clerihew”:  humorous poetry based upon biography.

2/7/1913:  The Times of London, “Court Circular” from Buckingham Place (p. 9) has among its listings:  “The Duke of Norfolk was unable to be present, owing to an attack of influenza, at a meeting of the Catholic Missionary Society in the Kensington Town Hall last night.”

1914:  Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) started The Woman Rebel carrying the slogan “NO GODS, “NO MASTERS.”  She was indicted for violation of the Comstock Act 1873 in the US, and fled to England until 1915. Embracing the idea of “free love,” Sanger had affairs with writer H. G. Wells and others. Sanger was raised by a Catholic mother and a “freethinking” father. She coined the term “birth control,” was an eugenicist, and founded Planned Parenthood.

1914:  Christopher Dawson (1889-1970, cultural historian) covered to Catholicism at the age of 25.

1914:  Cinema production was well established in a number of countries by 1914:  the near hegemony of the USA did not occur until World War I greatly limited film production in Europe.

6/28/1914:  Assassination of Franz Ferdinand (heir to the Astro-Hungarian throne) in Serbia.

Mid-July 1914:  In Pageant of Life (1932):  In Chapter VII, Anselm Thornton and Cyril Rodney took a vacation.  First they went to Padua, Italy and then “made northwards by a tediously slow train to the foot of the Alps, changed to a funicular railway, and were finally landed at Issano, a town perched well up on the lower slopes.”  (“Issano” was the location of the monastery where Thornton later became a monk–if this was a real town, or based upon a real town, it has gone undiscovered so far in the research.)  From there, they watch as troubles envelop in Ireland and World War I begins.  Then Rodney is recalled to his Field Artillery unit, and Thornton hopes to become a medical officer in that unit.

July 21-24, 1914:  The Conference of British and Irish Leaders meet–unsuccessfully–at Buckingham Place (as noted in Chapter VII, Pageant of Life).  The landing of rifles by Nationalist Volunteers followed on the 26th, and the “Irish party defiantly [faced] the hostility of Unionist politicians and he Press.”

7/28/1914:  The Great War (World War I) begins.  Fr. Dudley and his brothers will serve–and one will be killed early in the war.

8/3/1914:  Germany invades Belgium.

8/20/1914:  Pope St. Pius X died; pontificate of Benedict XV began (ending in 1922).

October 1914:  Turkey joins the Central Powers.

1914-18:  World War I:  A watershed event resulting in the dismantling of the Habsburg Empire, incomprehensible loss of life in trench fighting, the first use of poisonous gas, and a punitive peace treaty paving the way for World War II.  Germany and Austria-Hungary formed the “Central Powers”–quickly joined by Turkey.  Since the Central powers initiated the war, Italy elected not to support them.  The “Triple Entente” was Britain, France, and Russia–later “the Allies”.  Italy joined the Allies in 1915, and the U.S. in 1917.  Fr. Dudley’s first three novels dealt with the experience of battle in World War I:  The Shadow on the Earth (1926); The Masterful Monk (1929); and Pageant of Life (1932)–which was his most prolonged meditation.

2/6/1915:  Dudley became Catholic (at age 33) through the Brompton (London) Oratory (which was one of the settings in The Masterful Monk) on February 6th.  He then left for studies at Collegio Beda, Rome.

Owen Francis Dudley becomes Catholic.
Owen Francis Dudley becomes Catholic.  Courtesy of the London (Brompton) Oratory.

1915:  The US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that movies are not protected under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution (Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio):  as a result, government censorship of movies was legally permissible.  Local governments had already taken a few scattered actions:  Maine in 1897 (regarding a boxing match), and Chicago in 1907 (on moral grounds).  Since the movie industry was nation-wide, this made movie executives concerned that there could be a patchwork of regulations, and that encouraged self-regulation.  This court decision was in effect until it was overruled by another Supreme Court case in 1952.

April 1915:  Poison gas used for the fist time in a battle at Ypres, Belgium.

5/7/1915:  a German submarine sinks the Lusitania (a British passenger ship which had Americans on board as well).

5/9/1915: Capt. David Dudley, Fr. Dudley’s older brother, was  killed in action in the action on Auber’s Ridge, France–age 34.   He was an athlete and a career officer:  David Dudley De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour (Source:  De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-24. CD-ROM. United Kingdom: Navy & Military Press Ltd. via Ancestry.com.)  The model for Cyril Rodney in The Pageant of Life?

5/24/1915:  Italy enters the war on the side of the Allies.

1916:  David Lloyd George (Liberal) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until 1922.

July-November 1916:  the Battle of Verdun.  Over a million soldiers die.

November 1916:  U.S President Woodrow Wilson re-elected.  

1917:  Dudley became a Catholic priest.  At some point he reportedly served as a Catholic chaplain to an artillery division in France and Italy where he was wounded.  His brother, Capt. David Dudley was killed in the war (see above), and his brother Eustace served with the Canadian armed forces, and was wounded (before becoming a Catholic Priest).

1917:  Msgr. Ronald Knox (1888-1957) converted to Catholicism.

1917:  The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia began.  Czar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate in March.  Countless Christians came to be martyred (mostly Eastern Orthodox but Catholic as well) due to virulent atheism–a reminder of the costs of being Christian.

April 1917: The Coming of the Monster (1936):  The opening scene.  A married couple argues over Lenin during a rally in Petrograd–and we are introduced to Karenov (who goes on to be a Soviet agent in England).

April 1917:  The Tremaynes (1940):  The earliest plot elements.  Captains Anselm Thornton and Cyril Rodney are on leave from the front:  they first encounter the pathological bullying of Gordon Tremayne of his brother, Allen.

4/4/1917:  the U.S. enters World War I on the side of the Allies.

1918:  Archangel (Arkhangelsk):  The end of Fr. Dudley’s The Pageant of Life (1932) is set in Archangel.  This Russian port on the White Sea was used to to supply Russia it its fight against Germany during WW I.  In the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution (October 1917), Russian troops were withdrawn from the Eastern front.  In August, 1918 Allied troops under British command took over Archangel: pushing Red troops South.  After World War I ended, Allied troops remained until 1919 in an unsuccessful, token attempt to help the White Russians (anti-communists) against the Red Russians (communists).

1918:  The Catholic Evidence Guild formed by Frank Sheed—an Australian layman who moved to England and then later on to the United States.  Maisie Ward was a charter member: they married in 1926.

1918-1919:  The “Spanish Flu” epidemic.  A world-wide pandemic in which “over 50 million people died worldwide and a quarter of the British population were affected. The death toll was 228,000 in Britain alone.”  The impact was major.

1919:  Fr. Dudley entered in the Catholic Missionary Society speaking in the churches, public halls and outdoors in England and Wales.

1919:  Irish war of independence begins. British “Black and Tans” arrive in Ireland in 1920.  In 1921, Northern Ireland was created, and the Anglo-Irish Treaty ended direct hostilities with Britain–but violence continued sporadically for decades.

January 1919:  The Coming of the Monster (1936):  At the end of World War I, Captain Louis Vivian talks with a French poilu in Paris about Communism and God.  Vivian and Verna Wray (who is on a school trip) see each other for the first time, and later remember…

1920:  The US Catholic Literary Revival begins (lasting until c. 1960) according to To Promote, Defend, and Redeem by Arnold Sparr (1990). This revival started after the British version, and modeled itself upon it.

1920:  The Outline of History by H.G. Wells (1866-1946) published.  Wells is well known as a science fiction writer, but his opposition to religion and morals were the concerns of Fr. Dudley and others.  Wells lived out the philosophies he proclaimed (married twice, plus numerous affairs including one with Margaret Sanger, and two children born out of wedlock with different mothers).  One of the most popular authors opposing Christianity at the time.
     Wells was very much a man of the left, and he interviewed Stalin in 1934 (see here and here).

1920:  the beginning of the (primarily British) Golden Age of detective fiction.  Although the first example in novel form was arguably in 1913 (Trent’s Last Case by E. C. Bentley), and G K Chesterton had been writing his Father Brown mystery short stories since 1910, this was the year of mystery novels by Agatha Christie and Freeman Wills Crofts.  Dorothy L. Sayers published her first detective novel in 1923.  It certainly appears from his books that Fr. Dudley was influenced by this movement–although his books did not really fall into this category.

1920:  U.S. Women gained the vote.

1920:  Prohibition passed in the U.S.–continuing until 1933.

1922:  Andrew Bonar Law (Conservative) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until 1923.

1922:  Benito Mussolini becomes Prime Minister of Italy.

1922:  the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) was formed to self-police USA film content with the goal of heading off a patchwork of state and local censorship efforts.  William Hays (former Postmaster General and the head of the Republican National Committee) was selected to head the organization.  However, this effort was voluntary and desultory:  no meaningful action took place until July 1934 when a new approach was implemented.  Brief summary here.

1922:  Chesterton becomes Catholic at the age of 48–and after most of his writing was completed…including his Fr. Brown mysteries.

1922:  Patrick Philip William Braybrooke (1894–1956) became Catholic. He was a prolific literary critic focusing on English writers of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

1922:  Irish Civil War begins: ending in 1924–but with violence continuing for decades afterwards.

1922:  Pope Benedict XV dies; pontificate of Pius XI begins (ending in 1939).

1922:  St. Edith Stein (1891-1942) becomes Catholic, becoming Teresa Benedicta of the Cross in 1933 and dying in Auschwitz.

1923:  Francis Dudley dies (1844-1923):  Fr. Dudley’s father, an Anglican Vicar, dies at the age of 79.

1923:  Stanley Baldwin (Conservative) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until 1924 (and again 1924-1929 and still again 1935-1937).

1923:  Men Like Gods, by H.G. Wells, published.  (See 1924 entry below for Dudley’s rebuttal, Will Men Be Like Gods?)

1923:  Whose Body, by Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) published:  the first of the Lord Peter Wimsey series.  In this novel, she attacks materialism:  illustrating its logical implications.  
     The daughter of an Anglican Headmaster/Vicar, she was an Anglo-Catholic–a high Anglican–who also wrote on religion–including Creed or Chaos? (1940) and a translation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy (1949-1962).  She was a prolific writer, and her friends included T S Eliot, Charles Williams, and C S Lewis.  
      Since she wrote during the entire period of time in which Fr. Dudley was writing, and also used basically contemporary settings, she provides additional insights into those times.  
     She never converted to Catholicism, and was an example of the Protestant allies in the fight against a culture increasingly hostile to Christianity.  She considered her audience for her religious writings, and her natural allies, to be Anglo-Catholics, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox.

1923:  The year that the plot of The Shadow on the Earth (1926) occurred?  (See discussions below concerning date calculation.)  The Shadow on the Earth plot occurred a year earlier (per Chapter IV, p.25, of The Masterful Monk) than the beginning of he The Masterful Monk plot.

1923:  KKK, Prohibition, and Catholics.  The Ku Klux Clan used Prohibition (against alchohol in the USA) as a tool to attack Catholics.  1923 was the year of physical attacks against Catholics and their property in Gary, Indiana.  An account is here, which reads in part:

Hundreds of Klan members were formally deputised and, during the first night alone, dozens of raids were launched and 70 arrests were made. Most were legitimate targets, but the Klan was not minded to stop there. The net was broadened. Private Italian-American homes were barged into, fake evidence of whisky-making was planted and the Italian consulate complained about a “reign of terror”.

The Feds retreated and chaos descended. Raiding parties now included up to 1,000 men. Catholic houses were burned to the ground, gun battles raged in the streets, and even a hospital ward provided the setting for a shootout.

With 14 deaths on the roster, martial law was declared and the National Guard restored order. No one doubted the anti-Catholic impetus behind events. During these terrible months, a Klan cross was set ablaze outside Herrin Catholic Church on 17 occasions. By 1930, a quarter of the county’s foreign-born or first-generation families (more than 3,000 people) had been driven out.

It was just one incident among many hundreds and, crucially, the Klan must not be seen as some fringe group in 1920s America. Its national membership reached as many as five million and its bilious outbursts had a lot in common with anti-Catholic ideas that had always permeated the temperance movement.

1924:  James Ramsay MacDonald (Liberal) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until later the same year (1924)–and then again 1929-1935.

1924:  Stanley Baldwin (Conservative) becomes Prime Minister of Britain once again–serving this time until 1929.

1924:  Sigrid Undset (1882-1949, writer and Nobel Prize for Literature winner) converts to Catholicism.

1924:  Christopher Hollis (1902-1977) converted to Catholicism.  He was the son of an Anglican bishop, former president of the Oxford Union, an economist, a writer, and a member of Parliament (1945-55).

1924:  Will Men be like Gods?–Fr. Dudley’s first book  (non-fiction, 93 pages, out of print):  rebuttal to H.G. Wells’ Men Like Gods.  G.K. Chesterton wrote a substantive introduction which included:  “In his Men Like Gods (advertised in flaring letters in Oxford Street as advocating `no clothes, no marriage…,’ which, no doubt, increased sales), Mr. Wells pictures the Humanitarian Utopia actually attained.”

5/12/1924?:  The Masterful Monk (1929):  Major Brandreth’s initial visit to Hendrigham Park as part of the plot of the book (although not his first visit).  According to Chapter IV, p. 24, this was on a Saturday:  that date only fell on a Saturday in 1917, 1923, and 1928 during that era–only 1923 is a feasible year.  However, according to The Tremaynes (Chapter V), the speech of the Masterful Monk was in 1924, and the plot of The Masterful Monk does not appear to allow for the lapse of a year between this visit and the speech:  so the author/printer seemed to have made a mistake–either regarding May 12th being on a Saturday (it was on Monday in 1924), or regarding the speech being set in 1924.

Spring 1924: The Masterful Monk (1929):  The speech at Queen’s Hall which was attended by Beauty Dethier (age 23) and Basil Esterton (Chapter X). Julian Verrers was about 40 years old (Chapter I, p. 4).
      (That it was in the Spring is found at the beginning of Chapter XVIII of The Masterful Monk–however, the exact year was not provided until a later novel:  Chapter V of The Tremaynes.) 
     Also attending, we later learn in The Tremaynes (Chapter V), was Allen Tremayne (grown to be a man and an accomplished artist) who renewed his friendship  with Anselm Thornton (who had since become a priest and the Masterful Monk).

April 1924:  The Coming of the Monster (1936):  Verna Wray breaks her engagement to Harland Carvelle who had just written a book along the same general lines as Men Like Gods-causing a rift with her family.

9/20/1924:  The Catholic Advance [Wichita, Kansas, USA], “Motor Chapel Doing Missionary Work in English Villages,”, p. 14: 

London.–The motor chapel is at work again in English villages, taking the tiding of Christianity to small communities which rarely hear the voice of a priest.
     Two priests of the Catholic Missionary society with the car.  They carry a tent which is pitched in the fields at night, and they do their own cooking. One of the priests acts as a chauffeur.
     Dr. Herbert Vaughan, a nephew of the late Cardinal Vaughan and of the late Father Bernard Vaughan, is head of the Catholic Missionary society, and it was he who invented the motor chapel, which evoked great interest when it made its first appearance a few years before the war.  It was admittedly an adaptation of the American chapel cars, and was more suited to English conditions because of the comparative short distances to be traveled.
     The original motor chapel was pressed into war service in 1914, when there was a sudden demand for auto engines.  The car now on the road is a new one.  It is constructed so that the back can be opened to disclose an alter, at which Mass is celebrated in the churchless towns and villages.
     The present tour is through Hampshire.  Ten years ago the Eastern  counties were worked.
     At the little village of South Warnborough the missionaries are speaking every evening under a large chestnut tree which stands in the middle of the main street.  They camp in a nearby field, and their visit has created considerable interest among the people the surrounding hamlets.
     The missionaries give their first Holy Communion to five children in one family who is never before had an opportunity to receive the sacrament.
     It is difficult for people in the new world to realize that in a country so small as England there could be settlements long distances from a church so as to make Mass attendance an impossibility.
     On the west coast there are many such places, some of them as much is 25 or 30 miles from a church.   It is not so easy to evangelize these places as it is to evangelize settlements in the United States, for the American settlements are comparatively new and are often made up of people of Catholic stock who are easily led back to the Church when they are given an opportunity to practice their religion.  The population of these English villages is composed of people who have been rooted in the soil for centuries and among whom there is no Catholic tradition.
     The motor chapel is therefore sowing seed on almost barren ground. But the hard self-sacrificing work of the missionaries must tell in the end.

9/27/1924: The Tablet, p. 10: “NEW BOOKS AND MUSIC TO BUY OR BORROW OR LEAVE ALONE. …Messrs. Longmans Green & Co. will shortly publish Will Men be like Gods? a study of Humanitarianism and the problem of human ‘happiness, by Father Owen Francis Dudley, with an introduction by Mr. G. K. Chesterton.”

Christmas 1924: The Masterful Monk (1929):  Basil Esterton enters the Catholic Church.

1925:  The Everlasting Man, by G. K. Chesterton, attacked H.G. Wells’ Outline of History.  One of Chesterton’s best, and most enduring, books.

1925:  Caryll Houselander (1901–1954, British writer) returned to the Catholic Church.  Her first book, This War is the Passion, was published in 1941.

1925:  Gertrud von Le Fort (1876-1971) became Catholic. She wrote many books, including The Song at the Scaffold about the Carmelite nuns killed during the French Revolution.

1925:  Benito Mussolini becomes full dictator of Italy.

January 1925: The Masterful Monk (1929):  The shooting at the Hendringham estate near “Windern” outside of London.

March 1925:  The Masterful Monk (1929):  near the end of the month, Beauty Dethier sits down to write a letter to Basil Esterton, but is surprised by a phone call and then a visit from him (Chapter XIX).

4/25/1925: The Tablet, p. 21:  Fr. Dudley was the Hon. Sec. of the London Conference of the Catholic Council for International Relations (April 27, 28, 29), and wrote urging attendance to fill the 3,000 hall at Westminster Cathedral.  The conference promoted the Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ “in support of the Holy Father’s initiatives.”

5/7/1925 (Thursday): The Masterful Monk (1929):  Basil Esterton had been at the Issano Abbey 3 weeks, and was free to ask for admission to the postulancy “to-day week”–which was when the final scene of the book occurred.

5/2/1925:  The Tablet, p. 10:  a favorable, substantive review of Will Men be like Gods? (1924).

1926:  Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward marry.  “Maisie Ward grew up in a dynamic English Catholic family with many eminent friends and visitors, among them G.K. Chesterton, H. Belloc, and Baron von Hugel.” (Forward by Scott Hahn to Catholic Evidence Training Outlines.)

1926:  The Shadow on the Earth (fiction, 143 pages, in print):  Fr. Dudley’s first novel.  It addresses the problems of pain and suffering in opposition to the ideas of an atheist, and optimist, and a pessimist.  Debates among the characters provide insights into philosophy and theology.  This short novel discusses war and the beauty of nature.  Four of the characters carry over into his second novel: The Masterful Monk

1926:  Fr. Dudley’s brother, Eustace, publishes National Resurrection:  A Plea for Disillusionment.

1926:  Daniel Aloysius Lord, SJ (23 April 1888 – 15 January 1955, ordained 1923) became national director of the Sodality of Our Lady in the USA, and became editor of its publication, The Queen’s Work.  He was a huge fan of Chesterton, Belloc, and Dudley (among others), and pushed a resurgence in Catholic literary appreciation and creation in the USA.  He wrote 30 adult books and 12 booklets, 48 children’s books, nearly 300 pamphlets, 25 plays, 12 pageants, 3 musicals, among other things.

1926:  Mr. Belloc Still Objects: a collection of essays opposing H.G. Wells’ Outline of History.

1926:  Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers published–her 2nd Lord Peter Wimsey novel.

1926:  The Cristero War in Mexico started: ending in 1929.

1926:  Author Graham Greene (1904-1991) became Catholic.

1926: The Tremaynes (1940):  The Masterful Monk makes his 2nd visit to England (according to Chapter VI). 

May 1926:  the General Strike in England which is fictionally summarized in an Interim in The Coming of the Monster (1936)–and Chapter VIII is set in the aftermath of that strike.

1927:  Deathless Army—Advance! A battle cry by Owen Francis Dudley. Royal 8vo, pp. 32, wrapper 6d.” (“Books Received,” The Tablet, 5/7/1927.)  A non-fiction now out of print and unavailable.

1927:  “Talkies”–movies with sound–are introduced into theaters.  (“The Jazz Singer” was the first feature-length movie using sound:  it premiered in London at the Piccadilly Theatre a year later–and some cinemas were still showing silent films as late as 1933.)

1927-1934:  The “pre-code” Hollywood.  The Motion Picture Production Code went into effect in July 1934.  Before that, there was no meaningful self-policing (nor broad government policing) of movies–although efforts were made.  Of course, the silent films were not under the Code either, but the “talkies” added a new, more vivid, dimension which raised increasing alarm among many citizens.  The Great Depression, coming as it did after the Roaring Twenties, raised the issue to some of Divine punishment for decadence and frivolity.  The implementation of an enforceable code was primarily the result of Catholic efforts (although there were Protestant supporters as well).

1927:  Dorothy Day (1897-1980) became Catholic.

1927:  in Buck v. Bell, a US Supreme Court case, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (himself a student of eugenics) wrote: “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” This case concerned Virginia law, and over 8,000 Virginians were eventually involuntarily sterilized based upon it.

1927: Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers published–her 3rd Lord Peter Wimsey novel.

3/5/1927: The Tablet, p. 8:  “REVIEWS”.  The Shadow on the Earth. By OWEN FRANCIS DUDLEY. Longmans. Cr. 8vo; pp. 143. 4S.

…THERE is, we believe, a future of great usefulness for the modern type of Catholic apologetic in story form. Father Dudley’s book helps to strengthen this belief. Regarded merely as a novel it would, indeed, be open to certain criticisms. We will not make them since they almost cease to apply if the purpose of the book be remembered. On the other hand, the writer’s descriptive power is worthy of high praise. Two pen pictures especially are not easily forgotten—Benediction in the mountain village and the heroic rescue of the diabolical captain on the field of battle. 
     All this, however, is only the setting in which is worked out the main purpose which the author has in view. This is to suggest the true Christian attitude to the many questions which surround the mystery of suffering. In accomplishing this purpose he is eminently successful. There is, we think, no important aspect of the subject which is left untouthed—pain, ruined careers, bereavement, even the suffering of animals. And all these separate although connected matters are aspects of a great positive apologetic which runs, more or less, through the whole of Father Dudley’s book. God’s existence and His goodness are certain. He has revealed Himself and shared to the extremest degree in the sufferings of our race. He has guaranteed eternal happiness for those who will accept it. In the light of these facts there is not even a problem of suffering although there is a mystery. “There are no problems for God because He understands. There are no problems for us because we are not meant to understand at present. . . . There are mysteries though, and one of them is a shadow that falls upon the earth.”

4/7/1927:  The Times of London, “ROMAN CATHOLICS AND PRAYER-BOOK REVISION,” p. 11:

     Roman Catholics celebrated the 25th anniversary of their missionary society at a meeting at Queen’s Hall on Tuesday.  Cadinal Bourne presided.
    Lord Fitzalan said their non-Catholic brethren were going through a serious time just now.  It was one of those periodical phases when, in order to adjust their differences, they found it necessary to appeal to the spirit, of compromise that was so comfortably associated with the word “comprehensiveness,” and which was a convenient alternative to the word  “authority” with which Catholics were so happily and mercifully blessed, but which unhappily the non-Catholics denied to themselves.  It was sometimes a temptation to Catholics to sneer at the difficulties of the non-Catholics and their inconsistencies.  He had done it hiniself.  He did not think it was good form, and it did not do them any good.  They must remember that it was not the fault of tbe non-Catholics that they had been born outside the Church. It was the fault of their progenitors, who, when the trial came, bad not the courage to stand up to the terrible ordeal.
     An increase in the priesthood, he added, was greatly needed, and he believed that with 30 or 40 more priests the Catholics of this country would be doubled in ten years.

4/30/1927:  The Catholic Advance [Wichita, Kansas, USA], “Conversion of England Campaign Started with Approval of Hierarchy,” By George Barnard. p. 16:

London.–A new campaign to convert England was set on foot at a big meeting at the Queen’s hall here last week, in the organization of which three kindred societies cooperated–the Catholic Missionary Society, the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom and the Catholic Evidence Guild.  The meeting was arranged to mark the silver jubilee of the foundation of the Catholic Missionary Society, of which the head is Father Herbert Vaughan, nephew of the late Cardinal Vaughan and Father Bernard Vaughan.

New Organization Formed

At the close of the meeting a new organization was created under the title “The Apostolic League for the Faith.”  Its members undertake: 
     To increase their knowledge of the Faith, especially by private reading and by attending public instructions.
     When prudence suggests, to answer questions and objections, and never, through fear or shame, to remain silent about the faith.
     To bring non-Catholics to missions and instruction classes.
     To provide non-Catholics with suitable Catholic literature.
     To pray for all non-Catholics and to offer Communion for them at least once a month.

     The announcement, by Father Owen Dudley of the Catholic Missionary Society, of the foundation of the Apostolic League, was received with enthusiasm. 
     Cardinal Borne wo presided at the meeting was supported on the platform by ten other Archbishops and Bishops.  The Cardinal said that the meeting was intended to be a rallying point for all Catholic activities in the country.
     Father Vaughan said the people of England were ready to listen to the Church’s message.  The least of the difficulties of the missioners was that of getting an audience.
     “Our object is to restore to our separated brethren their lost inheritance, bequeathed to them by their martyred ancestors as they lay stretched on the rack or bound to the stake.”
     The conversion of England , he added, would come when every man and woman became an apostle.

Street Corner Preaching Advocated

     Mr. F. J. Sheed, vice-master of the Westminster Catholic Evidence Guild, said street-corner preaching was the only way to reach the non-religious.  “The man who will go to a mission to non-Catholics, even with hostile intent, is not altogether hopeless.  Our objective, while it includes men with that degree of interest, goes still further and embraces those who, with no trace of religious conviction, care just enough for an argument to attach themselves to the very back of a crowd.  These men, as it seems to us, need religion more than any others, and there is no other way of getting it to them than that which we have adopted. 
     “Apparently the people of England are not concerned about prayer books, nor even about prayers.  We have to go a long way further down than that, and begin with a crowd whose knowledge of religious history is confined to the number of Henry XIII’s wife, who have no notion of Scripture except a handful of names like Eve and the Apple, Balaam and the Ass, Jonah and the Whale, and whose contempt fo our clergy is only exceeded by their contempt for their own.  This is the foundation on which we have to build–or perhaps the rubbish that we have to clear away.”
     Father Filmer, of the Guild of Ransom, said the Catholic religion was the only religion that ever satisfied or ever would satisfy the English people.
     Father Ronald Knox and other speakers laid emphasis on the importance of the printed word in the matter of spreading knowledge of the faith.

8/10/1927:  The Times of London, “Roman Catholic Summer School,” p. 13:  “About 200 students here assembled in Cambridge for the Summer School of Catholic Studies this week.  The general subject will be “The Church.”  The lectures are being given in the Guildhall, and classes are being held at Fisher House, the Headquarters of Roman Catholicism in the University.  Father Lattey gave a general Introduction on Saturday to the subjects to be treated by the lecturers, and on Monday the Rev. J. P. Arendzen, of the Catholic Missionary Society, gave the first lecture on the Old Testament.”

10/23/1927:  The Daily Leavenworth [Kansas] Tribune, p. 3:  “The Catholic Literary club will meet on Monday evening at 7:45 at the Knights of Columbus has.  The program will be:…Book Review, `The Shadow on the Earth,’ by Owen Francis Dudley [among other items].”

1928:  Penicillin discovered.

1928:  Dudley wrote an introduction to A Chesterton Catholic Anthology, edited by Patrick Braybrooke (out of print).

1928:  British Women gain full suffrage, although partial measures were passed in 1918.

1928:  Virginia Woolf wrote to her sister horrified about T. S. Eliot’s conversion to Christianity:  this was typical of British intellectuals’ attitudes during his era.

1928:  American Jesuit Leonard Feeney (1897-1978) ordained priest: until 1949, he was universally celebrated among Catholics as a writer, lecturer, and editor. (Fr. Dudley would have had a positive opinion of him–at least until near his [Dudley’s] death in 1952.)

1928:  Myles Connolly (1897–1964) published Mr. Blue (his first novel). Connolly, a Catholic, “was a Hollywood writer and producer with more than forty film credits to his name and several others uncredited.  He published a collection of short stories and four novels.”  He worked with G.K. Chesterton in connection with Columbia magazine (Knights of Columbia).  Although sales of Mr. Blue were initially slow, by 1954 over half a million copies were in print–and it is still in print today.  (All the above information for this entry is from the explanatory material in The Reason for Ann & Other Stories.) 

1928:  The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers published–her 4th Lord Peter Wimsey novel.

January 1928: The Tremaynes (1940):  The Masterful Monk’s 3rd visit at the London House of his Benedictine Order (Chapter VI, p. 24). 

June 1928: The Tremaynes (1940):  The opening scene of The Tremaynes, a soliloquy by the Masterful Monk (Fr. Anselm Thornton).  He had been granted a vacation from his speaking, etc.  After then going into a retrospective, the plot picks up again on the same day at Chapter VII.

1929:  Wall Street’s crash led to the US Great Depression which lasted until 1939 in the US, and Europe was also dramatically impacted during much of this period.

1929:  James Ramsay MacDonald (Liberal) becomes Prime Minister of Britain again–this time serving until 1935.

1929:  The Masterful Monk (314 pages, in print) published–Fr. Dudley’s best-known novel.  
     English novelists often write of the gentry, as is the case here.  It is a story about the difficulty–and necessity–of putting Christ in the center of your life in a fallen world; and the nature of evil–usually rather thoughtless on an individual level, but on rare occasions intensely malicious.  (Fr. Dudley’s focus was particularly against Thomas Huxley, James Frazer, and H. G. Wells (source:  To Promote, Defend, and Redeem, Arnold Sparr [Greewood Press, 1990], p. 47).  All of his novels have humor and friendships, and this also illustrates Protestant/atheist prejudice against Catholics which is also a recurring theme of his novels.  
     This book was made into a play written by William Hocker and George H.H. Lamb in 1937, and it was first presented in Scranton, Pennsylvania (USA) on 2/11/1938.

12/12/1929:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 1, “December Book List Of Catholic Guild”: 

(N. C. W. C. News Service.)
Philadelphia, Pa., Dec. 12.—The December list of books chosen by the Catholic Booklovers’ Guild is headed by “The Miracle of Peille,” by J. L. Campbell. Other Guild selections are “The Masterful Monk,” by Owen Francis Dudley; “Nais,” by Marie Gasquet; ‘Richelieu,” by Hilaire Belloc; “Soldiering for Cross and Flag,” by Celestine N. Bittle, O.M.Cap.; “The War That Was,” by Marcellus Donald Redlich, and “Some Spanish American Poets,” translated by Alice Stone Blackwell.

1930:  London Election Registers, Willesden East, Polling District 1, Brondesbury Part Ward:  Mission House.  Listed residents:  John Peter Arendzen, John Blundell, Elizabeth Byrne, Kathleen Cuddiky, Martin Dempsey, Eustace Dudley, Owen Francis Dudley, Bernard Grimley, Joseph Hogan, Joseph Morgan, Herbert Vaughan.

1930:  Catholics Marin J. Quigley and Daniel A. Lord, SJ (who was a great fan of Fr. Dudley) drafted the Motion Picture Production Code which went into effect in July 1934.

1930:  A map of London cinemas (for the years 1906 until sound became widely available in 1930) is located from this page.  This map also is useful for locating many of the actual locations referenced in Fr. Dudley’s novels.

1930:  Some Catholic Novelists:  Their Art and Outlook, was completed by Patrick Braybrooke.  Published in early 1931, it concerned: G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, John Ayscough, Robert Hugh Benson, Philip Gibbs, Sheila Kaye-Smith, and Katherine Tynan.

1930:  Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966, author) entered the Catholic Church.

1930:  Fr. Fulton J. Sheen started a popular weekly radio broadcast, “The Catholic Hour,” which continued until 1951 when he became Bishop and switched to TV (“Life is Worth Living”).

1930:  The Documents in the Case by Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) published.  In this mystery novel (which does not involve Lord Peter Wimsey), Sayers makes explicit what was implicit in her earlier writing:  the impact and affect of the massive loss of men in World War I–how it affected women wanting to get married…and relations between men and women.  (As for Dorothy Sayers herself, she had a child out of wedlock.  [This was kept secret until after her death:  the child was raised by a relative, and she later “adopted” him and made him her heir.]  She then married in her early 30’s to a man who had health problems arising from the Great War–he first grew sick, and was unable to work, and then he died.)  The novel also provided insight into the popular psychological approaches of the time.

1930:  Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) published.  
     Harriet Vane is introduced (who goes on to become Lord Peter Wimsey’s wife).
      It contained a character, Bill Rumm, who has similarities to G. K. Chesterton’s M. Hercule Flambeau:  in both cases, they are master criminals caught by the protagonists (Fr. Brown in Flambeau’s case, and Lord Wimsey in Rumm’s case) who are turned to an honest life converting to religion and honest pursuits–and they both go on to assist the protagonist who originally caught them.  (In the case of Rumm, it was not Lord Wimsey who effects the conversion, but somebody else, and the religion was evangelical Protestantism.)  
     This book also sheds light on the (then) current approach to Jews in British literature.  One character who is presented as one of the protagonists throughout the series states “…all these Jews stick together like leeches…”, but the rest of the sentence is “and as a matter of fact, I think it’s very fine of them”…and he goes on to say that is is marrying a Jewish woman…in a Synagogue…and promised to raise their children Jewish…  (It may be relevant that the British at the time used terms describing themselves [apologetically], and their friends, such as:  “ass”, “beastly”, “brutal”, etc. even for relatively minor social infractions.)  
     She puts in Lord Peter Wimsey’s mouth the view of herself, and others, about her genre:  “…[I]n detective stories virtue is always triumphant.  They’re the purest literature we have.”  
     At an bohemian/”progressive”/”modern” type party, “Wimsey found himself involved in a discussion of fee love, D. H. Lawrence, the prurience of prudery and the immoral significance of long skirts.”  And Lord Peter jokes about his old age that his great-grandchildren will say:  “`Look, darling!  that’s the wicked Lord Peter, celebrated for never having spoken a reasonable word for the last ninety-six years.  He was the only aristocrat who escaped the guillotine in the revolution of 1960.'”  
     Spiritualism (e.g., communicating with the dead) and its fraud is discussed.

1930:  Fr. Charles Coughlin (1891–1979) began his radio broadcasts. “Throughout the 1930s, Coughlin was one of the most influential men in the United States. A new post office was constructed in Royal Oak [Michigan] just to process the letters that he received each week—80,000 on average. Furthermore, the audience of his weekly radio broadcasts was in the tens of millions…” He became increasingly controversial (for reasons including anti-Semitism) until the broadcasts were cancelled in 1940.

1930:  founding of The Detection Club.  (The exact year was vague, because the founding was a process that took unit 1932 to finalize.)  It was an organization (still in existence) which was founded by leading British detective novelists:  including Anthony Berkeley, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, and Freeman Wills Crofts.  G. K. Chesterton was its head for a while, as was Dorothy L. Sayers and then Agatha Christie.  It was a social and dining group.

5/12/1930:  The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland, USA), p. 36:  Fr. Dudley was apparently deemed too Catholic for one American public library.  The article includes a letter to the editor signed “Registered Voter”.  The article:


5/19/1930:  The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland, USA), “Attacks Novelists Who Treat of Sex,” p. 3:   

Modern Works Discussed In Address Before a Group of Catholic Women

Any novelist who treats sex matters “as if they were on the same plane with, say, death or embezzlement or banditry, is a fool or a knave and generally an agent of untold evil to the great majority of his readers,” the Rev. Kieran P. Moran told about a hundred members of Cadoa here yesterday afternoon.

Discussing modern novels at the Catholic Women’s Association headquarters at 118 West Franklin street, Father Moran, of St. Vincent’s Seminary, Germantown, Pa., classified such writers as Eugene O’Neill, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and D. H. Lawrence as “men with diseased minds.”  

There is a second and less important group producing evil books, he said.  Their works are “tainted–not completely bad–stained here and there with lewdness and sensuality.”  The authors make “a deliberate attempt to intrude the sex question, but not in excessive quantities.”  In this group he listed Ellen Glasgow’s last two novels, one being They Stooped to Folly.

A third group of literary reprehensible, in Father Moran’s opinion, is made up of the writers whose work is not tainted, but into which sex matters have been dragged without any reason other other than to enhance the selling power of the books.  In this category he cited in particular the works of Kathleen Norris, contrasting her novels with “superb” articles she has written for Catholic publications.  

As examples of the third trait, Father Moran mentioned Marty Roberts Rinehart’s The Great Adventure and Sir Philip Gibbs’ The Hidden City.

Citing the adoration among literati of such magi as H. L. Mencken, Theodore Dreiser, John Dewey and John B. Watson and “the incredible trash put forth by them in the name of science,” he said:

“When Harvey Wickham gets through telling what they really mean in his three books, The Impuritans, The Misbehaviorists and the Unrealists, there is nothing left for us to do but place a tribute at the feet of their press agents.”

There are more good novels than a person could read in a hundred years, Father Moran declared.  He declared he does not advocate goody-goody books.

“I have just been informed, to my amazement, that The Masterful Monk has been rejected at the Pratt Library, though Dreiser’s An American Tragedy and O’Neill’s Strange Interlude are on the shelves there.  The mentality that can include those and exclude The Masterful Monk is simply precious.”  

Dudley’s novel, he said, depicts the brutal philosophy of modern life, but it also “answers it.”

Joseph L. Wheeler, librarian at the Enoch Pratt, declined to comment on The Masterful Monk’s exclusion when it was protested recently by a “voter” in a letter to The Evening Sun.  A member of the library staff said that it was “particularly objectionable.”

The problem of avoiding degrading literature, Fr. Moran said, is purely the individual’s concern.  At no time in his address did he mention censorship.  He afterwards stated that censorship is excellent in theory, but that its difficulty lies in the censors “who do such asinine things.”

5/22/1930:  The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland, USA), p. 31:  A letter to the editor (from Marguerite Godfrey) strongly protests the decision of Mr. Joseph Wheeler in banning from the Pratt Library “The Shadow on the Earth” and “The Masterful Monk”:  “…These books are beautifully written, forceful, gripping.  My husband stayed up all night to finish them, and I have not been able to inveigle he into reading a book of any kind in five years.  They are clean and normal and sane and stand for high principles and good morals.  I suppose had the dealt exclusively in `free love,’ `trial marriage’ or a `sex triangle’ perhaps this same `Board of Reviewers’ would have plentifully supplied the branches of the Pratt Library with at least two copies…”

6/6/1930:  The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland, USA), p. 27:  A letter to the editor (from C. H. Gallagher) strongly protests the decision to ban from the Pratt Library “The Shadow on the Earth” and “The Masterful Monk”.  , and claims that Mr. Wheeler’s conduct is evident:  both books “are Catholic and convincing”.

8/14/1930:  The Anglican Lambeth Conference approved of artificial contraception in limited circumstances in their Resolution 15.  It was the first instance of Christians breaking ranks over this prohibition.

11/2/1930: The Sioux City [Iowa] Journal, p. 11: The St. Theresa Study club section of the American Association of University Women Sioux City chapter is to have a book review of The Masterful Monk.

12/20/1930:  Chicago [Illinois] Tribune, “1930’s Best Selling Books,” p. 12:  “We asked the forty leading publishers to name the three books on their list which had been their best sellers…”:   Longmans, Gree & Co. listed (first) The Masterful Monk, by Owen Francis Dudley.

12/20/1930:  The Morning Call [Patterson, New Jersey], p. 19:  “Ten Holiday Suggestions” had 12 book recommendations by Rev. William J. Carlin, “Rector of St. George’s R. C. Church”, including:  “`The Masterful Monk’ (Book of the year)…Owen F. Dudley.”

12/31/1930:  Casti Connubii, an encyclical from Pope Pius XI, made clear that the Catholic Church would not change its position on contraception–and also firmly opposed abortion and eugenics. This was issued a little over 4 months after the Anglican Lambeth conference decision to which it was responding, and its wording was direct. (Humanae Vitae covered the same subject in 1968 after delays and followed by dissent.)

1931:  C.S. Lewis (1898 – 1963) converted to Christianity (Anglican Church) influenced by his friend J.R.R. Tolkien and Chesterton’s Everlasting Man, and others.  He never became Catholic, but rather was one of the Protestant allies during the period of the Catholic Literary Revival.  He was wounded during WW I (in the Battle of Arras April 1918), and discharged from the British army in December 1918.

1931:  Nancy Mitford (1904 – 1973), one of the “Mitford sisters,” published her first novel, Highland Fling. During her life, she chronicled, and participated, in the decline of the British aristocracy–coming from a famous family herself.

1931:  The Emmanuel College year book,  Epilogue (p. 161) contained this regarding The Literary Society:  “Neither erudite nor fatiguing are our literary discussions, yet so enjoyable that our members are loath to leave their enchanting abode.  This year the society has aimed to stir up the interest of its members in Catholic literature of the present day.  To this end the meetings of 1930-1931 have consisted of book reviews, of discussions of the publications of the Book-of-the-Month Club, and of other modern novels, as well as lectures on modern Catholic poets.  Perhaps no meeting was more interesting than the one in which we discussed the popular works of Owen Francis Dudley: `Will Men Be Like Gods?’,  `The Shadow on the Earth’, and `The Masterful Monk”.  As Catholic college students, we feel that we have done our little bit to encourage and support the reading and circulation of Catholic literature.”

1/19/1931:  The Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] Press, p. 21:  Regarding the legendary Knute Rockne:  “As an evidence of the divergence of taste of the remarkable Notre Dame coach, it was noted his bed was covered with books, the lasted and best fiction which he is reading on his speaking tour.  Among them were such volumes as… “The Masterful Monk.”

2/12/1931:  the Vatican Radio begins broadcasting with a world-wide address (in Latin) by Pope Pius XI.  This was one of the steps in focusing the attention of Catholics upon the person of the current occupant of the chair of St. Peter–a focus which would have been impossible for most Catholics through most of Church history.  

New York Times, March 2, 1931
New York Times, March 2, 1931

3/2/1931:  New York Times:  A Catholic Missionary Society priest visiting the US predicted the conversion of the US to Catholicism.

8/16/1931: The Brooklyn [New York] Daily Eagle, p. 27:  In a favorable review of an unrelated novel, the reviewer (J. Russell O’Reilly) states: “We’ve read books and books and more books, mostly modern novels, hundreds of them. In only two other cases were we shaken to the depths by the overpowering emotion we experienced when finishing this novel of Mrs. Dennis’. The other two cases were Owen Francis Dudley Shadow on the Earth and Clarence Buddington Kelland’s Knuckles.”

12/14/1931:  Catholic News Service Newsfeed  [N.C.W.C. News service]:

The world is leveling its guns in mass attack upon that morality without which Christian home-life would be swept away, the Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, distinguished English preacher, declared in an address at the Theater Royal, Wexford.

Among the agencies advocating disruptive standards of pagan morality, Father Dudley cited certain sections of the press, producers of immoral films, certain scientists and political theorists, who have received much publicity.

The home is in danger today, he said, the modern idea being to put the home in the background. The Catholic idea, however, is that the home comes first and foremost in social life, he added. The extreme modern idea, Father Dudley continued, is to abolish the home and make the children State property, and the final ideal would be to abolish children.

“We are living in an age,” he said, “when we may witness the beginnings of another great war – a war between the Catholic Church and the world – a war of the Christian home.”

10/4/1932:  The Danville [Pennsylvania] Morning News, “Books as Gifts, Suggestions by Leading Patersonians, Both Men and Women,” p. 15:   “Rev J. T. Delehanty, St. John’s R. C. church” recommended “The Masterful Monk, Owen Francis Dudley.”

1932:  Pageant of Life (fiction, 343 pages, in print) published:  Fr. Dudley’s 3rd novel.  His darkest novel, but a redeeming one.  It give the background story of the young Anselm Thornton (who becomes the “Masterful Monk” throughout the series).  It deals with the lives of the poor more than his other novels; and it delves into philosophy. It gives his most detailed description of war and meditation upon it.  The author’s interest in psychological problems makes an appearance, becoming even more apparent in The Tremaynes.  This book deals with (Communist) atheistic hate, as does The Coming of the Monster and Last Crescendo. This is also the book that most bluntly addresses sexual sin.

1932:  Color in movies becomes common (although the first color picture was presented in 1909).

4/23/1932:  The Indianapolis [Indiana] News, p. 24: “Irvington Catholic Woman’s Study Club —Mrs. G. B. Ewell will be hostess will be hostess. The program will include a book review of “Masterful Monk” (Dudley), and the report of the Catholic Women’s Council.

10/8/1932:  The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts), p. 7:  England Brothers book store announces (in an advertisement) the availability of Pageant of Life by Own Francis Dudley for $2.00.

10/17/1932:  The Times of London, “REALITY OF THE RED MENACE;  COMMUNISM’S CHALLENGE,” p. 9: 

     FATHER OWEN FRANCIS DUDLEY, of the Mission House, Brondesbury Park, London, in an address at Liverpool last night on “This Bolshevism,” said that some years ago it was the custom in English pictorial papers to represent the Bolshevist as a wild-looking person running amok, with hair and whiskers sticking out, as though Bolshevism were a wild sort of thing. That was the one thing it was not. Bolshevism was a most steady, deliberate, calculating movement. It had now attained to the status of a political reality. 
     Terrorism was an essential political weapon which was being used more widely than ever at the present time, not only over class opponents but even over members of the Bolshevist party who dissented from.the leaders’ line of policy.   The “`Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ was in reality a dictatorship over the proletariat.  Red rule required Red tyranny.  Bolshevism was a contradiction of human nature, a blinding of humanity to itself.  It was precisely what it challenged Christianity. with being-a dope, an opium, a vast gulling of man- kind with the fiction that it could find its salvation within itself, a lie against the truth of human nature.  Were Bolshevism to succeed in overthrowing Christian marriage and the Christian family and home, we should have a world emptied of its own unique happiness.
     He did not wish to appear an alarmist, but the Red Menace was a reality.  In this country at the present time 13 Communist organizations were at work, including thc Young Communists League for boys and girls between 14 and 18. The Red Menace was not a fiction as some complacently imagined. England had not yet awakened to it. Neither had England yet awakened to the fact that the European system, which was hers, was very largely responsible for what was threatening the whole European order he referred to the injustices and cvils in that system to which the Pope had recently called attention in forcible terms. Communism was a challenge to those injustices and evils, a warning to Europe to set its house in order.

10/20/1932:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 7, “Book Club Choice”:  

New York, Oct. 20.—”Pageant of Life,” by Owen Francis Dudley, author of “The Masterful Monk,” is the October selection of the Catholic Book Club.

10/26/1932: The Heights [the Boston College (Massachusetts) newspaper], Volume XIV, Number 5: “Book Review:  The Pageant of Life, Owen Francis Dudley”:

HERE is a book that leaves a very great impression upon the reader. Whether that impression is a very good one or a very bad one, is a bit difficult, making due allowance for the personal viewpoint to say, but, at least, the book has great power. It was written by a very talented Englishman, as a sequel to “The Masterful Monk,” which had tremendous popularity in certain circles.  According to the author its purpose was to present a contrast to the vague and purposeless dilettantism of today, which questions everything and believes nothing.  He readily admits that the book is a rather violent contrast, but clear, calm conviction is the better set off for it.  The book is a character picture of Cyril Rodney, a British army officer, and a very peculiar psychological subject.  He comes from an English medical family, quite secure, and of a stern attitude towards Roman Catholics.  Early in life Rodney comes in contact with Anselm Thornton, who happens to be a Catholic and who comes to exert the greatest influence on his friend.  It seems that Cyril has an obsession against crucifixes, induced by a boyhood fright; he is naturally introspective, repressed, and sensitive.  Gradually, and that is the story, he comes over to the Roman Church and conquers his psychological difficulty.  This character is thrown up against the picture of Bernard, Cyril’s brother, who personifies the attitude of the day.  It is all very vivid, but sometimes a bit too terrific to be real.  This tendency to overdo a characterization, has recurred in other of Dudley’s books.  He has of course led the English Catholic novel deeply into the psychoanalytic field; and for the answer to the psychological difficulties of his character, he suggests that it was the divine method of bringing his soul to God.  The book is replete with the doctrines of Scholasticism, especially in the field of criteriology, and is hardly recommended for light reading, or to one who has not seen something of his philosophy.  [It appears that academic standards may have been falling even then, for the philosophy in the book is limited and easily comprehended.]

11/10/1932:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 1, “Goal of Bolshevism To Control Whole World”:  

(N. C. W. C. News Service.)
     London, Nov. 10.—Bolshevism in itself la a creed which, by revolution after revolution, seeks to change the whole world, the Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, noted priestorator, declared in an address delivered at a public meeting in Cathedral Hall, Liverpool. The meeting was sponsored by the Catholic Young Men’s Society.
     Father Dudley told his hearers that Bolshevism is a system maintained by compulsion and that all who oppose It are systematically removed.
     “The creed of Bolshevism claims to embrace the whole of man’s being,” Father Dudley said. “Its philosophy is materialism; its goal a self-sufficient society of producers. That goal Is the end of man. It is the goal of evolution; the goal of history. There is nothing beyond it. And therefore religion, which says there is something beyond, is a contradiction and a denial of the Marxian end of man. Not only that, but religion, with goal beyond, takes the mind away from the attainment of the self-sufficient society on earth. That ts why under Bolshevism religion has to go.
     “Also, under Bolshevism, since the rights of the individual must be disregarded the family must go. The State must have full control over every member of Society. Instead of the family, as formerly, being the basic unit of society, the Community of workers will be. Already in Russia the family as such has been abolished, as far as the law is concerned, by the marriage code.”
     “I understand,” Father Dudley said, “that there are some men in Liverpool who are trying to be Communists and Catholics at the same time. You cannot be a Communist and a Catholic. Communism is a complete system in complete contradiction to the Catholic Faith. Neither can a Catholic be a member of a Communist club, or of any club that is un-Catholic or anti-Calholic in its atmosphere, and at the same time a consistent member of the Catholic Church.”

11/10/1932:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 1, “OUTLINE GIVEN OF SOVIETS’PLAN TO ABOLISH RELIGION; Decree Ratified By Council And Put Into Force Last May 15.  AIM TO SUPPRESS VERY IDEA OF GOD; Intensive Campaign To Be Carried On During Next 5 Years.”

(N. C. W. C. News Service)
     Paris, Nov. 10. Joseph Mollet, in a recent issue of La Croix, outlines the Soviet five-year plan for the suppression of every trace of religion.
     M. Mollett derives his information from an issue of The Young Advance-Guard, organ of the Universal Commission Extraordinary.
                                     Approved By Council.
     “The decree to this effect, signed by Stalin, Bekhterof, Jarosiavsky, Kogan and Lobatchevsky, and approved by the Supreme Council of the Communist Party,” the author says, “ are ratified by the Superior Commission of the Republic of Soviets and put in force on May 15, last. It fixes five years for the liquidation of religion.
     “The first year of the five-year plan provides for the closing of all religious schools, Catholic seminaries and theological courses. During this period all those known to be in the service of a religious sect are to be classified as those who can live without a ration card, that Is to say, officially deprived of any means of subsistence.
                                 Further Details Given.
     “The plan does not include in the first year the immediate closing of the churches or the official liquidation of ecclesiastical associations, but in the large cities this Injunction is to be reported May 1, 1934, and in the remainder of the territory on May 1, 1937, in such a way that there will be no chance of the existence in Russia of a single house of prayer, and so that the notion of “God, surviving from the Middle Ages as a means for oppressing the labor classes,” will have disappeared entirely from the surface of the territory.
     “In the year 1933, the campaign of irreligious activity is to be redoubled in strength and is to be put into effect ‘by the definite liquidation of religious gatherings in the home and associations of believers officially non-registered.” This operation should be ended by October 1, 1933. It will bo forbidden to print books, reviews, pamphlets or manuals having a religious character. The manufacture of objects for religious use will be punished in the most rigorous manner. During the same year a special attempt will be made ‘to make to penetrate into the minds of the masses the principles of rational unbelief.’ The means proposed to achieve this Is the projection of atheistic films.
                                    To Spread Atheism.
     “The third year is to be consecrated to the ‘development of ths cells of atheism.’ One shall see during this period the deportation of all ‘servitors of cult’ who have not renounced their religious functions.
     “All the churches, synagogues, houses of prayer, etc., must be placed at the disposition of the official institutions in the fourth year so that they may be transformed into cinemas, clubs and ‘other places of sensible recreation.’
     “‘The centers of sacred cult and Idolatry,’ said one of their most active agents, Kallbanoff, ‘we shall make the torches of self-culture. In the place of the Pope, the Catholic priest and the rabbi, we shall set up the teacher. The time of sorcery has passed. One no longer believes in the jabbering of the Popes.’
     “The final year of the five-year plan Is to be devoted to ‘the consolidation of conquests at the front in the anti-religious campaign.'”

12/9/1932: The New York Times: The Pageant of Life is listed as one of the books on the “White List” (“Catholic Book Survey”) published quarterly by the Cardinal Hayes’ literature committee.

1933:  London Election Registers, Willesden East, Polling District 1, Brondesbury Part Ward:  Mission House.  Listed residents:  John Peter Arendzen, Ellen Bradley, Elizabeth Byrne, Martin Dempsey, Owen Francis Dudley, Bernard Grimley, Joseph Hampson, Joseph Hogan, Joseph Morgan, John Robert O’Connell, Raymond O’Flynn, William Randal, Herbert Vaughan.

1933:  Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.

1933:  Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers published which draws upon Sayers’ years of successful work in advertising.

Sept. 1933: Catholic Gazette announced that Fr. Dudley won a 1,000 pound first prize in the Sunday Dispatch essay contest.

11/17/1933:  The Times of London, “ECCLESIASTICAL NEWS CHURCH APPOINTMENTS,” p. 19:  “…The Catholic Times announces that, acting on medical advice, the Very Rev. Dr. Herbert Vaughan, Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society, Brondesbury Park, for many years, has resigned. He is a nephew of the late Cardinal Vaughan and a brother of the present Bishop of Menevia.”

1933:  Fr. Dudley elected Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society near the end of the year.

1933:  Movies:  the gentleman’s agreement to abide by the The Motion Picture Production Code was promptly violated (source):  “most brazenly by Mae West, whose hit[s] “She Done Him Wrong” and “I’m No Angel,” cashed in unrepentantly on the wages of sin.”

3/9/1933:  Albany [New York] Evening News:  Pageant of Life to be discussed by the Study Club of the Alumnae Association of the Academy of the Holy Names.

11/17/1933: The Fayetteville [NY] Bulletin, p. 5: Catholic Round Table discussion of The Masterful Monk.

1934:  Fish on Friday by Fr. Leonard Feeney published by Sheed and Ward to wide acclaim. This was long before the Boston Heresy case in 1949, and one of the stories, “The Journey,” effectively endorsed views that Fr. Feeney later rejected.

1934 to 1940:  In the USA, drought and poor farming techniques caused the “Dust Bowl“–a series of severe dust storms affecting about 100,000,000 acres of the American prairie land in the Mid-West.

1/13/1934: The Tablet, p. 22:  “Father Owen Francis Dudley has been elected to succeed Father Herbert Vaughan, D.D., as Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society. Dr. Vaughan’s resignation, on account of ill-health, was announced some time ago. The appointment has been duly confirmed by his Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster.”

3/7/1934:  Iowa City [Iowa] Press-Citizen, page 7:  “Meeting at the home of Miss Etta Metzger, 422 Iowa avenue, Tuesday evening, the second division of the Catholic Study club enjoyed two papers and a book review…Mrs. J. J. Donohue reviewed the book, `Shadows on Earth,’ by Owen Francis Dudley.”  [Apparent typos were in the original.]

4/28/1934: letter from Fr. Dudley:  “Thank you for your kind letter of April 15th enclosing the interesting photo and the reprints from `America’.  I am so glad the Webster Gallery is a success, and also that Iowa is full of my books. Certainly the Kenrick student has been busy.  Yes. I am writing another book, and hope to get it finished soon. Thank you for all your good wishes.”

5/9/1934:  The Times of London, “Invalids,” p. 14:  “…The VERY REV. HERBERT VAUGHAN, late Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society, has entered a nursing home for two operations, one to be performed to-day and the other in about 10 days’ time.”

July 1934:  The Motion Picture Production Code went into effect:  dramatically affecting the content of movies in the US and throughout the world.  The actual enforcement of the code occurred only because (see entry of 5/20/2006 for source):

In 1934 Catholics formed an organization to beat back the tide. Its official name was the National Legion of Decency. (Morally upright Protestants and Jews might enlist as well.) The Legion quickly became the most feared of all the private protest groups bedeviling Hollywood. Its most effective tactical device was the Legion pledge, a prayerlike pact signed and recited in unison at Sunday Masses, Knights of Columbus meetings and parochial school assemblies. “I condemn absolutely those debauching motion pictures which, with other degrading agencies, are corrupting public morals and promoting a sex mania in our land,” affirmed the pledger. “Considering these evils, I hereby promise to remain away from all motion pictures except those which do not offend decency and Christian morality.”  With box offices hemorrhaging in the Catholic strongholds in big cities, Will H. Hays, Presbyterian Church elder and president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), turned to a Victorian Irishman named Joseph I. Breen to negotiate surrender terms with the Catholics. Hays told Breen that “the Catholic authorities can have anything they want.”

10/4/1934:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 10, [advertisement]:  

Owen Francis Dudley,
Author of The Masterful Monk.
Always In Stock.
Serving Hartford Since 1835
77-79 Asylum St.

10/28/1934:  The Missoulian (Missoula, Montana), p. 17:  “the study group of St. Anthony’s Council began its year’s work, thursday evening, when a meeting was held at the home of the leader, Mrs. J. L. Murphy…Miss Marian Benis gave a well-prepared review of the book, “The Shadow on the Earth,” by Owen Francis Dudley, which she preceded by an interesting sketch of the author’s life.”

1935:  Stanley Baldwin (Conservative) becomes Prime Minister of Britain still again–serving this time until 1937.

2/20/1935:  The Herald-Palladium (Saint Joseph Michigan), p. 12.  The Brownson Study club meeting included:  “And excellently prepared review of the book, `The Masterful Monk,’ by Owen Francis Dudley, was presented in interesting fashion by Mrs. J. R. Clemens.”

11/7/1934:  The Falls City [Nebraska] Journal, p. 3, “Society–Hold [sic] Business Session”:  

A business session of the Catholic Daughters of America was held last evening at the K. C. hall.  Fifteen members were present.  Miss Lottie Putnam, grand regent, conducted the business session after which a book review, “The Pageant of Life,” (Owen Francis Dudley) was given by Miss Putnam.  The next meeting will be a social affair in charge of Mrs. Paul Charbonneau in two weeks.


     ARCHlBISHOP HINSLEY, presiding at a public meeting of the Catholic Missionary Society at the Cathedral Hall, Ambrosden Avenue, Westminster, last evening, said he was happy to be there to contribute his interest and strenuous support to that great movement.
     The word mission had a very wide meaning; they were not to understand it in any narrow sense.  It was as wide as the commission of their Lord Himself, and embraced the ends of the earth.  They must not take any parochial view.  With all his heart and soul he wished to give his support to that society, and also to the Catholic Evidence Society and the Catholic Social Guild.  The wide, generous, apostolic spirit which the word mission conveyed was the special characteristic of the great founder of that society, Cardinal Vaughan, to whom they owed a deep debt of gratitude. The work was still prospering.  The more they were in earnest about missions in general, the more they would get rid of any little parochial view.  Their cause and work commanded his interest and support, his predecessors had laid upon him the additional duty of giving his heart and soul to a mission of that kind.
     The VERY Rev. 0. F. Dudley claimed that during the 30 years of the society’s life it had helped to win the toleration that was now enjoyed.  They wanted to create a Catholic public opinion about the work of the mission.
     So large was the audience that an overflow meeting was held in St. Peter’s Hall, addresses being given by ARCHBISHOP GOODIER and others.

1936:  The Catholic Literary Revival:  Three Phases in its Development from 1845 to the Present, by Calvert Alexander, SJ, published.  Although Fr. Dudley was briefly mentioned, this is primarily a resource into the approaches of Catholic authors at the time.

1936:  G.K. Chesterton died.

1936:  King George V died, being replaced briefly by Edward VIII who abdicated, and then by George VI who ruled until 1952 (when Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne).

1936:  Spanish Civil War began: ending in 1939.

1936:  Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980, Professor/writer) became Catholic to the shock of his parents.

1936:  Human Happiness and H.G. Wells by Fr. Dudley published (48 pages, out of print and unavailable).

1936:  The Coming of the Monster (fiction, 275 pages, in print) published:  Fr. Dudley’s 4th novel. A study of economic and political events focusing on Communist efforts to gain a foot hold in England.  His most detailed and critical view of Hollywood movies (although Michael also discusses Hollywood).  A discussion of the working class, and an economic analysis along the general lines of Distributism (Chesterton, Belloc, and others).

1936:  Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) published.  The plot is set in 1935, and this is the 3rd of 4 novels featuring Harriet Vane (along with Lord Peter Wimsey).  Its strongest theme is a prolonged meditation about the role of women, relations between the sexes, and marriage.

2/18/1936:  The Times of London, “Dr. Herbert Vaughan,”, p. 17:

     The Rev. Herbert Vaughan, D.D., formerly rector of the Mission House of the Catholic Missionary Society at Brondesbury Park, died in a London nursing home yesterday at the age of 61.
     Dr. Vaughan, who was born on November 19, 1874, at Courtfield, Ross, was the second son of Colonel F. B. Vaughan, J.P., by Caroline Ruth, daughter of Charles Alexander Pope, of St. Louis, U.S.A., and brother of Major Charles Vaughan, now of Courtfield.  He was a nephew of Cardinal Vaughan and a brother of the present Bishop of Menevia and of the late Father Bernard Vaughan, the Jesuit preacber.  After being educated at the Oratory School, Edgbaston, he studied for the priesthood at Oscott College and, later, both in Rome and in Paris, being ordained by his uncle, the Cardinal, at Courtfield in 1900.
     After being sent by his uhcle for a year to the Paulist Fathers in the United States to learn methods of popular presentation of Christian doctrine by addressing members of all denominations, he returned to England to join the Westminster Diocesan Missionaries, who in 1910 developed into the Catholic Missionary Society, organized for the intellectual presentation by word and writing of the case for the Roman Catholic Church.  For 25 years till his retirement in 1934 Dr. Vaughan devoted himself to this movement, founding and editing, in conjunction with the present Archbishop of Liverpool, the Catholic Gazette, directing the Catholic Times, and serving on many committees of societies for the furtherance of the Christian faith in educated circles. He started the Catholic Motor Mission in Great Britain, and was the first chairman of the South of England Catholic Land Association. At the same time he was able to undertake thc ordinary work of parish priest of the Roman Catholic church at Willesden Green.
     Dr. Vaughan shared with the other distinguished members of the family that has been so remarkable a power in modem Roman Catholic life a great charm of manner, to which even those who differed strongly from him in religious convictions willingly paid homage.  As a preacher he had the rare gift of expressing the most profound ideas in simple language which could be understood by the unlettered.  He possessed an astonishing capacity for incessant and absorbing work and a depth of human sympathy which make his death a great loss to the cause he represented and to his wide circle of devoted friends.

4/6/1936: The North Adams [Massachusetts] Transcript, p. 11: “LENTEN SEASON BOOKS AVAILABLE, Among List Now Ready for Circulation at Adams Free Library” which includes The Coming of the Monster.

4/19/1936: The New York Times: a review of The Coming of the Monster by Alfred Kazin: “FATHER DUDLEY’S thrillers bear a superficial resemblance to Chesterton’s Father Brown tales, but they have a narrow range, and their appeal seems limited to Catholic readers. The present volume deals with the struggle of the Masterful Monk, Anselm Thornton, against Anti-Christ in the modern world, his activities against boleshevism in England and his assistance in leading a young Englishwoman to the faith…”

5/10/1936:  Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Kentucky), p. 14 [typos in the original]:  

The reading club of St. Frances academy will beet at the academy at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 14.  The works of Owen Francis Dudley will be discussed with Miss Cora Jane Jesse as leader.  The program will be as follows:  Sketches and excerpts from the life of the author, Miss Jesse, “Shadows on the Earth,” Miss Alice Rodman, “The Masterful Monk,” Miss Sallie Mae Berry, “Pageant of Life,” Mrs. Paul Gillis; “The Coming of the Monster,” Miss Jesse.

6/15/1936:  The Times of London, “Obituary; MR. G. K. CHESTERTON; POET, NOVELIST, CRITIC, AND DEBATER,” p. 17:

     Mr. G. K. Chesterton died yesterday after a short illness at his home, Top Meadow, Beaconsfield, at the age of 62.  He was one of the chief figures in contemporary literature, in almost every species of which he had shown himself an adept.  He had been writing steadily for the last 40 years; and the news of his death will evoke sincere regret in many quarters.
     Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born in Kensington in 1874, and was the elder son of the late Mr. Edward Chesterton, a member of the well-known firm of estate agents of that name, who retired from business fairly early in life and lived in Warwick Gardens.  His mother, who had French-Swiss blood in her veins, died in 1933; and his brother Cecil, who was some five years his junior, and died, it will be remembered, soon after the War, in which he served, made his mark as a journalist. Both boys went to St. Paul’s School, Gilbert being there from 1887 to 1892, when he left with the prize for English verse and a reputation, not after- wards belied, for beingl.a genius of an altogether higher order than most clever boys. He did not, it is true, shine much on the classical side, but the High Master, F. W. Walker, in recognition of his peculiar talents, assigned him a special status of his own, which enabled him to rank with the boys of the highest form. This honour was given to him largely on account of the part he was taking in producing, with other members of an unofficial school debating society, a small magazine, copies of which are now much esteemed by those who possess them.
     Chesterton’s home life, as a school-boy and for several years afterwards, until his marriage, was, thanks to the devotion of his mother and the literary and artistic interests of his father, such that he could indulge to the utmost his bent for disputation, good talk, and wide and serious reading; his friends at the Universities would, on coming down at the end of a term, rush more often to the hospitable house in Warwick Gardens than to their own homes; and debate and discussion would be continued there and then, as on many other nights, into the small hours.  Very few households could have matched that of the Chestertons in the later nineties for loyal friendships, witty talk, and high argument.
     For a few months Chesterton studied art at the Slade School, for he could always draw, and many of his drawings in later life enlivened his own books–the drawings, for instance, which he did for his friend Mr. E. C. Bentley’s verses of potted biography must be familiar to many.  But he did not become a professional artist, for he soon began to review books and to make his name as a writer.  Before he was much over 20 he was busily employed, and as opportunity followed opportunity there was soon hardly a single department of writing that he had not touched–and succeeded in. He quickly acquired a personal reputation also; his massive figure became the butt of the cartoonist, and with complete good nature he enjoyed, as when he appeared as Dr. Johnson, lending himself in a purely bodily capacity for the purposes of public entertainment.  He held public disputes on all manner of topics, and dined in all sorts of company, his after-dinner speech generally being the best thing of the evening.
     His energy and his versatility were amazing; his exuberant intellect ran riot over letters, art, religion, philosophy, and current affairs, so that anything like a complete catalogue of his writings would be next to impossible. As a journalist, however, he kept up for more than a generation a punctual weekly article in the Illutstrrated London News; these essays were never negligible, however hastily they may have been written; and this side of him led him to publish a large number of volumes of essays–the last came out this month–under such typical titles as ” What’s Wrong with the World?” “All I Survey,” “Tremendous Trifles.”  They put him among the first essayists of his age.  As a novelist he with equal success wrote several Utopian romances; and his detective Father Brown, even in an era bristling with detectives, holds his own for his peculiarly Chestertonian methods and logic.  On the stage he had had more than one of his pieces acted.  As a poet his output was constant; epigrams and satire came to him as readily as epic; there were both sonority and fine imagination in his best poems.
     There were also other Chestertons–Chesterton, for instance, the literary critic, who knew his Dickens through and through and wrote one of the best books on Dickens extant; who wrote also on the Victorian age in literature and studies of Browning and of Chaucer.  Then there was Chesterton the traveller, who reported what he had found in Ireland in 1919, what he had seen of America in 1922, how he had beheld the resurrection of Rome in 1930; and who as a traveller stoutly held to his conviction that travel narrowed the mind.  Nor were history and religion foreign subjects to his pen; and he maintained for a long time the conduct of an eponymous journal–G.K.’s Weekly.  Before he was middle-aged books and innumerable articles were being written about him by younger men, who would be puzzled or amused or provoked by what appeared to them to be the core of the Chestertonian philosophy.  The bibliographer also got to work on him. Such things, together with perpetual parodies of his style and personal appearance, testify surely to the place which he filled in contemporary letters.
     In his youth Chesterton knew the Bible better than most young men, but his home atmosphere suggested Liberalism and a suspension of theological belief rather than any form of ecclesiastical orthodoxy.  A change, however, came over him in this respect when he was received in 1922 into the Church of Rome; and from that time onwards his point of view was regulated largely by that of the Church of his adoption.  Politically–and he was always much interested in politics, being anything but a man of mere literature–it was often difficult to label him; but, broadly, he was on the side of the angels, in that he believed in personal liberty as against the mechanization of society.  Eugenics he would tilt at for this reason; and for the same reason the preservation of the older England was a dear cause to him.  Solemn people may have sometimes taken him for a greater force than he really was in politics; but on all occasions he was sincere, and his hearty optimism was a comfort and a refreshment.  His chief artifice in writing, if what was natural to him can be called artifice, was paradox; but his topsy-turvydom would often convey a well-discerned truth or state a position well worth considering.  Everything that he wrote was readable; and his style certainly reflected the living man; high spirits and good nature were some of its ingredients.  His talk was rich, sustained, and occasionally overpowering; but he never failed to delight his audience, private or public. Though he said and wrote a great many extravagant things, he uttered nothing unseemly, and he can have hardly made any enemies.  All his life he had a strong touch of true genius in him–the genius probably that is the journalist’s at his best rather than a less motley kind–and by his death literature and discussion are made suddenly and most regrettably the poorer.  Much sympathy will he felt with Mrs. Chesterton after 35 years of married companionship.
     Mr. Chesterton finished writing his autobiography only two months ago.  He had worked on it for about six months, and as soon as it was completed he took his wife and secretary on a motor tour in France.  They returned a month ago.
     The requiem Mass will be celebrated in St. Teresa’s Church, Beaconsfield, on Wednesday at 11.30. No flowers.

6/22/1936:  The Times of London, “MR. G. K. CHESTERTON; Bishop Neville Talbot writes:– (p. 16):

Your obituary notice of Mr. Chesterton, so full and appreciative in general, surely does scant justice to the glorious part he played; in days long before he joined the Church of Rome, in the championship of the Christian Faith. At a time when Christianity seemed to be little more than an object for derisive or contemptuous misunderstanding on the part of the intelligentsia, “G. K. C.” seemed to us young men to fulfil the verse: “When the adversary shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” It was in 1906 that he wrote his smashing ” Heretics,” and in 1908 his wonderfully firm-footed yet brilliant “Orthodoxy.”  We youngsters drank them down as the finest sparkling wine.  How little is this reflected by the jejune lines in your notice, “his home atmosphere suggested Liberalism and a suspension of theological belief rather than any form of ecclesiastical orthodoxy.  A change, however, came over him in this respect when he was received in 1922 into the Church of Rome.”  Latterly he never spoke home to our acute need as he did in his rapturous youth.  But speak he did then, as no one else did.  Charles Raven exactly expresses what I mean in the passage in his “A Wanderer’s Way.” beginning:  “To me, still smiling sardonically, came the boisterous and brilliant faith of Mr. Chesterton, turning the tables on the heretics and exploding their paper castles with a splutter of fireworks.”

6/25/1936:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 10, “Library Reports Its Most Popular Books”:  [Fr. Dudley’s books were #1 & #8.]

     The Catholic Lending Library at 138 Market street, Hartford, has reason to feel gratified at the steady increase of patrons who are becoming aware of the possibilities of such a service to the reading public. This is shown by the ever growing number of volumes that are being daily borrowed by the many people who regularly visit the Library. The records for the month of May, 1936, Indicate that a total of 378 books were taken out and 403 returned.
     It is also extremely interesting to learn the most popular books of the month in a statistical recording of the number of times certain books were taken out. Owen Francis Dudley’s book, “The Coming of the Monster” easily led the list for May. This is his latest book in a well known series. Following is the remainder of the list of the 10 leading books for May in the order of their demand:
     2. ‘‘lf I Have 4 Apples,” Josephine Lawrence.
     3. “Now I See,” Arnold Lunn.
     4. “Man, the Unknown,” Alexis Carrel, M. D.
     5. “College Men,” Dom Proface.
     6. “Environment,” Phyllis Bentley.
     7 “Laws of Life,” Halliday Sutherland, M. D.
     8. “Shadow on the Earth,” Owen Francis Dudley.
     9. “St. Thomas Aquinas,” G. K. Chesterton.
     10. “Theatre of Life,” Sir Esme Howard.
     It Is the Intention of the directors of the library to keep a monthly record of the number of volumes taken out, and also to record the 
most popular books of the month. This will indicate trends in reading tastes and will enable them to keep their shelves stocked with the best in modern literature.

6/29/1936:  The Times of London, “ARCHBISHOPS TRIBUTE TO MR. CHESTERTON,” p. 11:

The ARCHBISHOP of WESTMINSTER (Dr. A. Hinsley) paid a tribute to the late Mr. G. K. Chesterton at Westminster Cathedral yesterday, when he addressed Roman Catholic students from London University, which is celebrating its centenary.  He said that Mr. Chesterton had left behind him an example of loyal Catholic faith in spite of all adverse circumstances.  He had exhibited the qualities which ought to be manifested by men and women like his audience who were to take their places as lay readers of the Catholic life.  This was an occasion which must interest Catholics as a body not only in the Metropolis but throughout the country.  Catholics now had a part in the life of the nation, they were in the main stream of the national life and able to contribute their share to national culture and to national sciences.

11/5/1936: The Times of London, “Book of the Day: AUTOBIOGRAPHY, by G. K. CHESTERTON” (Hutchinson. 10s. 6d.), p. 10:

     It was to be anticipated that an “Autobiography” by G. K. Chesterton would be unlike any other autobiography, and our expectations of the unexpected are not disappointed. This lively volume, packed with thought, fun and poetry, discusses almost anything but himself.
     Something, indeed, we learn of his birth, which was in 1874, in Kensington, under the shadow of the Campden Hill water-tower, which plays such a strategic role in the greatest of his fighting fables; of his education at St. Paul’s, where he tried to be a dunce, but was found out by keen-witted masters; of his adolescent dabblings in art and innocuous diabolism; of his spirited courtship and happy marriage, which he makes to sound much more like fiction than many of his novels.  But on the whole he had much rather tell you of the people he has known, of his “rather old-fashioned English middle class” family and the faintly surviving Dickensian flavour of the epoch into which he was born; of his school-mates Robert Vernede and Clerihew Bentley and the rest; of his brother Cecil’s militant life and death; of the ecclesiastics he has admired and the politicians he has contemned; of the forgotten cranks, wags, wits and poets he has met in divers Bohemias and innumerable taverns and chapels; and above all of his friends at the different periods of his life, especially his chief comrade-in-arms, whom he describes, as he first saw him at the period of the South African war, in a characteristic piece of portraiture:
     “A sturdy man with a stiff straw hat of the period tilted over his eyes, which emphasized the peculiar length and strength of his chin. He had a high-shouldered way of wearing a coat so that it looked like a heavy overcoat, and instantly reminded me of the pictures of Napoleon; and for some vague reason, especially of the pictures of Napoleon on horse- back. But his eyes, not without anxiety, had that curious distant keenness that is seen in the eyes of sailors; and there was something about his walk that has even been compared to a sailor’s roll.”
     What he here does for Mr. Hilaire Belloc he does for a number of the salient figures of his epoch, bringing them before us as the painter he almost became might have done.  And it is with the same pictorial vividness that he brings before us the ideas, ethical, political and religious, for which he passed so many of his days in contending. This least egocentric of authors does not seem to care whether you think him a success in letters or not; and is only concerned to impress his philosophy upon you.  With the core of that philosophy, if not vith all the quaint (and a few sinister) corollaries he drew from it, very many will agree.  It is a creed of a fighting hopefulness based on a grateful joy in living.
     “I began by being what the pessimists called an optimist; I have ended by being what the optimists would very probably call a pessimist. And I have never in fact been either and I have never really changed at all. I began by defending vermilion pillar-boxes and Victorian omnibuses, although they were ugly.  I have ended by denouncing modern advertisements or American films even when they are beautiful.  The thing that I was trying to say then is the same thing that I am trying to say now; and even the deepest revolution of religion has only confirmed me in the desire to say it.  For indeed, I never saw the two sides of this simple truth stated together any- where, until I happened to open the Penny Catechism and read the words:  `The two sins against Hope are presumption and despair.'”
     In spite of a leaning towards French fashions, due possibly to a Gallic strain in his ancestry, which led him to some odd misinterpretations of our island life and politics, Gilbert Chesterton remained essentially in the tradition of Dickens and Cobbett and Johnson, the raciest English tradition, which would not be itself unless it embodied a great deal of grumbling about the way the country was conducted.  The novelist who added Humphrey Pump to the great innkeepers of literature knew the English village without and within; the poet who wrote the song of “The Rolling English Road” had entered into the soul of the English countryside; and the fantaisist who glorified the London suburbs in “The Napoleon of Notting Hill ” added a fresh note of delight to the praise of his land.

11/20/1936:  The Berskhire Eagle [Pittsfield, Massachusetts], p. 10:  the Young Ladies’ Sodality of Sacred Heart Church will have have a review of The Masterful Monk (presented by Misses Marion Connelly and Isabelle Knollmeyer) at the December 3rd meeting.

1937:  Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris:

The doctrine of modern Communism, which is often concealed under the most seductive trappings, is in substance based on the principles of dialectical and historical materialism previously advocated by Marx, of which the theoricians of bolshevism claim to possess the only genuine interpretation. According to this doctrine there is in the world only one reality, matter, the blind forces of which evolve into plant, animal and man. Even human society is nothing but a phenomenon and form of matter, evolving in the same way. By a law of inexorable necessity and through a perpetual conflict of forces, matter moves towards the final synthesis of a classless society. In such a doctrine, as is evident, there is no room for the idea of God; there is no difference between matter and spirit, between soul and body; there is neither survival of the soul after death nor any hope in a future life. Insisting on the dialectical aspect of their materialism, the Communists claim that the conflict which carries the world towards its final synthesis can be accelerated by man. Hence they endeavor to sharpen the antagonisms which arise between the various classes of society. Thus the class struggle with its consequent violent hate and destruction takes on the aspects of a crusade for the progress of humanity. On the other hand, all other forces whatever, as long as they resist such systematic violence, must be annihilated as hostile to the human race.

1937:  Nelville Chamberlain (Conservative) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until 1940.

1937: Brother Petroc’s Return by Sister Mary Catherine Anderson (“S.M.C.”), O.P. (1888-1972) published.  This is her most successful book.  Her father was an Anglican clergyman, but the family converted while she was still a little girl.  She was educated by the Stone Dominican Sisters at their St. Marychurch convent–where she became a nun in 1908.  She published a total of 16 books (another of which is discussed in the 5/4/1943 entry below).

1937:  John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946, Economist) became Director of the British Eugenics Society (until 1944). Even in 1946, shortly before his death, Keynes declared eugenics to be “the most important, significant and, I would add, genuine branch of sociology which exists.” (Eugenics was a popular subject among Sociologists at the time.)

1937:  Fr. Frederick C. Copleston, SJ (1907-1994) ordained a Catholic priest. He was raised a strict Anglican, but converted when he was 18. Although at first his father threatened to disown his son, his anger passed. Fr. Copleston became a professor of philosophy at Heythrop College in London in 1939 (where he taught for over thirty years).  He was famous for his 9-volume history of philosophy, and his BBC debates with Bertrand Russell concerning the existence of God in 1948. In 1993, he was awarded the honor of the “Queen’s Commander of the British Empire.”

1937:  Dorothy L Sayers published her eleventh and last novel featuring Lord Peter Wimsey:  Busman’s Honeymoon.  It concerned the honeymoon of Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.  She then turned her attention to religious writing, although she continued to write some short stories about Wimsey:  her last was in 1942.

1937:  The Zeal of Thy House was a play by Dorothy Sayers commissioned for the Canterbury festival.

1937:  A Punch at Everybody published:  collection of Dudley articles on social questions reprinted from the Daily Mirror (out of print and almost completely unavailable).

3/25/1937:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], pp. 1 & 9, “Church’s Stand on Communism Defined by Pope Pius XI:  New Encyclical Points Out Dangers—Man’s Liberty Destroyed by Atheistic Doctrine—Sad Effects Visible in Many Nations—Doctrines of Church Are Only Remedy—Task of Catholic Action Outlined”:

(Cable, N. C. W. C. News Service.)
Vatican City. March 25—Following in the text of the official Vatican English abstract of Pope Pius’ Encyclical on Atheistic Communism:
     The Encyclical, divided into chapters and numbered paragraphs, begins by pointing out the serious danger to which all nations are exposed by the inroads of Communism.
     After recalling how his predecessors and he, himself, had more than once called the attention of the world to this danger, the Holy Father asserted the necessity of a new, solemn document. “Therefore, We believe it to be Our duty to raise Our voice once more in a still more solemn missive in accordance with the tradition of this Apostolic See, the teacher of truth, and in accordance with the desire of the whole Catholic world which makes the appearance of such a document natural. “We trust that the echo of Our voice will reach every mind free from prejudice and every heart sincerely desirous of the good of mankind.

Spectacle of Bitter Fruit.

     “We wish this still more because Our words are now receiving sorry confirmation from the spectacle of bitter fruits of subversive Ideas which We foresaw and foretold, and which are multiplying fearfully in countries already stricken, or threatening every other country of the world. “The doctrine of Communism was founded on the principles of dialectical and historical materialism previously advocated by Marx and of which the theoreticians of Bolshevism tried to prevent the only genuine Interpretation.
     “According to this doctrine there is in the world only one reality, matter, prime forces which evolve into plant, animal and man. “Even human society is nothing but phenomena and a form of matter evolving In the same way. By the law of inexorable necessities and through perpetual confiict of forces, matter moves toward the final synthesis of classless society.
     “In such a doctrine, as is evident, there is no room for the idea of God; there is no difference between matter and spirit, between soul and body; there is neither the survival of the soul after death nor any hope of a future life.
     “Thus mans’ liberty is destroyed. Every right of the human person is denied. Man becomes, as it were, a mere cog in the collectivist machinery which alone has unlimited control over the lives of men All hierarchy of authority is nullified.

Idea of God Rejected.

     “The dignity of the indissolubility of marriage is set aside. The family Is profaned. The woman is torn from her home and from the care of her children. Religion is dubbed the opiate of the people and assailed with any weapon at hand. The very idea of God is rejected and condemned. 
     “Communism, therefore, is a system full of errors and sophism. It is in opposition to both reason and divine revelation.
     “It Is subversive to the social order because it means the destruction of its foundations; because it ignores the true origin and purpose of the State; and because It denies the right, dignity and liberty of human personality.”
     That a system so obviously erroneous should be so widely accepted is due to the false Ideal of justice and equality which Communism has held up to the masses, promising elimination of many undeniable abuses and improvement of the conditions of the poor workingman.
     Deceived by the theses and promises. they have blindly followed the prophets of the new doctrine, unable to perceive the very serious errors of Communism.
     “By pretending to desire only betterment of the condition of the working classes, by urging removal of the very real abuses chargeable to a liberalistic economic order and by demanding a more equitable distribution of this world’s goods (an objective entirely and undoubtedly legitimate), Communists take advantage of the present world-wide economic crisis to draw into the sphere of their influence even those sections of the populace which on principle reject all forms of materialism and terrorism.”

Widespread Propaganda.

     In addition to the sad plight in which liberal economics have left the workingman, two other factors undoubtedly hastened this diffusion; clever, widespread propaganda organized with truly diabolical perfection and the inexplicable silence of a large section of the press in the face of the spread of Communism. 
     Meanwhile the sad effects of the evil already are evident in several nations, such as Mexico and Spain and especially Russia, which was chosen, so to speak, as the testing ground for this new doctrine.
     To the real Russian people, saddened and oppressed, the Holy Father offers an expression of his paternal sympathy.
     “In making these observations it is no part of Our intention to condemn en masse the peoples of the Soviet Union. For them We cherish the warmest paternal affection. We are well aware that not a few of them groan beneath the yoke imposed on them by men who in a very large part are strangera to the real interesta of the country.
     “We recognize many others have been deceived by these fallacious hopes. We blame only the system with its authors and abettors who considered Russia the best prepared field for experimenting with a plan elaborated decades ago and who, from there, continued to spread it from one end of the world to the other.”
     To the errors of Communism the Pontlff opposes the doctrines of the Catholic Church which, acknowledging its God as a Creator, Judge and Loving Father, proclaims the equality and brotherhood of man and defends the liberty of man and the rights of the human person.

Respect tor Personal Rights.

     Destined by God for a supernatural end of eternal happiness, man should find in domestic and civil society, both ordained by God, due respect for his personal rights and help to facilitate the attainment of his sublime destiny.
     On the basis of these principles the Church recognizes and defends the Hierarchy and legitimate authority of society, which can and should use its influence even in the field of social economics.
     Proposing opportune social norms, it (society) should be a directive and co-ordinating force and even use legal means of constraint and repression when the activity of individuals or groups may tend to the detriment of the common good.
     “This doctrine Is equally removed from all extremes of error and all exaggerations of parties or systems which stem from error. It maintains the constant equilibrium of truth and justice, which It vindicates in theory and promotes and applies in practice, bringing into harmony the rights and duties of all parties.
     “Thus authority is reconciled with the liberty and dignity of the individual and with that of the State; the human personality of the subject with the divine delegation of the superior; and in this way a balance is struck between the due dependence and well-ordered love of man for himself, his family and his country, his love of other families and other people, founded on the love of God, Father of all, their first principle and last end.
     “The Church does not separate the proper regard for temporal welfare from solicitude for the eternal. If she subordinates the former to the latter–according to the words of her Divine Founder ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you’— she Is nevertheless so far from being unconcerned with human affairs and so far from hindering civil progress and material advancement that she actually fosters and promotes them in the most sensible and efficacious manner.”

Guiding Principles.

     Thus, even in the field of social economics and although the Church has never proposed a definite technical system since this is not her field, she nevertheless has clearly outlined the guiding principles which, while susceptible to varied concrete application according to diversified conditions of times, places and peoples, indicate a safe way of securing happy progress for society. The Church has always acted in conformity with this doctrine, in spite of the greatest of difficulties and enduring, bitter persecution in her defense of the truth.
     After this point the Holy Father proposes remedies to be applied against very grave modern ills, remedies which he epitomizes by inviting all his children to a renewal of Christian life.
     “Even in Catholic countries there are still too many who are Catholic hardly more than in name. There are too many who fulfil more or less faithfully the more essential obligation of the religion they boast of professing but have no desire for knowing it better ot deepening their Inward convictions and still less of bringing into conformity with the external gloss the inner splendor of an unsullied conscience that recognizes and performs all its dirties under the eye of God.”
     In particular, the Holy Father recommends to the faithful detachment from worldly goods, Christian charity and especially justice; detachment from worldly possessions, for these do not constitute man’s true goods; Christian charity, which should move all to commiserate and help those who suffer; justice above all, which should induce employers and the wealthy to recognize the inalienable right of the workingman to a salary sufficient for himself and his family and safeguard, even in labor, his lofty dignity as a man and child of God.

Duties Imposed by Justice.

     “The wage-earner is not to receive as alms what is his due in Justice; let no one attempt with trifling charitable donations to exempt himself from the great duties imposed by justice.
     “Both justice and charity often dictate obligations touching upon the same subject matter but under different aspects; and the very dignity of the workingman makes him justly and acutely sensitive to the duties of others in this regard.”
     The Pope then recommends a better understanding and fuller study of the doctrine of the Church, which alone, in the Name of Jesus Christ, can point out the path to true civil progress.
     Action must be joined to study if the Communist enterprise is to be effectively resisted. “Communism is Intrinsically wrong and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it In any undertaking whatsoever.
     “Those who permit themselves to he deceived into lending their aid toward the triumph of Communism in their own country will first fall as victims to their error. “And because of the greater antiquity and grandeur of Christian civilization in the region where Communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless.”

Task of Catholic Action.

     In the front line of this battle against Communism, says the Holy Father, should stand the priest, whose duty it is to show the way to all others by word and example. Catholic Action also should distinguish itself particularly In this field, aided by those other religious groups which the Holy Father has himself called auxiliary organizations.
     Nor does the Pontiff forget other organizations which should be Inspired by principles of a sound well planned social order. After a special appeal to Catholics, workers and non-workers, to put aside their vain trifling differences and unite in this great struggle, the Holy Father pleads with all those who believe In God to resist the furious attark of the godless.
      Even the State should play a vital part in the attainment and hope for victory by aiding the activity of the Church, by adopting timely measures and by giving an example of wise, prudent administration. “This means all diligence should he exercised by States to prevent within their territory ravages of the, anti-God campaign which shakes society to the very foundation. “For there can be no authority on earth unless the authority of Divine Majesty be recognized.”

Plea to Erring Children.

     The Holy Father then makes this heartfelt appeal to his erring children:  
     “We cannot conclude this Encyclical Letter without addressing some words to those of Our children who are more or less tainted with the Communist plague.
     “We earnestly exhort them to hear the voice of their loving father. We pray the Lord to enlighten them that they may abandon the slippery path which will precipitate one and all to ruin and catastrophe and that they recognize Jesus Christ Our Lord as their only Saviour. ‘For there is no other Name under Heaven given to man whereby we must bo saved.’ ”
     The Encyclical closes with an exhortation to all to turn their thoughts to St. Joseph, powerfu! protector of the Church, living model of that Christian Justice which should reign in the social life.

3/25/1937:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], pp. 1 & 9, “Pope Challenges Nazis’ Philosophy in New Encyclical:  Tells German Bishops He Cannot Remain Silent—Must Raise Voice Against Persecution—Opposes Totalitarian State—State—Describes Church’s Mission—Asks Persecutors To Repent.”:

(Cable, N. C. W. C. News Service)
Amsterdam, March 25.—Having made every imaginable effort, having exhausted all available diplomatic means to impress upon the present German regime the paramount importance of fulfilling the obligations formally undertaken in the Concordat with the Holy See about four years ago, the Holy Father has now decided that further restraint. could not be justified in the face of constant flagrant violations of that solemn treaty by the German Partner to it and of the growing momentum of the neo-pagan movement in Germany which threatens the very foundations of Christianity.
     An Encyclical which amounts to an open challenge to Nazi philosophies and accuses the regime, in no uncertain terms of having flagrantly violated their pledges was read tn all the Catholic pulpits of Germany last Sunday both at. the morning and evening services. It ia almost equal in length to the recent Encyclical against Communism.

Denounces Racial Doctrines.

     Referring particularly to the wanton suppression of parochial schools throughout the country and to tbe antl-Catholtc propaganda systematically promoted by official agencies of the government among the younger generation, the Encyclical denounces the racial doctrines of the radical theorists, proclaims anew the Catholic loyalty to “the Cross which remains a symbol of faith for true Christians although It is now scorned by enemies of the Church.”
     Persecution, the Encyclical continues, will only be the forerunner of new progress for the Church and her enemies will “soon see that they I rejoiced too soon as the day will come when, instead of the premature paens of the foes of Christ, the Te Deum of Hts followers will rise to heaven.”
     Voelkische Beobachter, which is the official organ of the Nail regime, comments on the situation editorially although the whole German press is not permitted to make any reference to the Encyclical. It says that “even the contract with the Holy See is not sacrosanct,” and intimates that the Government may give notice of the cancellation of the Concordat, in view of what the paper terms “the Church’s hostility to the regime.”
     There can be no doubt that the decisive stage of the Church-State struggle in Germany has now been reached. German Catholics stand united in facing their most dangerous enemy, because they feel they wll. certainly win the crown of victory, despite all the sufferings they may have to undergo for the sake of their faith.
(Cable, N. C. W. C. News Service)
Vatican City, March 25.—In his Encyclical Letter addressed to the Bishops of Germany and inspired by a fatherly benevolence toward the German people, His Holiness Pope Pius XI bas put in bold relief the attacks upon Catholic doctrine contained in errors being widely propagated in the Reich and vigorously protested against the persecution to which the Church is being subjected in that country.
     Asserting that the Concordat negotiated between Germany and the Holy See remains in large part unfulfilled by the German Government, Pope Pius reveals that, it was “not without effort” that he gave his consent when the Reich Government petitioned the re-opening of negotiations for this agreement nearly four years ago.
      “In spite of many and grave misgivings,” the Holy Father says, “We came then, though not without effort, to a determination not to deny Our consent. We wished to spare Our Faithful and Our sons and daughters of Germany, insofar as it was humanly possible, the trials and tribulations which otherwise they would have had to expect in view of the conditions of the time.
     “We desired to demonstrate, indeed, to all that We were seeking only Christ and things that belong to Christ and not to refuse to extend to anyone, if he, himself, does not spurn it. the peaceful hand of the Mother Church.”
     Recounting how “We have done everything to defend the sanctity of the solemnly plighted word and the inviolability of obligationa voluntarily contracted,” the Encyclical says His Holiness has not found it possiblue to remain silent in a situation where “from the other side, there arose as an ordinary rule, distortion of facts, their evasion, their voiding and finally their more or less open violation.”
     Pope Pius says that “paternal solicitude for the good of souls counsels Us not to leave out of consideration any prospect, however slight, of a return to the fidelity of contracts and to an understanding such as Our conscience will permit,” and adds that “in this hour when Faith is tried as true gold in the fire of tribulation and persecution,” and “when they are hemmed in by thousands of forms of organized restriction of their religious liberties,” his spiritual children “have a double right to a word of truth and moral encouragement” from the Holy Father.
     Whoever removes civil power from the scale of earthly values and elevates it to be the supreme ruler over all, even religious values, “perverts and falsifies the order created and imposed by God,” the Encyclical declares.
     Whoever “dares place beside Christ, or, worse, still, above Him or against Him, a simple mortal, even though the greatest of all time, let him know that be ia a senseless prophet of absurdity,” the Letter adds.
     The Holy Father sends to the religious of Germany an expression of gratitude and sympathy. He condemns the opposition in Germany to confessional schools of Christian education, and obstacles which have been placed in the way of liberty and the right of parents in regard to the education of their children.
     “With paternal emotion,” His Holiness says, “we feel and suffer profoundly with those who have paid such a great price for their attachment to Christ and to the Church; but the point has now been reached where there is a question of the final and highest end, of salvation or of perdition, and therefore the only way to salvation for the believer Is that of generous heroism.”

3/25/1937:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 8, “THE COMING OF THE MONSTER:  A Tale of the Masterful Monk by Owen Francis Dudley.”:

NOTE:  This was part of the serialization of the novel. 

     In Hollywood Verna Wray and her girl friend Terry Harcourt visit the film studios. Verna and Terry now live together in a flat in London. With her friend Terry returning to England she meets Captain Louis Vivien, of the Intelligence Service. Father Anselm Thornton, the Masterful Monk, visits Verna to speak to her of Captain Vivien, who has asked her to marry him. Verna has decided to become a Catholic, although her father, who is wealthy, has threatened to disinherit her. Plotters in Moscow receive a report from Karenov in England. They refer to an incident of a few years before, when Father Thornton, bound to a tree in north Russia, was left to die but succeeded in making his escape. Roslavl receives a commission to go to England to deal with the Masterful Monk. Captain Vivien shadows Roslavl upon his arrival and warns Father Thornton. Roslavl makes an attempt on Father Thornton’s life, but the monk disarms him, and in making a break for liberty Roslavl is run down by an automobile, and killed. Verna I makes a pilgrimage to Lourdes. She speaks to June Campion, a blind girl, and to Father Thornton about her desire to enter a contemplative Order. While Father Thornton and Captain Vivien are watching the torchlight procession they become aware of the presence of Karenov in the shadows. From the distorted expression on Karenov’s face Father Thornton recognizes the struggle that is going on within him with a diabolical power.


[The text of Chapter XIX was inserted here.]

(To Be Concluded)
(Copyright, 1936, Longmans, Green and Cos.).
(N. C. W. C. Features).

4/1/1937:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 1, “BRIDGEPORT BEGINS COUNCIL OF WOMEN MEMBERSHIP DRIVE; GOAL OF 7,000 IS PLANNED BY COUNCILS OF 26 PARISHES; 1ST RALLY IS SET FOR MONDAY NIGHT; Notable Speakers Will Address Huge Audience”:

The annual membership drive of the Bridgeport Council of Catholic Women will open with a mass meeting in St. Augustine’s Hall, Monday, April 5 at 8 p. m. St. Augustine’s 1,050 Council members will play host to the Council members of twen-ty-flve other parishes.  Bridgeport, Stratford and Fairfield parishes are co-operating to make the drive a success.  Speakers of prominence from all over the state will be present at the opening rally.

Organized In 1927.

The Bridgeport Council of Catholic Women, a branch of the National Council, was organized by the late Bishop John J. Nilan in 1927 to assist him in carrying out the plans of the National Council in the diocese. The National Council of Catholic Women, constituting the lay department of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, an organization composed of the Archbishops and Bishops of the United States, is a vital force In the active, promotion of Catholic ideals and principles. The largest organization of its kind in the State, the Bridgeport Council attained its remarkable size under the direction of the Rev. Thomas B. Gloster, who was appointed as Council director by the late Bishop eleven years ago. Its membership, running far in the thousands, is drawn from twentyfive Catholic parishes in Bridgeport and vicinity. Each parish has a permanent branch organized with chairman and several vice-chair-men, all under the general direction of a parish priest. The Council features a wide field of endeavors, including education and social activities, religious projects and welfare work. Probably the most prominent part of its program is its participation in various charity endeavors, notably the Community Chest. Council members each year strongly support the Chest and work actively on its committees.  As an organization, the Council contributes generously to the Chest and promotes many enterprises to encourage the ideal of charity and the Community Chest. Prizes for essays and orations on the subject of charity are offered annually in all public and parochial schools of Bridgeport, and the principle of neighborly love is fostered among Catholic youth groups. Regular Council meetings, both education and social in character, are held on the first Monday of each month at the Catholic Community House. Lay and clerical speakers of note address these meetings and usually, a round table discussion follows. Ladles from the various parish committees each month are hostesses and plan the social program for the evening. Enormous Undertaking It Is expected that not only will this year’s goal for membership, set at 7.000, be reached but in some parishes the quotas will be far exceeded. The 1937 drive for members is an enormous undertaking but plans have been perfected to guarantee a thorough canvass of the entire territory. There are hundreds of workers on the general board, the individual parish number varying according to the size of each parish. Mrs. John L. Kennedy is again general chairlady of the drive. Her assistants on the membership committee are Mrs. Edward Fagan, Mrs. Richard Scanlon, Mrs. John McGowan, Mrs. Harry Norris, Mrs. John Tybor, and Mrs. Harry Maloney, division chairladies. The publicity committee comprises: Frances M. Kisco, chairlady, Mrs. Harold E. Lynch, Mrs. May H. Carlson, Miss Catherine Ellison, Miss Flora Neubauer and Miss Mary M. Keating. The mass meeting at St. Augustine’s Hall is open not only to women but to men as well and the Council extends a cordial invitation to the latter to attend the opening session.

6/3/1937:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 1, “C.L. of C. Prize Winners Announced”:  “In the Annual Essay Contest conducted at St. Thomas Seminary, the three prizes awarded by the Catholic Ladies of Columbus were assigned to the following papers:…”
     The winning papers were:  an “analysis of Pius XI s Encyclical on Atheistic Communism”; Catholic interest in “the field of drama”; and “an historic sketch of the Supreme Court and an analysis of the present controversy.”  There was an honorable mention for “a personal appreciation of Owen Francis Dudley” by a Mr.  McMahon.

6/3/1937:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 1, “Holy Father Lauds N. C. W. C. Progress”:

(N. C. W. C. News Service.)
Washington. June 3.—lt was “a deep satisfaction” to His Holiness Pope Plus XI “to read In these valuable documents of the steady and solid progress which is being made by the forces of Catholic Action In tthe United States of America under the zealous and enlightened guidance of the Hierarchy.”
     Thus said His Eminence Eugenio Cardinal Pacelll, Papal Secretary of State, in a letter thanking His Excellency the Most Rev. Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate, to the United States, for having ‘transmitted the minutes of the Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the National Catholic Welfare Conference and the annual reports of its several departments. The Holy Father was “much pleased” to examine these papers. His Eminence states.
     The text of Cardinal Pacelli’s letter follows:
     “I beg to inform Your Excellency that the Holy Father was much pleased to examine the ‘Minutes of the Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the National Catholic Welfare Conference’ and the Annual Reports of its several Departments which you were good enough to transmit to me recently, and he has charged me to convey to you an expression of his thanks for them.
     “It wae a deep satisfaction to His Holiness to read in these valuable documents of the steady and solid progress which is being made by the forces of Catholic Action in the United States of America under the zealous and enlightened guidance of the Hierarchy. The development of the Catholic Press, especially, has given him great coasolation and he prays that continued and increased success may attend the efforts of the Bishops to fashion it into an influentail and effective instrument of Catholic truth and charity. It is, therefore, with particular affection that he sends to the Ordinaries of the United States and to their valiant auxiliaries of the N. C. W. C. his paternal Apostolic Benediction invoking upon them at the same time divine light and love in their labors for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls.”

6/3/1937:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 1, “Nazi Attacks Are Seen As Reprisals”:

(N. C. W. C. News Service.)
     Progress toward a show-down in the German Nazi Government’s onslaught on religion has continued in increasing tempo. Apparently still smarting under the truths contained in the Pope’s Encyclical Letter and also more recent outspoken condemnation of its campaign against religion, the Nazi Government is taking further steps of reprisal in Germany.
     Applause for the declaration of His Eminence George Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago, in which he denounced the persecutory methods of the Nazis, continued to rise from individuals, organizations and the press. The Cardinal’s statement was strongly indorsed by the Catholic Press Association of the United States in a resolution adopted at its recent convention in Rochester.
     The most bitter reprisals reported from Germany were those directed at Catholic publications. Reports told of the seizure by the Gestapo, 
Nazi secret police, of the printing plants of 18 Catholic companies which printed the Pope’s Encyclical.
     The same secret political police descended upon the Essener Kirchenblaetter Company, at Essen, which prints about 200 Catholic publications and ordered that all printing cease until further notice. It was charged that the publications had vilified institutions of the Nazi State.
     Otto Kropp, 29 years old, a former Catholic official of Cologne, has been beheaded for high treason. He was one of a number of defendants tried by the People’s Court in Berlin, accused of having had relations with Communist officials in other countries.
     Karl Krieger, a Catholic Youth leader, was sentenced to serve a term of three years imprisonment.
     Nazi police closed the doors of th Catholic Seminary an Heiligenstadt and earlier similar action was taken at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Duisburg.

6/3/1937:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 1, “German Minister Threatens Church “:

(Special Correspondence, N. C. W. C. News Service.)  
     Amsterdam, June 3.—ln one of the most violent diatribes he evei delivered, Dr. Josef Goebbels, German “Minister of Propaganda,” in a speech at a Berlin mass meeting Friday night, expressed “sharp warning” and threatened that “some persons in very high position would be grilled in court under oath” if attacks from abroad against the Nazi regime continued in connection with the recent so-called immorality trials. The speech was admittedly a reply to Cardinal Mundelein’s recent criticism of the methods adopted at these trials.

     Venomous terms used throughout the speech were conclusive proof that the orator resented bitterly the stand taken by the Chicago prelate. Indulging in the most violent epithets, Goebbels addressed wholesale attacks at the German Catholic clergy, saying “many thousands” were guilty of immorality.
     “The Chicago Cardinal’s attack,” he said, “comes from abroad but those who inspired it are right here and they belong to the very groups so heavily compromised by the trials.”
     Goebbels termed Cardinal Mundelein’s speech as “a bold attempt to whitewash their crimes.” While it was shown, he asserted, that “all the monasteries were corrupted and the children and sick people exposed to serious dangers in the confessionals. where the systematic destruction of the younger generation is being plotted,” had the Church not attempted to make martyrs out of the culprits, the Nazi Party would not have thought of carrying on these trials in public.
     The speaker continued completely distorting the true motives of the German Hierarchy in refuting the unwarranted and wildly exaggerated accusations. Christ, Goebbels concluded, threw the money changers out of the temple, but what punishment, he asked, would he have inflicted upon “these murderers of children.” The Nazi regime, he said, would no longer tolerate such scandals for “in Germany it is the law of the German people, not the law of the Vatican, which is enforced.”
     After this unprecedented utterance of an influential member of the German Government, which amounts to a declaration of war against the Church, intimations of Herr Goebbels that the monasteries might be closed are regarded seriously.
     The threat to use the German Bishops personally as scapegoats because the American Cardinal expressed doubt as to the reliability of the criminal court procedure in Germany and to drag the Bishops into these very courts to expose them to public scorn and ridicule shows clearly that the worst must yet be anticipated.

6/3/1937:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 1, “Editorials Praise Cardinal Mundelein”:

(N. C. W. C. News Service.)
     New York, June 3.—ln an editorial, the New York Times pays tribute to the Catholic Bishops of Germany for their challenge to Hitler’s announced intention to “take away” the children for training and education by the state.
     “That challenge was answered courageously last Sunday,” says the editorial, “by the Catholic Bishops of the Reich through the issuance of an order to all dioceses that on June 5, St. Boniface Day, a nationwide appeal be made to Catholic boys and girls to join the Catholic organizations—an act of defiance that would seem to hasten an open breach between Rome and Berlin.”
     The Times says Germany’s “new religion” seeks “through the utilization of the force and power of the authoritatorian State to wean German children from loyalty to Christianity of their fathers.” “On this issue,” the editorial adds, “neither the Catholic nor the Lutheran Church can compromise.”

7/2/1937: “To a Man Who Wants to Die!”, an article by Fr. Dudley published in The Daily Mirror:  this letter was reprinted in his Last Crescendo novel (1954, posthumously) as part of the plot. The Catholic Missionary Society files reflect concern about possible liability, and permission from the newspaper to use the letter.

9/18/1937: The Tablet, p. 13, “Talking At Random”: 

Poker Impatience Although Father Owen Francis Dudley’s latest book is called A Punch at Everybody, there is in fact a good deal in it about living at peace, and there are in particular ten rules for a happy married life. Pondering these rules and committing them to memory, I have found myself with much perplexity over rule six, which reads : “The wife with a poker may be funny; but don’t try it on in real life.  Although, tongues can be worse than pokers. T he latter settles the matter.  Tongues go on.”  It is the first time what may be called the irrevocable character of fancy poker work has been brought forward as an argument in favour of that drastic weapon.  Father Dudley I see is to go to New Zealand to take part in the centenary of the Catholic Church, which is being celebrated there next February.  His fame has preceded him, and I do not doubt that he will find large concourses to take his messages firmly on the jaw.

11/4/1937:  The La Crosse [Wisconsin] Tribune, p. 2:  In Caledonia, Minnesota, the “Chairmen” for the committees of the Catholic Daughters of America were appointed at St. John’s school.  Committees included:  the Convert league; the Study club; the sesquicentennial anniversary of the constitution; Columbia museum of Dubuque, Iowa; and the question box.  The program that night included a talk on the International Farm Women’s Conference held at Washington, DC.  The meeting was followed by a social hour with 5 tables of bridge.  The “Newman Book Shelf”, sponsored by the Loretto P. T. A at the place library contains 4 books by Fr. Dudley:  Pageant of life, Coming of the Monster, The Shadow o the Earth, and The Masterful Monk.

11/6/1937: Carroll [Iowa] Daily Herald, p. 3:  announces discussion of Pageant of Life by the Paduan Study Club.

12/9/1937:  The Vancouver [British Columbia, Canada] Sun, p. 20:  “World Events At a Glance” included:  “DUBLIN,–England is no longer Christian in belief or morals, declared Rev. Owen Frances Dudley English Roman Catholic author and preacher.”

12/15/1937:  The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pennsylvania, “FOOTLIGHT GUILD WILL HOLD TRY OUTS FOR PLACY ON DEC. 20”, p. 13:  

George Wintenstein, who will direct the Footlight Guild in the production of Rev. Owen Francis Dudley’s “Masterful Monk,” will hold tryouts on Dec. 20, at 8 p.m., at the Catholic Men and Boys’ Club rooms, 414 Wyoming Avenue.  The production will be the first presentation of the play as Rev. Joseph Nallin received copies of the first edition when it came off the press Dec. 1.  The initial dramatization of Father Dudley’s theme should be ready for production about the first week in February.

12/16/1937: Pittston [Pennsylvania] Gazette, p. 3: Try-outs at the Catholic Club in Scranton for “Masterful Monk” play: “It is hoped that only people who have had theatrical experience will apply for parts, as the play will require rather exceptional interpeteation.” Play to be produced in Scranton in early February.

12/23/1937: Catholic Herald: “During the absence abroad of the Rev. Owen Dudley, Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society, all contributions to the work of that Society should be addressed to the Acting Superior at the Mission House, Brondesbury Park, N.W.6. Letters personal to Fr. Dudley will be forwarded to him. Fr. Dudley will leave England on January 6, 1938 for the New Zealand centenary congress, after which he will make a lecturing tour in New Zealand, Australia, Jamaica, and the States. He expects to be away from six to nine months. [As it turned out, he was away for over a year. His travels are detailed fictionally in Michael (1948).]

1938:  “Are Women Human?”:  an address given by Dorothy L. Sayers to a women’s society.   The title was an example of her humorous, hard-hitting style.  It was included with 21 essays in her book, Unpopular Opinions published in 1947.

1938:  “Boys Town” and “Angels With Dirty Faces” released. There were other widely-popular Catholic-themed films with major actors in that era: “The Song of Bernadette” (1943); “Going My Way” (1944); “The Bells of St Mary’s” (1945); “Joan of Arc” (1948); “The Miracle of the Bells” (1948); “The Quiet Man” (1952); “I Confess” (1953); “The Trouble With Angels” (1956). Additionally, there were several major motion pictures featuring Biblical themes. Fr. Dudley looks at Hollywood (with skepticism) in The Coming of the Monster and Michael, but recognized its potential for good.

1938:  Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis published:  the first of his Space Trilogy Series which was completed in 1945 (with That Hideous Strength).

1938:  The Church Unconquerable published (nonfiction, available electronically only).

1938:  CMS problems:  “Such was the parlous state of the CMS in 1938, however, that the bishops passed a vote of no confidence in it `as it is at present’ and appointed a committee to plan for its future” (Hagerty, p. 57).

1/6/1938: Fr. Dudley leaves for a world-wide speaking tour.

1/22/1938:  The Tribune, Scranton, Pennsylvania, “Bishop Hafey Endorses Play”, p. 7:  “The Rt. Rev. William J. Hafey, coadjutor bishop of Scranton Diocese has endorsed the play, `The Masterful Monk,’ which will be presented by the Footlights Guild of Scranton, February 11, in Technical High School, and has informed the Rev. Joseph J. Nallin, sponsor of the production, if possible, he will attend the performance.  The play, an adaption of George H. H. Land and W. J. Cooper of the book by the Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, is being directed by George V. Winterstein, with Dr. Austin J. App, head of the English Department of St. Thomas College, as consultant…”  [This was the first presentation of this play, which was copyrighted in 1937.]

2/10/1938:  The Catholic Transcript [Hartford, Connecticut], p. 7, “Fr. Dudley Coming”: 

London, Feb. 10.—The Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society and noted author, will visit the United States some time after Easter, the Catholic Times, here, states. He will Journey first to New Zealand, where he will give addresses at the Eucharistic Congress, Australia, and Jamaica.

3/1/1938:  The Evening News (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania), p. 17:  “Footlight Guild to Present Play Here”.  “The Footlight Guild of Scranton will present “The Masterful Monk at St. Ann’s Academy Thursday evening, Marti 10 at 8:30 o’clock.  The stage play is an adaptation by George H. H. Land and W. J. Harper of the books by Rev. Owen Francis Dudley.  The book `The Masterful Monk’ was one of three published as a Trilogy, requiring more than twenty editions to meet the public demand.  The other two books of the series are:  `Will Men Be Like Gods?’ and `The Shadow on the Earth.’  The play was staged with wonderful success at Scranton for the first time on February 11, at the Tech High auditorium before a very large audience.  It portrays in a masterful way the beauty of virtue and the hideousness of vice and is a valuable contribution towards restoring the stage and drama to a high moral plane….”

3/2/1938:  The Wilkes-Barre [Pennsylvania] Record, p. 9:  On Thursday, the Floodlights Guild will present its final performance of “The Masterful Monk”.  Proceeds of the play will support the Little Flower Camp and St. Ann’s Academy.  “This play had its world premiere in Scranton on February 11 and it has met with wide approval.  It has the endorsement of Right Rev. Bishop William J. Hafey.”

3/10/1938:  The Wilkes-Barre [Pennsylvania] Record, p. 9:

`The Masterful Monk’ To Be Given Tonight”: “The first performance of the `The Masterful Monk’ will be given tonight at 8:15 pm in the auditorium of St. Ann’s Academy. It is the first play of its kind to be put on by the Footlights Guild of Scranton and it is expected that the novelty of the theme and the skillful performance of the actors directed by George V. Winterstein will attract a large and appreciative audience.

3/11/1938:  The Wilkes-Barre [Pennsylvania] Record, p. 2: “Throng Enjoys Melodrama: Footlights’ Guild Gives Play Defending Christian Morals. Capacity audience last night attended…”

3/11/1938:  The Evening News (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania), p. 20:  “Play at St. Ann’s”.  “The Footlight Guild of Scranton presented the melodrama, `The Masterful Monk’…before a capacity crowd.”

March 11–13, 1938:  Germany incorporates Austria–the Anschluss.

4/22/1938: The Edwardsville [Illinois] Intelligencer, p. 3: “There is some talk about The Masterful Monk. Who is the Masterful Monk? Watch this column for the answer.”
–  4/25/1938: another teaser.
–  4/27/1938: p. 7: same as below.
–  4/29/1938: p. 9: “See the Masterful Monk, a 3 act thrilling drama at St. Boniface Hall, Sunday, May 1, 1938 at 8:00 p.m. Admission 3 cents, children 15 cents.”

6/24/1938: Fr. Dudley departed Sydney, Australia on SS Mariposa.

7/11/1938:  Fr. Dudley arrives in Los Angeles, California:  US Arrival Documentation.

9/25/1938  The Sunday News [Lancaster, Pennsylvania], p. 5):  and ad as described below (9/26/1938), and a rather short article about Fr. Dudley’s coming lecture noting that tickets for the lecture by be bought at Darmstaetter’s store on North Queen St.  

9/26/1938:  Lancaster [Pennsylvania] New Era, p. 6:  An advertisement for the Fr. Dudley lecture discussed below (10/2/1938:  The Sunday News [Lancaster, Pennsylvania], pp. 4-5).  The title of the lecture on October 5th is to be:  “The Ordeal of This Generation.”  On other nights, there is is to be a lecture on Soviet Russia and Spain by different speakers.

9/29/1938:  the Munich agreement signed by Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and France:  the Czechoslovak Republic is forced to cede the Sudetenland to Germany.

Oct. 1938:  Emmanuel Alumnae News, Boston, Massachusetts (p. 1):  “Owen Francis Dudley to Lecture November 27:  Eminent Novelist on First Visit to American will Address Emmanuel Alumnae”:  “Owen Francis Dudley needs no introduction to Emmanuel’s daughters.  As the author of the unforgettable “Masterful Monk,” “Shadow on the Earth,” and “Pageant of Life” he has already won a place in our hearts.  With what rejoicing then do we receive the news that during his initial visit to this country Owen Francis Dudley will address the Alumni and their friends at the college on Sunday afternoon, November 27, at four o’clock…. This is a major event in the life of every person who can possibly take advantage of so unusual an opportunity…”

And on p. 2:

As time goes on and the nations of Europe become more deeply embroiled in situations which spell War it becomes more apparent to the entire thinking world that His Holiness, Pope Pius XI has been spared to us this long in spite of crucial illnesses, to throw his holy influence against the little Caesars who interfere with the things that are God’s.  Writing in the Vatican paper on totalitarian states, when the Czech crisis was at its peak, His Holiness said: “One might sum up this theory (totalitarian) with brutal simplicity: all for the state and nothing for the individual.”
As Americans we can accept these words as bearing out the fundamental principles of our government which safeguards the freedom and liberty of the individual.  As Catholics we feel a deeper thrill at the thought that this freedom and liberty to which we cling so tenaciously was rooted not in the Declaration of Independence, not in the Constitution of the United States, but in the charter of the Catholic Maryland colony founded in 1634 under the governorship of Leonard Calvert.

And also on p. 2, news of one of many Catholic organizations:

    Miss Mary J. McCarthy, ’34, attended the thirteenth Biennial Convention of the International Federation of Catholic Alumnae at Cleveland, Ohio, from August 24 to August 28.  Mary was very deeply impressed by the numerous and varied reports and activities featured at the Convention.  Although Emmanuel has but recently become affiliated with the I. F. C. A., the Emmanuel banner was very prominently displayed in the Convention
    The Convention opened on August 24 with Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.  At the meetings and conferences that followed many distinguished speakers addressed the delegates.  Among them were the Right Reverend Fulton J. Sheen, the Right Reverend Monsignor Michael Ready, General Secretary of the National Catholic Welfare Council, Most Reverend Joseph Schrembs, S.T.D., Bishop of Cleveland, and Right Reverend Monsignor Joseph M. Corrigan, S.T.D, Rector of the Catholic University of America, and Honorary President of the I. F. C. A.
    Reports were given of the work of the four major departments of the I. F. C. A., Education, Literature, Social Service, and Motion Pictures. The report on motion pictures was particularly interesting.  Approximately 2,940 motion pictures were reviewed by the department in two years with only a “negligible” number of complaints on moral grounds.
    The Federation, founded in 1914, has a membership of five hundred and twenty alumnae associations with an enrollment of approximately one hundred thousand graduates. It was founded with the intention of bringing into communication the various Catholic alumnae associations for the purpose of upholding the ideals of Catholic womanhood and of extending Catholic education, Catholic literature, and Catholic social service.

10/1/1938:  The New York Times.  (This is an example of an article that you simply would not see now:  in the New York Times, nor anywhere else.  Fr. Dudley was one of the speakers–near the bottom of the article.).

Clergy and Laity Gather at Hartford for 4-Day Session of National Catechetical Body
Forty Bishops Coming–Biblical Group Will Take Steps on Revision of Scriptures
Special to The New York Times.

HARTFORD, Sept. 30.–Delegates and visitors began arriving today for the opening tomorrow of the fourth National Catechetical Congress of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
     The congress, one of the largest Catholic gatherings in the United States this year and the largest ever held in Connecticut, will attract about 5,000 persons from all parts of this country, Canada, England and Africa.
      One of he features of the four-day congress will be the attendance of thirty-five to forty Archbishops and Bishops.  Thousands of monsignor, priests, brothers and nuns, in addition to laymen, will be present.  Fifty temporary altars have been but fo the visiting clergy to celebrate mass.
      The Catholic Biblical Association of America, a separate national organization which meets annually wit the confraternity, will also meet the first day.
     In closed session it amy take steps toward revising the Catholic catechism.   Does will be set for completing he revision of the Douay Rheims version of the New Testament and for beginning similar work on the Old Testament.

Schedule of the Sessions

     The Rev. Austin Munich, director of the parochial schools in the diocese of Hartford, sated tonight that the program of the congress would include sixty sessions and more than 300 speaks.  Except fo the deliberations of the Biblical Association all meeting will be open to the public.
     Tomorrow morning a “parent-educator” group will meet a the Hotel Bond.  In the evening in the hotel ballroom the Rev. Charles M. Carty will direct a session of “Evidencing the faith.”
     College study groups will meet tomorrow night and on Sunday evening there will be a college conference act which seven univdefrsities will have representatives.
     Study meetings for young people will be held tomorrow afternoon and evening and, especially for high school pupils, on Monday evening.
     On Sunday a pontifical mass will be celebrated in teh cathedral by the Most RFev. Maurice F. McAliffe, Bishop of Harford.  The Rev. John G. Murray, Archbishop of Stg. Paul and formerly Auxillary Bishop of this State, will preach.

Mass Meeting for All

     A mass meeting for the clergy, brothers and laity is also planned for Sunday at Bushnell Memorial.  The Right REv. Mgr. Thomas S. Duggan, editor of the Catholic Transcript, will preside and the speaker will include the Most Rev. John T. McNicholas, Archbishop of Cincinnati, the Right REv. Mgs. Joseph M. Corrigan of Catholic University, and Michael Williams, former editor of the Commonweal.
     At a “youth meeting” on Sunday evening at teh Cathedral Community House auditorium, the Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, English author, will speak.
     The workings of the National Catholic Welfare Conference will be outlined at Bushnell Memorial on Monday morning.
      At a dinner meeting at the Hotel Bond on Monday evening, to which the laity have been invited, John Moody, financier and author, will speak.
     On Tuesday morning there will be a public institutions session, representing work in hospitals, nurses’ homes, institutions fo the deaf and reformatories.

10/2/1938:  The New York Times, “Events Today”: “Catholic Young Women’s Club, Fifty-fourth Street and Lexington Avenue, 4:30 P.M. Address by the Rev. Owen Francis Dudley.”

10/2/1938:  Hartford [Connecticut] Courant, p. 14:  Brown Thomson’s Books advertised that Fr. Dudley would be at the bookshop from 12 to 2 PM the next day (Monday) to autograph copies of his books.  Will Men Be Like Gods? was available for $1.25.  The Shadow on the Earth:  $1.50.  The Pageant of Life and The Coming of the Monster:  $2.00 each.  It also noted that Fr. Dudley would be a speaker at the Fourth National Catechetical Congress of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.

10/2/1938:  The Sunday News [Lancaster, Pennsylvania] , pp. 4-5:  “Catholic Alumnae Sponsors Brilliant Lecture Series:  Opening Event Will Be Address By Rev. Owen Francis Dudley Wednesday Evening; First Patron List Announced”:

     When Rev. Owen Francis Dudley appears at the Catholic High school next Wednesday evening, October 5, under the auspices of the Federation of Catholic Alumnae, Lancaster will be accorded the pleasure of hearing the brilliant English author of “five best sellers.”
     Father Dudley is in this country for two months during which time he will make a coast to coast tour.  Father Dudley is accustomed to talking to thousands and is most popular in London, New Zealand and Australia, where huge amplifiers carry his messages to Catholics as well as non-Catholics.  In his recent trip to the West Indies he lectured daily for two weeks and won the acclaim of everyone who heard him.  As columnist of the London “Daily Mirror” his opinions are popularly noted.  He also holds the unique position in England of unofficial movie censor for the British Isles.  His books have been dramatized and serialized, translated into ten languages and transcribed into Braille…Miss Mary S. Warfel is regent of the Lancaster-York Cycle of the International Federation of Catholic Alumnae, under who’s auspices the lecture series will be given.

10/3/1938:  Hartford [Connecticut] Courant, p. 7:  “Novelist Is Guest Today Of Catholic Lending Library”.  “…He comes to Hartford after six weeks of mission work in Jamaica following two weeks of lecture work among Negro lepers.  Preceding that he spent several months in New Zealand.”  In the article he is cited as saying:  “[H]e believes that although England and Chamberlain suffered great humiliation at the hands of Hitler recently, Chamberlain showed himself a great man because not only England but the whole of European civilization was at stake.”

10/14/1938: The Edgecliff (Xavier University, Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, OH), p. 1, “Ambitious Lectures Planned Here”: “The internationally celebrated British lecturer, the Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, superior general of the Catholic Missionary Society, unofficial movie censor for all England and novelist of note has been asked to speak here…Father Dudley is a columnist for the London Daily Mirror and author of five best sellers… He is acclaimed by non-Catholics as well as Catholics and is a convert.”

10/20/1938: Manitowoc [Wisconsin] Herald-Times, p. 8: An AP story from Milwaukee where Fr. Dudley was interviewed:  “The Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, Catholic missionary-author and columnist for the London (England) Daily Mail, said yesterday he feared a new crisis, probably arising from a Communist source, soon would upset the four-power pact recently negotiated by Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler.  `If Chamberlain and France had not pocketed their pride, it would have meant international slaughter,’ he told interviewers.”  The same information was carried in The Lacrosse [Wisconsin] Tribune, p. 6.

10/30/1938: The New York Times, “Will Speak at Marymount” (Tarrytown, NY): Fr. Dudley (“English novelist and journalist, who is Superior General of the Catholic Missionary Society of England”) to talk on Nov. 10th on “Social Questions and the Church.”

10/30/1938: The Independent Record, Helena, Montana, p. 20:  “Is the Catholic Church the Church of the Ignorant?” which lists Dudley as a brilliant mind in the literary field. This was placed by Cathedral High, and other virtually identical articles, were common at the time:  sometimes being identified as Catholic Information Article #4 from the Catholic Information Society, Wakefield, MI, or other locations.

  • 11/26/1938: The Call-Leader, Elwood, Indiana, p. 3.
  • 3/24/1939:  The Daily Advertiser, Lafayette, Louisiana, p. 5 (although this lists the source as “Catholic Information Committee, Cathedral Parish Sodality, Lafayette, La.”).
  • 7/7/1939: The Tipton [Indiana] Daily Tribune, p. 4.
  • 2/3/1940:  The Decatur [Alabama] Daily, p. 8.
  • 6/29/1940:  Shamokin [Pennsyvania] News-Dispatch, p. 5 (Immaculate Heart Academy, Fountain Springs, Ashland, PA).
  • 6/12/1941: Lenox [Iowa] Time Table, p. 2.
  • 11/28/1941: The Wakefield [Michigan] News, p. 3.
  • 12/3/1941: The Ironwood [Michigan] Times, p. 8.
  • 2/12/1942:  The Tuskegee [Alabama] News, p. 1.
  • 5/24/1946:  The Mobile [Alabama] Journal, p. 6.
  • 6/7/1946:  Iron County Miner (Hurley, Wisconsin)

10/12/1938: The Font, Fontbonne College, St. Louis, MO, p. 1:  College assembly to hear Fr. Dudley speak on Oct. 31st.

11/9/1938: The Independent Record, Helena, Montana, p. 6: The Masterful Monk was one of the several books recognized during Cathedral High’ Book Week Observance.

11/12/1938: The Brooklyn [New York] Eagle, p. 12, announces Holy Name Society series of lectures starting with “Why I Became Catholic”, with Rev. Owen Francis Dudley as speaker. (St. Joan of Arc Church, Jackson Heights.)

11/13/1938:  The Brooklyn [New York] Eagle, p. A 11, announces the same event as the 11/12 article. 3,000 men expected to hear Fr. Dudley’s talk.

11/13/1938:  The Sunday Star [The Evening Star, Washington, DC], “Fr. Dudley to Speak At Trinity College,” p. C-10 [p. 38]:

     The Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, noted English novelist, lecturer and columnist, will lecture at Trinity College Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 o’clock on the subject “Social Questions and the Catholic Church.”
    This lecture is one of many which are to be featured throughout the country on Father Dudley’s firs visit to the United States.
    A champion of the novel as an educator, Fr. Dudley has written five best sellers, among which are:  “The Masterful Monk,” “The Shadow on the Earth,” “Well Men Be Like Gods?” [the last of which was, in reality, non-fiction].  These works have been translated into many languages and into Braille for th blind.

11/16/1938:  The Baltimore [Maryland] Sun, p. 19, reports that Fr. Dudley spoke at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland on “Communism, Capitalism and the Catholic Church.”  “He listed the three chief weaknesses of Communism as:  No private ownership of property, no individual freedom and no religious freedom.  Capitalism, he said, was doing a grave injustice in concentrating most of the factors of production and consumption.”

12/6/1938: The Observer [“Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Rockford”], 11/24/1938, p. 2: “Aurora.–[Fr. Dudley] will give an address at the Madonna high school auditorium on Tuesday evening, Dec. 6. The Scribblers club, a group of young writers, are fortunate in making arrangements for Father Dudley’s appearance here in the city, as his speaking tour is already overcrowded. Since his arrival in America this fall, Father Dudley has received so many requests for appearances that the Lecture League of America, in charge of his program, has had to bring him back three times to the Chicago area. Head of a mission band in England, Father Dudley has come in close contact with the laboring classes all over the manufacturing districts of that country. His power lies in his ability to analyze life and to make his hearers and readers devour, with pleasure, the deductions of his irrefutable logic. In addition to his being in great demand as a lecturer, Father Dudley finds time to write and his novel, The Masterful Monk, is very widely read.”

12/30/1938: Carroll [Iowa] Daily Herald, p. 19: the Angela Academy had The Coming of the Monster added to their library.

1939:  Pius XI dies; pontificate of Pius XII begins (ending in 1958).

1939: Census of England & Wales.  At Mission House,  1A Brondesbury Park, Willesden, Middlesex, England lived the following–all of whom were listed as being “single” (including the two women who were listed with two last names, but they were not listed as widowed or divorced):  Owen F Dudley (Priest Superior Of The Catholic Mission on Socz, born on 5/24/1882); Martin J Dempsey (Priest Of Catholic Missionary Soc, born 12/16/1903); Raymond M O’Flynn (Priest Of Catholic Missionary Soc, born 9/25/1883); William J Randall (Priest Of Catholic Missionary Soc, born 21/31/1891); Mary M Keeffe (Parlourmaid, born 6/9/1917); Anne Morrissey [Anne Barr] (Housekeeper, born 9/24/1907); Sarah O’Connor [Sarah Tobin] (Housemaid, born 6/1/1919).

Jan. 1939: Emmanuel Alumnae News, Boston, Massachusetts (p. 3):  “Fruits of `Martha’s Vineyard'”:

      It was only natural when Fr. Dudley arrived in Boston on Saturday, November 26, to lecture at Emmanuel the following day, he should visit St. Thomas More Book Shop in Church Street, Cambridge.  It was there, on Saturday evening, November 26, and “Martha’s Vineyard,” that your editor and members of the Lecture Committee, bidden by Martha Doherty, who was generous enough to share a thrilling experience with us, spent two delightful hours chattering informally with The Masterful Monk himself.  I know not what emotions were in other bosoms, as we all sat there in a semi-circle, Father Dudley in the middle, facing us.  For myself I can only say that, still a hero-worshipper at heart, I was so intent on Father Dudley’s appearance, Father Dudley’s personality,  and Father Dudley’s charming English accent–a genuine one, mind you–that I was powerless to speak, powerless to take a single note, and powerless to  recall, after was all over, a single thing he had said.  Perhaps that is why he repeatedly referred to us as “undergraduettes.”  With Martha’s help, then, I recall for your delight that:    
     Father Owen Francis Dudley is six feet four, has dark brown eyes, is fifty-four years old but looks only forty.  He has five nieces, all of which are “disgustingly clevah.”  He thinks all priests in this country are very handsome.  There is no Legion of Decency in England because the majority of films in England have been made and censored here.  He met Pat O’Brien and Spencer Tracy in Hollywood and was much impressed.  He saw “Angels with Dirty Faces” being filled and says that “Drums” is the best movie of the year.  A. J. Cronin, the author of “The Citadel” is a very bitter man, has never written anything so fine as “Hatter’s Castle,”  and Christine’s death in “The Citadel” is only weakness of the book.  He talked to Peter Claver, and thinks we Americans ought to be more sympathetic towards the negro.  American women’s clothes amuse him, particularly their hats.  But men’s clothes are atrocious.  He thinks overshoes are very funny articles, but was glad enough to find a pair of size 10 rubbers in the morning of November 27.  He doesn’t like the sign: “No Spitting.  Fine $500.00 or six months in jail,” and has been sorely tempted to break the law to see what would happen.  The Duke of Windsor would never dare to bring his Duchess back to England.  She would be assassinated as soon as she set foot on English soil.  Father has no sympathy for Wally; thinks she could have done the biggest thing in history if she had left Edward and return to America.  The English are very inconsistent: the Anglican church was founded by a divorce; now they refuse to accept the marriage of the King with a divorcee.  He likes the Boston accent; detects an Irish inflection in it.  He says the English are terribly class-conscious, “awful snobs,” and remarked that American college women are not as sophisticated as they would like to appear.  Steam-heated apartments drive him crazy as he is not used to such heat.  The same is true of our trains. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” brought tears to his eyes.  
     With Martha he left this message to the “undergraduettes of Emmanuel”: “All the best to the undergraduettes of Emanuel.  Congratulations on your magnificent college.  I enjoyed my afternoon with you very much, and was very impressed with such bright young things as I met.”  (Signed) Owen F. Dudley.

1/6/1939: The Heights (Boston College newspaper), Volume XIX, Number 13, “Father Owen Francis Dudley In Exclusive `Heights’ Interview Comments on World Events of Special Interest To All College Men; Speaks as Author and Acute Observer of World Affairs” by Joe McKenney.  [So far in this research, we have only found 3 sentences that Fr. Dudley ever uttered concerning Jews (either as individuals or as a group) in all of his writings and interviews.  Alas, 2 of them are negative:  including the one below.  Anti-Semitism will be discussed in detail in an article on this site:  it was an issue during this period of time.  Note that the article itself just played it straight, as if there was nothing unusual about such a comment:  perhaps the below entry of 2/20/1939 regarding the German-American Bund may offer some insight.]

     A fighting plan in the campaign against Communism, a hope that a German civil war will avert a world catastrophe, and a warning of the dangers of a Jewish-controlled press were offered by Father Owen Francis Dudley to American college men whom, contrary to English belief, he found to be neither sophisticated nor hardboiled.
     Father Dudley, famous English convert and author of “The Masterful Monk” series of five bestsellers, commented on these and other topics of current interest in granting an exclusive interview to the HEIGHTS while visiting Boston during the Christmas holidays.


     Reviewing events of especial interest to college men the famous English priest also discussed the coming Anglo-American Concordat and present day English Catholicism, scoffed at Anglicanism in England, announced that he is working on a new book, and found time and occasion to praise Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and American colleges and collegians. He spoke with /he knowledge of a world-famed author and an authority on international relations. 
     While talking he smoked, in true English fashion, a pipe. His smoking seemed to express his varying moods . . . sometimes seeping forth in contentment, as when he discussed his books, again filling the air with voluminous clouds of disgust and anger as he attacked the strife and evil doctrines which infest our modern world.
     He puffed angry clouds as he talked of Communism. He bemoaned the way this insidious doctrine has honeycombed its way into the universities of England and America, that supposedly learned professors are openly teaching it. And he offered a fighting plan whereby Catholic college students can combat their teaching.


     “Make a constructive rather than destructive fight against Communism,” said Father Dudley. “Condemnation and threats avail nothing. Tell your American college men to study the Pope’s Social Program and teach that as their doctrine.”
     Pointing out the benefits of a positive argument the priestly author declared that great antiCommunistic success had been attained in England by Catholic teaching of the Pope’s program. He said that statesmen and legislators could not help but act in the face of united Catholic action.
“These collegiate radicals do not know the true Communist doctrine,” added the priest. “I’ve found this out from the ones who heckle at my lectures. They have not even read Karl Marx or Lenin. And even if they had they could not stand up before anyone with a knowledge of the true Catholic teaching.”
     From Communism Father Dudley turned to the international situation. As a member of the Catholic Council of International Relations the English priest spoke with unexcelled knowledge of world affairs.


     He hopes for peace. He believes that the German People, the German Catholics, will rise in revolt against the totalitarian oppression of their government. This, Father Dudley believes, will prevent the horrors of international war which otherwise seems unavoidable.
     “The Munich Treaty won’t last,” he observed, “it’s only a patch-up. No treaty since the World War has lasted any duration. But this one did serve to avert a terrible catastrophe.”


     In connection with this treaty he praised Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Britain. He, Father Dudley asserted, is the true leader of the English people, while Anthony Eden is but the created hero of a Jewish controlled press.
     “Munich represents all that Chamberlain could do at the time,” the priest explained. “Through it he averted war. Yet a Jewish controlled press holds him up to ridicule before you Americans because he didn’t use force against the dictators and plunge his nation into war.”
     As Father Dudley digressed upon this new topic he drew more rapidly on his pipe and sent billows of smoke into the air, forcefully exclaiming:


     “Americans tell me that they would never submit to a dictator, yet every day they are submitting to the worst dictator in the world, a Jewish-controlled press. It dictates their very thoughts by its news, its lies, and they lap it up like milk.” 
     Echoing the opinions of many Catholic leaders in America, Father Dudley urged united action in breaking the power of this journalistic threat to American independence of thought. He added that while there is such a biased press in Great Britain it is neither as great a menace nor as dangerous as here in the United States.


     Back on the subject of possible war the creator of the Masterful Monk brought up the coming Anglo-American Concordat. He hopes that this alliance, now in process of formation, will contain no provision for the United States aiding Britain in the event of war.
     Basing his trust on the fact that the mere non-combatant nations practicing neutrality the less horrible the conflict, Father Dudley emphasized the point:
     “America must stay out of Europe!”


     Another false concept common in America which Father Dudley found cause to attack is the belief that Nazism and Fascism are identical. While German Socialism is totalitarian the Italian government is not, Father Dudley explained. He credited the Pope with providing against Italian totalitarianism.
     He further explained the RomeBerlin axis as the result of Musolini’s intense hatred of Russia. The Italian premier believes an allied block across Central Europe to be the best defense against Russia and Russian doctrine, the priest explained.
     Recrossing the continent and channel to affairs in his native land Father Dudley discussed the present position of Catholics in England. He described the standing of modern English Catholicism as “very good.” We are respected and very well thought of among the masses,” he said, and added that but for a slight bit of anti-Catholic sentiment among the upperclass and a part of the press there is little bigotry in England today.


     Regarding Anglicanism, the supposed national religion of England, the priest declared that of its 45 million adherents only two million practice their religion. On the other hand, of three million Catholics he safely said that all three million are active in their Faith. 
     In this advance of Catholicism Father Dudley’s books have played no little part.
     As the discussion turned to his writings Father Dudley sat back, crossed his legs and puffed contentedly at his glowing pipe as he hid his justifiable pride amid the smiling modesty which etiquette demands.


     He admitted that he is at present working on a new book. Of the same series? . . . Oh, yes . . . definitely! . . . The Masterful Monk again . . . What’s that? . . . A title? . . . No . . . No, I never christen the baby before it is born.”
The author told of losing his manuscript while en route to Boston. Fortunately, however, after a scuffly search he found his lost treasure. So, if ever he finds time enough from his lectures and his travels, a new and eagerly awaited addition to the “Problems of Human Happiness” series will appear.
     Father Dudley refuted his critics who have said that his books are for Catholics only, and that his characters are “unreal.” He referred to the number of nonCatholics who number themselves among 1 his readers and pointed out that, in one instance, the speech of his character, the “Atheist,” in the book entitled “The Masterful Monk” is really a summation of all the atheistic utterances in England during recent years.


     From his own achievements he turned back to America and more especially to its colleges and its college boys and girls.
     “You know,” he smiled, ”’there is a forced idea in England that American collegians arc sophisticated and ‘hardboiled.’ But I find if not so . . . in fact, the reverse, quite the reverse.”
     He complimented the colleges which, although they haven’t the antiquity of English universities, are, he found, very beautiful. At the time of the interview he had not as yet visited Boston College, the “Oxford of America.” He planned to do so next day.
     Father Dudley then paid tribute to collegiate journalism in America when, quite suddenly, his pipeful burnt out. The interview was ended.


     Noted as a philosopher, theologian, and authority on world affairs Father Owen Francis Dudley has passed his knowledge on through his writings and lectures. Every inch a priest he is blessed with a perfect knowledge of the dividing line between the things which are to be rendered to Caesar and those which belong to God.  
     He is what a typical American would class as “typically English.” He interspersed his remarks with unforgettable bits of English humor, while his speech, quite naturally, was characterized by the warm English accent which Americans outwardly jolly, and secretly envy.
     But if his manner can be confined in description to a single race his fame cannot, for it has spread with his writings and speeches throughout the literate world.


     Born in 1882, the son of an Anglican minister, Father Dudley at first followed in his parent’s footsteps. He was educated at Lichfield Theological College and Durham University and was ordained to the Anglican ministry in 1911. Four years later in 1915 he became a convert to Catholicism and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1917.
     He served as a Catholic chaplain during the World War and was once wounded in action. He is recognized as a lecturer on theology and philosophy and is a member of the Catholic Missionary Society and the Catholic Council of International Relations.
     Known to Americans as a leading contemporary author his books include the “Problems of Human Happiness” series of five novels . . . “Will Men Be Like Gods,” “The Shadow on the Earth,” “The Masterful Monk,” “Pageant of Life,” “The Coming of the Monster,” plus the unchristened baby to come.
     Boston College men, who missed the opportunity of meeting Father Dudley on his visit to Boston, may become acquainted with him through reading these entertaining books.

1/7/1939: The New York Times, , “Topics of Sermons That Will Be Heard in the Churches of the City Tomorrow” under “ROMAN CATHOLIC” is included:

Blessed Sacrament [71st St, E. Of Broadway]–Sermon at 11 A.M., high mass by the Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, Superior General of the Catholic Missionary Society of England and columnist for The London Daily Mirror on “Why I Became a Catholic”… [An article in the 1/9/1939 edition, “AUTHORITY HELD VITAL,” summarized the sermon.]

1/8/1939: The New York Times: Fr. Dudley to give a talk on 1/10 on “Why I became a Catholic” at the Chidwick Auditorium, College of New Rochelle (NY), sponsored by the college’s sodality.

1/14/1939: The New York Times, same as the 1/7/1939 article, except that Fr. Dudley’s sermon topic was: “The confessional–a Stumbling Block to Non-Catholics.”

1/21/1939: The New York Times, same as the 1/7/1939 article, except that Fr. Dudley’s sermon topic was: “What Happens After Death”.

2/1/1939: The Evening Sun, Hanover, Pennsylvania, p. 6: Emmitsburg. Fr. Dudley “gave a lecture to the students and faculty of St. Joseph’s college in the auditorium. He spoke on `The Ordeal of This Generation.’ The lecture was one of the series of lectures and recitals sponsored by the college alumnae chapters.”  This is the last known article about appearances in the United States:  he left for England soon after.

2/20/1939:  An American Nazi rally was held in Madison Square Gardens with some 20,000 attending (click the link to actually see the ralley–and an internet search will turn up lots of pictures and articles).  The rally was sponsored by the German-American Bund (also called Friends Of The New Germany).   According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, “The German American Bund closely cooperated with the`Christian Front’ organized by the antisemitic priest Father Charles Coughlin.”

2/25/1939: The Brooklyn [New York] Daily Eagle, p. 3: “To Open Lent Drama. The Aquinas Players of St. Thomas quints R. C. Church will present “The Masterful Monk” tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the Aquinas Little Theater, 4th Ave. and 8th St., the first in a series of performances to be held each Sunday afternoon during Lent. The play is under the direction of Cass Gilbert of St. Joseph’s college for Women.”
–  2/27/1939: The same event, but with more information at who actors, etc.

3/3/1939:  The Montclair [New Jersey] Times, “Immaculate Conception Latin Pupils Participate in Variety of Programs,” p. 6:  “…A lecture presented a short time ago at Mount Saint Dominic’s Academy Caldwell by the Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, was outlined by Margaret Holmes, ’40.”

3/15/1939, London interview of Fr. Dudley.  [The news feed for Catholic News Service for 3/30/39.]


London, March 13.—One hundred thousand miles on ocean liners, trains and cars.

Addresses to people of every color—whites, yellows, light-browns, dark browns, and blacks.

Life through three winters and two summers.

Tropical heat and ice and snow.

Thess are some of the highlights in a 13-month lecture tour just completed by the Very Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society and author of the “Masterful Monk” series of novels.

Back in London, Father Dudley recalled his travels which brought him to New Zealand, Australia, Jamaica and the United States. New Zealand and Australia he found free from bigotry and intolerance. In the South Sea Islands the Catholic Church is “very much alive,” he said. Jamaica he found very hot and a welter of squalor and social injustices. And Americans “generous, hospitable and very kindly.”

In Hollywood he found the Catholic Church is quite popular in the cinema center, adding that “the great clean-up effected by the Legion of Decency put up the box office receipts at least 30 per cent, perhaps 50 per cent.”

3/26/1939:  The La Crosse [Wisconsin] Tribune, p. 14:  Aquinas high school is presenting the “Masterful Monk” play on March 29 & 30.  A brief biography is given concerning Fr. Dudley:  “[B]orn of Anglican parents in Yorkshire, England, May 24, 1882.  In 1907 he left his works as a Gothic architect to study the Anglican ministers, and was ordained in 1909.  But only five years later he entered the Catholic church.  In 1915 he went to Rome to study for the priesthood.  Shortly after his ordination, he served as chaplain in the British army, and upon returning to England joined the Catholic Mission Society.  Since then he has toured England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  For the past several months he had been visiting in the Unites States.”

3/26/1939:  The South Bend [Indiana] Tribune, p. 31:  “The Masterful Monk” play will be presented by St. Joseph’s Players Marchy 26 & 27 in the St. Joseph’s school auditorium.  The orchestra from Central Catholic High school, South Bend, will play between acts.

3/31/1939:  Great Britain and France ally with Poland.

April 1939: Decision about a new Catholic Missionary Society superior considered in April, but postponed until October–by which time the issue was moot. The Society headquarters in Brondesbury Park, Hamstead, commandeered by the government, air raids restricted public meetings, and priests were recalled to their diocese or volunteered for the military (Hagerty, p. 57-58).

4/18/1939: The Post-Crescent, Appleton, Wisconsin, p. 14: “St. Mary Seniors to Present Plan May 21. Menasha — The senior class of St. Mary High school has selected “the Masterful Monk,” a play taken from the novel by the same name for tis annual class play….The novel was by Owen Dudley. A one-act comedy will precede the class play.

4/22/1939: The Tablet, p. 13:  “TALKING AT RANDOM”:

Literary Fame:  Great is the fame of authorship. When Father Owen Dudley landed at Fiji, in the course of his journey to New Zealand for the centenary of the Catholic Church there, a native woman rushed up to him to greet him, and thrust in his face a black Fijian baby, exclaiming: “And this is Owen Francis Dudley.”  Later children she will be able to name not generically after the much admired author, but individually after particular books, and her family can be enriched with The Monster, and the Masterful Monk. Father Dudley also tells of a Catholic theatrical performance in New Zealand, a symbolical play called Credo, in which the seven deadly sins came on, and when they appeared, so striking were they, that an old nun exclaimed, in a loud voice : “Aren’t they lovely! ” This is as it should be, for if the deadly sins are not attractive, what have they to say for themselves ? D.W.”

5/23/1939: Oshkosh Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI), p. 10: St. Mary’s High School senior class put on a play of The Masterful Monk. Proceeds benefited 2 mothers superiors of the Order of Notre Dame who are observing their golden anniversary of profession at the mother house in Milwaukee. This play was announced in an article in The Post-Crescent, Appleton, WI, 5/6/1939, p. 8.

8/31/1939: Postmark of envelope from Fr. Dudley addressed to Rev. Sister Mary Joseph, S.L., Gallery of Living Catholic Authors, Webster Groves, 19, Missouri, U.S.A.

9/1/1939:  Germany invades Poland:  World War II begins.

1940:  Sir Winston Churchill (Conservative) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until 1945 (and then serving again 1951-1955).

1940:  Cardinal Avery Dulles (1918-2008) converted to Catholicism.

1940:  the “Inklings” begin their weekly meetings.

1940:  The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk (fiction, 333 pages, in print) published.  Fr. Dudley’s 5th novel.  A character study illustrating how evil an ordinary person can be without actually being a criminal, and that even the worst among us can be redeemed. It illustrates how art and music can speak to the human soul, as well as the author’s love of children and interest in psychology.  And it describes a little more of the life of Anselm Thornton before he became the “masterful monk.”  The manuscript and galley proofs (marked up) from the publisher are located at Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Research Center, Gallery of Living Catholic Authors collection, Washington, DC, USA.

2/24/1940:  The Record, Hackensack, New Jersey, p. 4:  “The Rt. Rev. William Griffin, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, was guest speaker last night at the opening of the Catholic press exhibit at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood.  The Catholic literature committee of the Catholic Students Mission Crusade of the School is sponsoring the showing which will be from 3 to 9 P.M. daily through Tuesday.  A large attendance distinguished the initial session…Bishop Griffin praised Miss Mary Cosgrove of Englewood, the student chairman of the showing and also commended the other young people responsible for the event….`The Masterful Monk’ by Owen Francis Dudley, was presented to Richard Lorenz, St. Cecilia High School senior and winner of the poster contest held in conjunction with the exhibit…”

2/29/1940:  The Windsor [Ontario, Canada] Star, p. 25:  The St. Alphonsus Cultural Society will present the play, “The Masterful Monk” in St. Alphonsus Hall on April 1 & 2.  “The play was taken from the novel of the same name by the Rev.Fr. Owen Francis Dudley who ah lectured in Windsor under the auspices of the Assumption College Lecture League.”

4/11/1940: Kossuth County Advance, Algona, Iowa, p. 8: The Pageant of Life was presented to the Algona Library by the local Catholic Daughters. “The fact that they thought it worth presentation is evidence that it is work reading by anyone.” The book was also briefly reviewed in the newspaper.

4/30/1940:  The Evening Review (East Liverpool, Ohio), p. 8: The Catholic Women’s Study club had a round-table discussion on “Catholic Novelists”, and a paper on Fr. Dudley was read.

July 10, 1940–October 31, 1940:  the Battle of Britain (German bombing of London and elsewhere).  Fr. Dudley personally experienced this (see entry of 1/20/41 below).

10/1/1940: KIRKUS REVIEW:  “Volume six of The Masterful Monk series [actually, it was the 6th book in the “Problems of Human Happiness” series, but the 5th Masterful Monk novel]; and this one comes closest to catching the same interest that characterized the most popular of the group. The Masterful Monk. The villain of the book is seen carrying out his vicious plans, with his victims not sure whether he is insane, criminal, a pathological case or diabolical. The unravelling of the mystery involves all of his family and the monk, humanly divine but divinely human, and intent on saving the villain from himself. A book that readers of any faith, who enjoy psychological novels, will like. There’s enough religion for those who want it, but not enough to turn others aside. Catholic market particularly. Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1940, Publisher: Longman, Green”

10/3/1940: Kossuth County Advance, Algona, Iowa, p. 6: A review of The Masterful Monk (which had been presented to the library by the local Catholic Daughters of America).

1/4/1941:  The Tablet, p. 11, a Review of The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk (1940):  “UNCLE RUMPS The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk, By OWEN FRANCIS DUDLEY. Longmans. 6s.:  Anselm . . .
 Anselm Thornton . . . a monk.  And by Heavens, how masterful he had been . . . A mist came before his eyes now as he remembered it all. Why had Gordon Tremayne kept saying that it wasn’t a melodrama?  Of course it was melodrama. Otherwise, why had he bothered to buy a horse-whip, after spending so much time with Allen, practising boxing?  He wondered now, as he idly watched the seals popping in and out of the blue Cornish sea.
Allen . . . He was a good sort, of course. You could tell by his name. “He says idealistic sort of things which rather intrigue me, and wanders about the house studying the pictures.” Anybody could see he was the sort of lad who would soak himself in flowers. Although he was manly too . . .
But Gordon the boot-maker . . . There was a nasty piece of work—’ ‘the incarnation of all that was unlovable, with that ugly streak in him that found a vicious pleasure in inflicting pain.” They had knocked the streak out of him all right. He had even saved Allen from drowning, by the time they’d got to chapter twenty-four . . . that was jolly decent of him.
So all had come out all right in the end, and Cousin Gordon was definitely caught by the spirit of the Grand Picnic.
He would go away and write some more books. He had written many already. Some hateful, some lovable . . . and his last one both most hateful and most lovable.

1/10/1941:  A warm humorous letter from Fr. Dudley to one of his nieces, Marjorie.  It discussed Marjorie’s entrance into British intelligence (the Special Operations Executive); the damage to the Catholic Missionary Society headquarters; that he had been working (as a priest) at a London hospital helping bombing casualties; “that almost the whole stock of the Masterful Monk series…went up in the great blaze.”  The letter indicates close family relationships.  (It was provided by Marjorie’s descendants, and received with gratitude!)

1/16/1941:  The Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] Catholic, p. 3, “Priest-Author Tells of Tragic Conditions In War-Torn London”:

New York, Jan. 10 — Tragic events in bomb-torn London are described in a letter received by friends here from Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, English priest-author.
     Father Dudley tells of weeks spent at a London Hospital administering the Sacraments to Catholic casualties, as they come in, and striving to provide spiritual comfort for non-Catholics.
     “The terrible cases,” her writes, “are those buried beneath their houses. I have before now had to give general absolution over the debris, for it may take hours, perhaps days, before the bodies are brought up. Nights are the worst; it’s not so hideous, somehow, in the day.”
     “The hideousness of these last months beggars description,” Father Dudley writes. “Our area has suffered terribly. The mission house and rectory have been wrecked by high explosives. All around is a haunted scene of death and desolation. We are all alive and uninjured, however–Deo Gratias.””

1/20/1941:  A letter from Fr. Dudley to Rev. Sister Marie, Librarian of Webster College:

     You may remember allowing me the privilege of a visit to your College when I was in America, and also of a lecture to your students at the end of which I spoke about the work of the Catholic Missionary Society in England. It was a very happy occasion for myself.
     You will, I know, be sorry to hear that, not only has our work suffered badly owing the the War, but also that our Mission House in London has been more or less wrecked by high-explosives, and, as well, a considerable stock of my “Masterful Monk” IMG_2361books have perished in the great City blaze.
     In a word, the Devil has done the dirty on us, and our finances are none too good. This is not exactly a begging letter, but to let you know that if your College would consider “passing the hat round” on behalf of the battered Catholic Missionary Society, including its Motor-Chapel, the Fathers would be eternally grateful, even for the smallest help. Friends of the Society I England have been good to us, but alas, as you may guess, with all our shattered Churches and Colleges and Convents, appeals are being launched by so many.
     I hate appealing myself, but the situation more or less compels me to do it–so that the Catholic Missionary Society may not founder, but rise up when all this hideousness is over, and go forward once again on its work.
God reward you and the College for whatever you may be willing to do.

Yours very sincerely in Christ,  Owen F. Dudley, Sup. C.M.S.

     The picture is of Fr. Dudley surveying the damage done to the CMS headquarters in London in October 1940 (during the Battle of Brittian in World War II).  He wrote a fictionalized account in Michael. This picture was well-known at the time, and it was last published in his memory in January 1953 in the Catholic Gazette.
      Regarding the letter, the stationary address of “The Mission House, 1^ Brondesbury Park, N.W.6.” is marked out. Added is: Gatehurst, Gatehill, Northwood. Middx.” According to an envelope from earlier correspondence (postmarked 9/18/1932), Webster College is a “Corporate College of St. Louis University”.

1/31/1941: The Alton [Iowa] Democrat, p. 2: The Tremaynes and The Masterful Monk added to the St. Mary’s Academy [grades 1-12] library.

2/14/1941:  The St. Louis [Missouri] Register (Volume 1, Number 7), “‘Masterful Monk’ To Be Presented,” p. 3:

Jefferson City.—The first presentation of The Masterful Monk, a Lenten play adapted from the story of Owen Francis Dudley, will take place March 2 at St. Francis Xavier’s church in Taos. The Rev. William L. Ebert, pastor of St. Franris Xavier’s, will play the role of “Brother Anselm.”

The young men’s district league No. 2 of the Catholic Union of Missouri ia sponsoring the play, and has made arrangements to present it in the parishes of the Jefferson City deanery in the Lenten season. The schedule is as follows: Tuesday, March 4, Meta; Thursday, March 8, Freehurg; Friday, March 7, Linn; Sunday, March 9, St. Peter’s church, Jefferson City; Tuesday, March 11, Immaculate Conception church, Jefferson City; Friday, March 14, Rich Fountain; Sunday. March 16, Wardsville; Sunday. March 23, Bonnots Mill, and Sunday, March 30, Folk.

3/10/1941: “Northwood 189” (a telephone circuit) was take over by Rev. O.F. Dudley as Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society until 11/6/1947. Source: letter of 5/20/1949 from London Communications Region to Fr. Heenan, Superior, CMS.

3/22/1941:  The Baltimore [Maryland] Sun, p. 11:  “The Cathedral Thespians will present a new drama, “The Masterful Monk,” on the evenings of March 31, April 1 and 2 in teh Cathedra Auditorium, 7 West Mulberry street.”

3/22/1941:  The Windsor [Ontario, Canada] Star, “Mission Is Bombed; Rev. Owen F. Dudley Writes to Rev. J.S. Murphy,” p. 19:  

     The Catholic Missionary Society Mission House in London has been damaged by high explosives, Rev. Owen F. Dudley, superintendent of the society, reveals in a letter to Rev. J. Stanley Murphy, C.S.B., of Assumption College, in an appeal for assistance.  Father Dudley is a well known author.


     You may remember allowing me the privilege, when I as in America, of talking to your good people, and also about the work of the Catholic Missionary Society in England.  It was a very happy occasion for myself. 
     You will, I know, be sorry to hear that not only has our work suffered badly owning to the war, but also that our Mission House in London has been more or less wrecked by high explosives, and, as well, a considerable stock of my “Masterful Monk” books has perished in the great city blaze.  In a word, the Devil has done the dirty on us, and our finances are non too good.


     This is not exactly a begging letter, but to let you know that if you would consider “passing the hat around” on behalf of the battered Catholic Missionary Society, including its motor-chapel, the fathers would be eternally grateful, even for the smallest help.  Friends in England have been good to us, but alas, as you may guess, with all our shattered churches, colleges and convents, appeals are being launched by so many. 
     I hate appealing, myself, but the situation more or less compels me to do it–so that the Catholic Missionary Society may not founder, but rise up when all this hideousness is over, and go forward once again on its work.
     God reward you for whatever you may be willing to do.

3/19/1941: Suburbanite Economist, Chicago, IL, p. 7: listing of “What They’re Reading at the Libraries” listed The Tremaynes and The Masterful Monk as 3rd in popularity at the Sherman Park branch.

3/28/1941: Moberly [Missouri] Monitor-Index, p. 1: “EDWARD KEATING TO SING AT CENTRALIA TONIGHT. CENTRALIA, Mo., Mar. 28.—St. Anne’s Alter Society of the Holy Ghost Catholic Church here will sponsor the play “The Masterful Monk,” to be presented in the city auditorium here tonight. Bestrewn act specialities will include songs by Edward Keeting of Soberly. The Rev. father William L. Elbert is directing the play.”

3/30/1941:  The Baltimore [Maryland] Sun, p. 55:  “The Cathedral Thespians will present a religious melodrama, “The Masterful Monk,” Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in teh Cathedral Auditorium, 7 West Mulberry street.  The play, written twenty-two years ago by Father Owen Francis Dudley, a chaplain with the British forces in France and Italy during the last World War, deals with a situation between the monk and a so-called God-hater.  The cast includes [8 are listed].”  [Actually, Fr. Dudley wrote the novel in 1929:  the play was written–from the novel–by George H. H. Lamb and W. J. Hoocker in 1937.)  This page also had a picture of 3 of the actors.]

4/26/1941:  Delphos [Ohio] Daily Herald, p. 4: The Afternoon Book Club heard a review by one of the members of The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk.

5/2/1941:  The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin), p. 19:  The Catholic Study Club presented 8 books to the public library, including The Masterful Monk by Owen Francis Dudley.

5/4/1941: The [Lincoln] Nebraska State Journal, p. 39: “New books at the city library…Fiction…The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk: a most hateful and lovable.

August 1941:  C.S. Lewis begins the radio talks on Christianity that were later collected as Mere Christianity.

11/12/1941: The Pantagrah, Bloomington, IL, p. 7: The Masterful Monk play will be Mar-Dram club at St. Mary’s auditorium, Nov. 2-26.

12/7/1941:  Japan bombs Pearl Harbor:  the USA enters World War II the next day.

1942:  The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis published.

1942:  Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) wrote the short story “Talboys”–although it was not published until discovered among her papers long after her death.  The story features a house guest, “Miss Quirk”,  whose modern ideas include opposition to corporal punishment for children–and indeed, she opposed any limits or punishment at all.  Sayers often created characters who had absurd ideas:  mostly, they were sincere, and so act upon their ideas and did monstrous things; but if they don’t really believe them themselves, then they were hypocrites and frauds–like Miss Quirk.  After lecturing Lord Peter Wimsey and his wife Harriet endlessly on that which was none of her business, and accusing their son of doing something that he did not, and would not, do, Lord Wimsey had had enough.  Of course, he handled the situation with the maturity and sophistication expected of his station in life:  he conspired with his 6 year old son to put a garden snake in Miss Quirk’s bed.  Assuming, quite reasonably, that the 6 year old was the only one involved, Miss Quirk proceeded to spank the child before Lord Wimsey intervened and explained.  It portrays Peter and Harriet as having 3 children (boys).  In some of the earlier books, Harriet is portrayed as being “bitter” and “hard”, and unreasonable:  which is attributed to the emotional harms that she received from an unfortunate love affair, the murder of her former lover, and her being charged with the crime (although innocent).  In this short story, she is all that is calmness and reason.

Jan. 1942:  Emmanuel Alumnae News, Boston, Massachusetts (p. 1): “An Appeal”:  “A letter from England to the Emmanuel Alumni was recently sent by the Very Reverend Owen Francis Dudley, Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society. The Society has been bombed out in London and now makes his headquarters in the country at Gatehurst, Gatehill, Northwood, Middlesex, England.  The letter states in part:  [the letter is virtually identical with the letter quoted above to Webster College dated 1/20/41].”

The Catholic Gazette, February 1942, Fr. Dudley’s column:  “I asked in our January issue whether this enforced decentralisation of the population in England, owing to the bombing, from city life to country life, might not be the finger of God pointing. I think it may be pointing to what is wrong with the Catholic body in England and perhaps throughout the world. The plague of materialism, paganism, de-supernaturalisation, lasciviousness bred of the city cinema, variety show and theatre, the whole stress on the superficialities, and pleasures and vanities of life–the mark of modern city life–has contaminated with its foul breath the Catholic body and with its inevitable spiritual inertia the Catholic soul. I have known Catholic peasantries fairly well. I have never found them infected in that way. They are in contact with the simple things of God and His creation, the wold of nature.
“There is no Catholic peasantry in England.
“There is a God-given opportunity for one now–and for decontamination.
“There are thousands of Catholics in the country, who for reasons I gave last month, can never return to the cities, and who may think God that they never will.
“A Catholic peasantry might mean the Conversion of England.”

3/4/1942: Cumberland [Maryland] Evening Times, p. 10:  six book reviews were presented by the girls of Catholic Central High to “Literature Group of the Women’s Civic Club” at the Public library–including Pageant of Life.

1943:  The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis published.

February 1943:  The Catholic Gazette:  Fr. Dudley starts the development of his idea of a International Force that would somehow avoid the problems of national forces:  “Our Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, wants to see an International body which has learned its lesson from “the ineffectiveness or imperfections of previous institutions of the kind…some Juridical institution which shall guarantee the loyal and faithful fulfillment of the conditions agreed upon…” He calls the prevailing race for armaments “a slavery”, from which the nations must be delivered.
Assuming the formation of this juridical institution, the formation of an International Police Force, with the only large army in the world, in conjunction with it, is conceivable. This army, representing all nations, would possess the power to quell instantly any nation aggressing another, and to keep the world’s peace.”

5/4/1943:  Children Under Fire published.  Hollywood screen writer Emmet Lavery published accounts of “S.M.C.” (Sister Mary Catherine Anderson, O.P., 1888-1972, see 1937 entry above) concerning operating a Catholic school in Devon, England during World War II.  It is not clear when S.M.C. completed her notes, but the text indicates that it was prior to the USA entering the war.

April 1943:  The Catholic Gazette:  Fr. Dudley’s article:

     It is with profound sorrow that the Fathers of the Catholic Missionary Society heard in the early hours of …March 17, of the death of His Eminence, Cardinal Hinsley…
     I remember the first visit of His Eminence to our London Mission House shortly after his consecration to the Archbishopric of Westminster….It was like a father talking with his sons. He told us of his approbation of and enthusiasm for the work of the Catholic Missionary Society. I remember, too, the immense encouragement he gave us in the work for the conversion of England….
     ….He blessed he Motor Chapel itself… We were touring the Westminister Archdiocese that Summer, and it was a particularly happy Motor Mission with large crowds and attentive listeners. I think the blessing of His Eminence must have had something to do with it.
     A further memory of HIs Eminence at Lourdes, for the first time on the National Pilgrimage, on which I was acting as a humble brancardier…
Since I am writing reminiscences of His Eminence, I should like to mention his many personal kindnesses to myself, especially in the matter of my adventurous tour round about the world. It was with his approval and blessing that I went on this tour. His Eminence went as far as to write out for me in his own hand an introduction to the Hierarchy of America. It was his encourage that stimulated me that year as I travelled about lecturing in New Zealand, Australia, the West Indies and the United States of America, and visiting the Pacific Islands
     There is no need to emphasise the admiration which His Eminence has called forth from both Catholics and non-Catholics during this war…
I must finally add that the work of the Catholic Missionary Society which Almighty God seems to have blessed so abundantly during this war, has been done wit the special commission of His Eminence–the work of the Apostolate of the Prayer Card…
     The Catholic Missionary Society has lost a great personal friend…

August 1943:  The Catholic Gazette:  Fr. Dudley deplores the bombing of Rome by the Allies.

9/8/1943: Death of Fr. Dudley’s mother, Alice Isabella Frost Dudley (born 8/6/1853) at the age of 90.

2/16/1944:  The Call-Leader, Elwood, Indiana, p. 1: “Parish Members To Hold `Shower’ All members of the National Council of Catholic Women of St. Joseph’s church and all ladies of the parish are invited to attend the miscellaneous shower to be given this evening in the Staff room of the Mercy hospital for the Sisters of St. Joseph’s…the St. Anthony Study Club will be in charge of the arrangements. Mrs. Paul Stafford will review the book “The Masterful Monk.”

8/4/1944: Catholic Herald, UK, p. 5: A detailed article about Fr. Dudley’s week’s mission at an unspecified American Army Station at the UK–with more missions there planned.

10/6/1944: The Chronicle-Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, p. 6: The Catholic Study Club had a talk on “Outstanding Catholics of Today” the first one listed is Owen Francis Dudley “outstanding novelist”.

Oct. 1944:  The Catholic Gazette: Fr. Dudley continues his thought based upon his fears resulting from two world wars:  “Conscription is an incentive to war, with its accompanying mad race for armaments. As far back as 1917 Cardinal Gasparri, in a letter to Mr. Lloyd George, authoritatively stated the opinion of Pope Benedict XV, as follows: “There should be an agreement between all civilised nations…to abolish, mutually and simultaneously, obligator military service; and arbitrative court should be set up to decide international disputes, and, as a sanction against any nation which attempted to re-establish conscription, or which refused to submit its international differences to arbitration, or to accept the court’s decision, a general boycott should be established.”

1945:  At the conclusion of World War II, “the original objectives of the [CMS] seemed less urgent,” and Fr. Dudley was considered too old to revitalize the Society in any event –consideration given to letting CMS die (Hagerty, p. 58).

1945:  Clement Attlee (Labour) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until 1941.

1945:  The iron curtain established in Easter Europe.

1945:  the United Nations formed.

5/1/1945: The [Salem] Oregon Statesman, p. 2: “`Hundreds at Book Tea Sunday’ More than 300 attended the silver book tea, closing feature of the 13th biennial meeting of Catholic Daughters of American…The reviews by the pupils of sacred Heart academy were…and David Loveik, `The Masterful Monk’ by Dudley.”

11/1/1945: The Wilkes-Barre [Pennsylvania] Record, p. 10: “Student of St. Ann’s Academy to Present Sketches: Catholic Book Week Program Scheduled for Friday, November 9.”

1946:  Clare Booth Luce (1903-1987) became Catholic under the influence of Bishop Fulton Sheen.

1946:  Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964, American Catholic writer), published her first story.

1946:  The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis published.

1946:  Cinema had become increasingly popular, and this was a record year in both the USA and Britain. “In Britain the highest attendances occurred in 1946, with over 31 million visits to the cinema each week” according the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, UK.

1/3/1946: The Wilkes-Barre [Pennsylvania] Record, p. 13: The Masterful Monk is now available in the St. Joseph’s Church Parish Library, Hudson, which is sponsored by the Blessed Virgin Sodality.

Feb. 1946: The Catholic Gazette:  “There is every sign of a vast attack coming upon the Church. I may be wrong, but it looks uncommonly like it. The hordes of Satan are terribly active. The simple fact that the nations of the earth can gather together and plan the world’s future without one reference to God or His Vicar, is in itself indicative of Satanism. It is this hideous silence about God. We are at war with the powers of darkness…”

Nov. 1946: The Catholic Gazette:  “Mr. Churchill is right in asking that the International Army be immediately established, that Christianity be upheld and defended, and that the denouncing the present persecution of Catholics.  In any case…it will not be those who implement the United Nations’ Charter by establishing an International Army, but those who do not, who will precipitate the crisis.”

1947:  Walker Percy (1916-1990, writer) became Catholic.

1947:  British rule of India ends nearly 90 years after its beginning.

1947:  Unpopular Opinions by Dorothy L. Sayers published.  A collection of 21 essays about social and religious matters.

Jan. 1947: The Catholic Gazette:  Light finally dawns for Fr. Dudley:  “The world has entrusted itself to U.N.O. [United Nations Organization], its future and its hopes, and the U.N.O. can no longer be trusted. At the opening Conference in London it dispensed with God; at Lake Success it dispensed with morality.”

Feb. 1947: The Catholic Gazette:  Fr. Dudley: “No Catholic has the right to be a pessimist, even if the world is going to bits.”

Apr. 1947: Fr. Dudley resigns as head of Catholic Missionary Society.  He was replaced by Fr. John Carmel Heenan (later Cardinal) whose 5 page letter to Fr. Dudley was rather critical (Hagerty, p. 59, and the letter is in the CMS archives).

9/23/1947: St. Louis [Missouri] Globe-Democrat, p. 4, “London Radio Priest Speaks Here Tomorrow”:

Rev. John C. Heenan, London radio priest, who succeeded in getting into Russia last spring to find out the facts for himself, will speak on “The Church in the World of the Future” at 8:15 o’clock tomorrow night at Webster College Auditorium, 470 East Lockwood ave., Webster Groves.

Th epeeist has been on  a lecture tour of the United States but soon will return to England, where he has been named head of the newly-organized Catholic Missionary Society.

It is interesting that Fr. Heenan came to the U.S. so soon after becoming Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society:  which was perhaps re-organized, but was not “newly-organized” (in the sense of “founded”) as the article suggests.  Webster College was the location of the Gallery of Living Catholic Authors (whose archives are now at Georgetown University Library in Washington, D.C.):  Fr. Dudley was one of their featured authors, and his marked up galley proof of The Tremaynes is in their archives.  (Fr. Heenan was a published author as well, although not nearly as popular–at least in the U.S.)

9/24/1947: St. Louis [Missouri] Globe-Democrat, p. 7, “Radio Priest Notes Anti-Russian Feeling”:

     Rev. John C. Heenan, head of the Catholic Missionary Society of Great Britain and London radio commentator, who is on a tour of the United States, told a Globe-Democrat reporter last night he was surprised at the great determination of the American people o stand up to Russia.
     Father Heenan, who visited the Soviet Union in 1936, said he has gained the impression in this country that Americans would prefer, if a war with Russia is inevitable, to have it occur soon rather than later.  He added that most of the well-informed Americans which whom he has talked feel that there is little chance of keeping the peace.
     The British priest said there was no Communism in Russia 11 years ago.  That nation, he related, was a police state, like Nazi Germany.  The standard of living there, Father Heenan continued, was the lowest in Europe.  But he added that Russian youth was fanatically devote to talon, who controlled their education with an iron hand.
     Father Heenan was a guest last night at an informal dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club given by Postmaster Bernard M. Dickmann.  He will speak tonight at Wester College.

Although both Fr. Dudley and Fr. Heenan were strongly anti-communist (as were virtually all Catholics at the time), Fr. Dudley had become increasingly anti-war:  so, this saber-rattling by Fr. Heenan (the new Superior) is a change.

November 1947: Letter from Fr. John C. Heenan, Superior, CMS (The Mission House, 114 West Heath Road, Hampstead, N.W.3; telephone MEAdway 2431) to pastors:

Dear Reverend Father,
     For thirty years Father Owen Francis Dudley has devoted is great gifts to the work of the Catholic Missionary Society. By speech and by writing he has brought a multitude of souls to the Catholic Church. Having guided the Catholic Missionary Society through the difficult years of war Father Dudley has tendered his resignation.
     At the Low Week meeting the Hierarchy appointed me superior of the C.M.S. Their Lordships have promised to release priests from various parts of the country to understand work in the Society. The old Missionary House at Brondesbury is still requisitioned by the government. Having moved into new London headquarters only last week, I feel that I should take this first opportunity of telling my brother clergy what we hope to accomplish. Without your co-operation our work for the conversion of England and Wales cannot succeed.
     In an enclosure I put before you an offer and an invitation. The offer is to send priests from the C.M.S wherever they are wanted. The invitation to the Clergy, both Secular and Regular, is to take an active share in our apostolate.
     The enclosure, which I beg you to read, is not a request for financial aid. Mainly as a result of the recent war the Society is in great need. But I do not want my first approach to be an appeal for subscriptions. I am content to say, quite simply, what are our plans.
 I shall be glad to answer any questions relating to our work and shall be grateful for any suggestions which may aid us to discharge the great task of the conversion of our country.
 Begging your prayers and those of your people for the blessing of God upon all our undertakings…

11/6/1947: “Northwood 189” (a telephone circuit) had been opened by Fr. Dudley as Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society on 3/10/1941–he left on this date. Source: letter of 5/20/1949 from London Communications Region to Fr. Heenan, Superior, CMS (see 11/7/1947 below).

11/7/1947: Fr. Dudley begins living “as a private individual at 15, Frithwood Avenue, Northwood.” Source: letter of 5/20/1949 from London Communications Region to:
Rev. J. Heenan, D.D.,
Superior, Catholic Missionary Society,
114, West Heath Road
Hampstead, N.W.3.
It regarded Northwood 189, Rev. O.F. Dudley: a circuit “was taken over by Father Dudley as Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society on the 10th March, 1941.” There was a clerical error, resulting in an undercharge up to when the circuit ceased on 11/25/1948.

Dec. 1947: Catholic Gazette: New approach by the editor announced (p. 185). The publication is to help others understand the faith, and supplement organizations such as the “Catholic Evidence Guild, the Legion of Mary, the C.Y.M.S., the W.C.W.”

1948:  Christopher Dawson delivers his Gifford Lectures (going into 1949) which became the classic book, Religion and the Rise of Western Culture (published in 1950).

1948:  Michael (fiction, 307 pages):  Fr. Dudley’s 6th novel.  As is typical, this novel has a lot of light, funny banter within a novel addressing very serious subjects.  The book provides the author’s travel impressions (in fictionalized form) from his world tour.  You also get his view of what can be good about the refined English country life–and, as always, what can go terribly wrong with the aristocracy. More seriously, you learn what it was like to live through the Battle of Britain (which Fr. Dudley experienced) and Dunkirk.  The “Masterful Monk” gives a talk entitled “You and Thousands Like You” which became the title of his non-fiction book published in 1949. Here he first lays out his vague, confusing proposal for a International Force with disarmed nations: and this theme recurs in is last two books as well. In all cases, this view does not overwhelm his books, and he is completely correct about the horror of total warfare, but the incoherence of his solution is distracting.

4/12/1948:  Catholic News Service – Newsfeed: “CHOOSE ‘MASTERFUL MONK’ BOOK”:   “MILWAUKEE, April 8.–{NC)–Michael, a Tale of the Masterful Monk, by Owen Francis Dudley, is the current selection of the Catholic Literary Foundation.

4/17/1948:  The Tablet (Brooklyn, New York), p. 20, “Literary Selection”:

Milwaukee, April 14 (NC)–“Michael, a Tale of the Masterful Monk,” by Owen Francis Dudley, is the current selection of the Catholic Literary Foundation.

5/7/1948:  The St. Louis Register (Volume 8, Number 19), “Library Branch Acquires Priest-Workman Volume,” p. 4:

Priest-Workman in Germany, a new book by the Rev. Henri Perrin, SJ., is included among tha new arrivals at the St Louis university branch of the public library this week. Other new titles are The Marshall Plan, by S. S. Alexander: Michael; A Tale of the Masterful Monk, Owen Francis Dudley; I Saw Poland Betrayed, Arthur Bliss Lane; It’s Greek to Me, W. S. Ethridge; and Red Prussian, Leopold Scnwarmsehild.

6/5/1948:  The Tablet (Brooklyn, New York), p. 15: “Michael, by Owen Francis Dudley (Longmans, Green, $3), is a modernistic `MMasterful Monk’ tale with a World War II locale and a whirl at Hollywood.  Hardly up to previous standard, but it will please Dudley Masterful Monk’ tale with a World War II locale and a whirl at Hollywood.  Hardly up to previous standard, but it will please Dudley `fans.'”

7/31/1948:  The North Adams [Massachusetts] Transcript, p. 10: “The Library Column, By the Librarian.  Among several new books recently added to the library collection is:  “Michael. O.F. Dudley. Tale of the Masterful Monk.”

9/11/1948: Carroll [Iowa] Herald Times, p. 2: St. Angela Academy announcements included that Michael had been ordered for their library.

10/22/1948: The Otsego Farmer, Cooperstown, NY, p. 6:  the Cooperstown chapter of the National Council of Catholic Women had a presentation concerning Michael. This same information was provided on 10/26/1948 by The Oneonta [New York] Star on p. 13.

10/26/1948:  The Oneonta [New York] Star, p. 13, “Catholic Group Hears Review”:

Cooperstown–Miss Magdalene Frank, president of the Woman’s Club, was speaker at teh October meeting of the Council of Catholic Women in Woman’s Club rooms Wednesday night.  She discussed Owen Francis Dudley’s book, “Michael.”
     Mrs. Aldophy Rolik gave vocal solos, accompanied by Miss Elizabeth H. Rich.  Miss Adelia Kiley, Miss Frances McIntyre and Mrs. Josephine Kurkowski were hostesses.
     Plans for the future were discussed, including a car pay, the day of which has not yet been determined.

1948-49:  Berlin Airlift.  Berlin was blockage by Soviet forces from June 15, 1948 until May 12, 1949.  During that time, Berlin was supplied by air by the Allies, although life was difficult in Berlin and there were shortages. Last Crescendo was set in this period, with the Masterful Monk and Paul Gray visiting the city in 1950:  the novel painted a sympathetic picture of hardship and poverty among the Germans.

1949:  You and Thousands Like You published (non-fiction, 157 pages, in print).  Fr. Dudley starts out with his concerns about a future World War III, and the need to turn to God, and then gets into the heart of the book: coming to Christ. An interesting approach.

1949:  Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy L. Sayers published.  A series of apologetic essays praising the need for, and the adventure of dogma/doctrine.  (She considered her natural allies to be Anglo-Catholics, Roman Catholics, and Easter Orthodox.)

1949:  The first book, Hell, of Dante’s Divine Comedy translated by Sayers was published.  She believed her translation of Divine Comedy to be her best work.

1/17/1949: The Ludington [Michigan] Daily News, p. 2, St. Simon’s PT-A Hears book review by Mrs. Sheldom:  

       St. Simon’s Parent-Teacher association met Friday afternoon at the school auditorium.  Immediately upon arrival members were served pleasing refreshments from a table covered with an exquisite Italian cut-work cloth. A floral arrangement of white and yellow mums, with sprays of salmon colored gladioli in a Madonna vase, flanked by tapers of blending shades, completed the centerpiece.
     The program which followed serving of refreshments consisted of a delightful book review of “Michael” by Owen Francis Dudley.
     A business session was conducted by Mrs. Edward M. Betz, president, who thanked all committees responsible for the recent father-son communion breakfast.  Mrs. Joseph Albrecht Jr. gave a report on health meetings.
     Mrs. Leonard Rath, chairman of the refreshments committee, was assisted by Masdames Garmen Winey, Ray Gunberg and Russell Shinsky.
     The February meeting will be a box social and dance with dads as guests.

2/22/1949: Kossuth County Advance (Algona, Iowa), p. 1: The Senior Class at St. Cecelia’s Academy is writing some of the most outstanding authors of this era. Listed are: Eddie Doherty, Owen Francis Dudley, Fr. Conroy (Sunday Visitor), and Fr. Lord (Queens Work).

3/5/1949:  The Tablet [Brooklyn, New York], p. 17, “Books on Trial” by John C. Tully:

     …The name of Owen Francis Dudley is more or less synonymous with a writing pattern developed in a series of books under the title of The Masterful Monk.  His latest offering is not only entirely different, but almost overpowering.
     Nearly everyone will agree that the the world has very largely forgotten the purpose of its existence, but Father Dudley goes a lot further.  He says that no government, and no human endeavor, can veer the world from the course that it has taken, and then he asks whether it is “really worth going on with a world where evil predominates and where moral rectitude no longer rules the councils of leaders or controls the conduct of he masses.
     You and Thousands Like You (Longmans, $2.50), the title suggests the answer to the question. 

3/19/1949: The Daily Republic, Mitchell, South Dakota, p. 5, “Research Club Re-elects 1948 Slate of Officers”:

     Members of the Research club re-elected it’s slate of officers Thursday evening at the home of Mrs. Cecil Dow.
     Re-elected were Carla Hinker, president; Myrtle Dickinson, first vice-president; Ruth Culhane, second vice-president; Clare Hickey, secretary; Elsie Boehnen, treasurer.
     Roll call was answered on “Community Needs.”  Some suggestions made were better streets, sidewalk repairs, better housing and larger and more comfortable convalescent homes for the aged.
     Mrs. Clem Mylan gave a report on the life of St. Patrick.  The lesson was in charge of Mrs. B. C. Sweeney, who presented the speaker, Miss Efleen Coyne, who reviewed the book “Michael,” by Owen Francis Dudley.
     Mrs. J. T. Askew will be hostess at the next meeting, April 7.

5/20/1949: letter of from London Communications Region to:
Rev. J. Heenan, D.D.,
Superior, Catholic Missionary Society,
114, West Heath Road
Hampstead, N.W.3.
It regarded Northwood 189, Rev. O.F. Dudley: a circuit “was taken over by Father Dudley as Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society on 3/10/1941 until he began living “as a private individual at 15, Frithwood Avenue, Northwood starting 11/6/1947. There was a clerical error, resulting in an undercharge up to when the circuit ceased on 11/25/1948.

6/27/1949: A reminder from the London Telecommunications Region about money owed for telephone number: Northwood 189 (but see above).

9/26/1949:  St. Louis [Missouri] Globe-Democrat, p. 11, “Noted Preist to Speak”:

     Rev. John C. Heenan, noted English priest who is superior of the Catholic Missionary Society of England, will address the faculty and students of Webster College, Webster Groves, at the school’s first assembly today.
     Father Heenan is familiar wit the European situation through his contacts with many countries in work of the missionary society and his address subject will be “European Prospect.”

9/27/1949:  St. Louis [Missouri] Globe-Democrat, p. 7, “Catholics Urged Not to Slacken Red Fight”:

In addition to the struggle between the democratic nations in Western Europe and the Soviet Union, there is an even hotter struggle going on between the Catholic Church and Communism, Rev. John C. Heenan, noted English priest, said yesterday before an assembly at Webster College, Webster Groves.
     “We must not forget that there are hundreds of priests and nuns in the Balkans who are suffering intense persecution because of their religion,” he said.  “There is danger for Catholics in forgetting the difference between the church struggle with Communism and the opportunist’s struggle.”
     He said that Marshall Tito in Yugoslavia may bee helped by British and American arms but that he is the same Tito who has now in prison the chief pastor of the Yugoslavia people and who has persecuted no less than  those in the Balkans.
     Father Heenan, who is Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society of England, will speak today at Fontbonne College and Thursday at Maryville College.

12/8/1949:  Fr. Dudley becomes Chaplain to to the Carmelite Convent at Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, a few miles outside of London.  He first contacted the Sisters to tell them of his assignment on 9/1/1949, and it took until this time to set up living arrangements. 
     Regarding this period of time, Sr. Mary of St Philip, Carmel, Notting Hill , London provided this information:  Sr. Anne has extracted the relevant section from the Presteigne/Berkhampstead Annals supplemented with some of her own memories and has asked me to send you the following.

Fr. Owen Francis Dudley
Chaplain to the Carmelites in Berkhampstead 1949-1951

     The Carmelite Community of 14 Sisters had been established for some 7 years in the beautiful hilltop property of Woodcock Hill outside Berkhampstead in Hertfordshire: a large country house with extensive fields, a walled garden, and stables and farm buildings; some of which were still retained by the farmer.
     Our chaplain, a diocesan priest who was quite elderly, was resident in a nearby house and cared for by a couple with grown children who gave us daily help.  He died unexpectedly just before Holy Week 1949 & for the following months various priests served as our chaplains; Salvatorians, Jesuits & Dominicans.
     On 1st September Fr. Owen Francis Dudley phoned to say that the Bishop had appointed him our chaplain and he would like to come and make arrangements about somewhere to live.
     Later that month he came and was shown a portion of the stable buildings, which he could have as a house. He seemed satisfied. So did the Bishop and the local surveyor.  An architect was called in and building began by the end of September, as soon as the goats had been provided with stabling in a shed within the enclosure.
     Fr. Dudley came on several occasions to see how his home was progressing. He seemed a little shy of us, but did tell us about some of his war experiences when a community of nuns in Holland helped and sheltered him.
     He came to take up residence, bringing his housekeeper with him (I think her name was Miss Dunning) on 8th December 1949.
     Alas, we were not appreciative of his writings but found him a kindly and reliable chaplain. For community celebrations: jubilees, veilings, & Feasts he would preach a fine sermon.
     In 1950 Fr. Dudley paid for a long section of enclosure wall across our field. Both, the farmer’s livestock and ours were a great trial to him. Somehow our goats broke through the fence and ate his prize roses; and then the heifers, in the byre next to his house, bellowed through the night on occasion, & he threatened to leave.
     It was however a great blow to him when in early 1951, the nuns broke the news that they were planning to move to Wales. He had been ill in February and in April definitely refused to leave his house, “He washed his hands of the Welsh plans.” We accepted his claim to retain his house and tried to arrange a sale that would leave him in peace. Various suggestions were explored, including Fr. Dudley’s offer to buy the whole property and sell off the main house and land.
     Finally in the middle of May 1951, 3 young married couples, architect friends agreed to buy the main property, transforming the big house into three family sized flats and leaving the house and garden Fr. Dudley occupied in his ownership.
     Fr. Dudley continued to offer daily Mass for us. The last Mass was on 23rd July and thereafter he continued to say Mass in his own house. He waved the nuns off on their journey to Presteigne by Livestock Van; the first contingent on 10th July, the second & last on 23rd July. The new owners, the Folkards, the Farms and the Wiltshires kept in touch with Mother Michael. On the 9th December 1952 Jean Folkard phoned to say that Fr. Dudley had died suddenly on the 8th. It was the third anniversary of his coming as our chaplain. Next day Mass was offered for him, in our Carmel.

      There is no evidence that he was ever in Holland during the war:  by all known accounts, he served in France and Italy.  It is not clear where the confusion lies.
     There is humor in goats eating his prize roses–although it doubtlessly not appreciated at the time!  Fr. Dudley’s novels consistently focused on beauty as a reflection of God’s own beauty: nature, art, music (singing and piano), and perhaps even physical human beauty…that earthly beauty can raise our minds to God.  His most recent published novel at that time was Michael: in which the primary beauty stressed was the beauty of gardens.  Indeed, “Michael” was a member of the gentry who even saw gardening as a religious vocation to glorify God.  So, goats eating beautiful roses?  (Recall the parable of the sheep and the goats…)  It’s surprising that he didn’t have the goats exorcised!  Fr. Dudley was so upset about this that not only the nuns remembered it decades later, and his great-niece remembers that he complained about it to the family.

1949:  The Road to Damascus: The Spiritual Pilgrimage of Fifteen Converts to Catholicism edited by John A. O’Brien published. Fr. Dudley’s conversion story was included.

1949:  The Soviet Union exploded their first atomic bomb.

7/19/1949: Letter to members of the Gallery of living Catholic Authors, Inc., Webster Groves 19, Missouri. The Executive Council includes as President: “Rev. Daniel A. Lord, SJ Litt. D.. Editor. The Queen’s Work, St. Louis 8, Mo.” The Director is: “Sister Mary Jospeh, S.L., Ph.D. Fouer and Director of the Gallery of Living Catholic Authors, Webster Grove 19, Mo.”

10/4/1949:  The Danville [Pennsylvania] Morning News, “Feast of Staint Is Observed by Slovak Academy,”, pp. 1-2, includes the information that Delores Chunta will be reviewing “The Masterful Monk by Dudley.”

12/20/1949:  On the “Ecumenical Movement” was an Instruction of the Holy Office addressed to the “ordinaries of places”:

The Catholic Church, although she does not take part in congresses and other conventions called “ecumenical,” yet has never ceased, as is clear from many Pontifical documents, nor will she in future ever cease, to follow with the most intense interest and to promote by earnest prayers to God, all efforts toward the attainment of what is so dear to the Heart of Christ Our Lord, namely, that all who believe in Him “may be made perfect in one.”

For she embraces with truly maternal affection all who return to her as the true Church of Christ; and hence, worthy of all praise and encouragement are all those plans and projects which, with the consent of Ecclesiastical Authority, have been undertaken and are being carried forward, either for the proper Catholic instruction of future converts or for the more thorough training of persons already converted to the faith.

Now in many parts of the world, as a result of various external events and changes of views on the part of people, but especially in consequence of the common prayers of-the faithful through the grace of the Holy Spirit, there has grown constantly in the minds of many persons separated from the Catholic Church the desire for a return to unity on the part of all who believe in the Lord Christ. To the children of the Church this is surely a cause of true and holy joy in the Lord, and at the same time an invitation to help all those who sincerely seek the truth, by earnest prayer to God imploring for them the grace of light and strength.

However, some of the initiatives that have hitherto been taken by various individuals or groups, with the aim of reconciling dissident Christians to the Catholic Church, although inspired by the best of intentions, are not always based on right principles, or if they are, yet they are not free from special dangers, as experience too has already shown. Hence this Supreme Sacred Congregation, which has the responsibility of conserving in its entirety and protecting the deposit of the faith, has seen fit to recall to mind and to prescribe the following:

I—Since the above-mentioned “union” is a matter which pertains primarily to the authority and office of the Church, it should be attended to with special care by the Bishops, whom “the Holy Ghost hath placed to rule the Church of God.”[2] They should, therefore, not only diligently and effectively watch over this entire activity, but also prudently promote and direct it, for the purpose of both helping those who seek the truth and the true Church, and protecting the faithful against the dangers which may easily flow from the activity of this “Movement.”

Hence they must in the first place be fully aware of everything that has been and is being done through this “Movement” in their dioceses. For this purpose they shall designate well-qualified priests who, according to the doctrine and norms prescribed by the Holy See, for example by the Encyclicals “<Satis cognitum>,”[3] “<Mortalium animos>,”[4] and “<Mystici Corporis Christi>,”[5] shall pay close attention to everything which concerns the “Movement” and report thereon to the Bishops in the manner and at the time which they shall prescribe.

They shall watch with special care over publications which may be issued in any form by Catholics on this matter, and shall see that the canons “on the previous censure and prohibition of books” (canons 1384 seq.) are observed. And they shall not fail to do the same with regard to publications of non-Catholics on the same subject, in as far as these are published, or read, or sold by Catholics.

They shall also diligently provide whatever may be of service3 to non-Catholics who desire to know the Catholic faith; they shall designate persons and Offices to which these non-Catholics may go for consultation; and <a fortiori> they shall see to it that those who are already converted to the faith shall easily find means of more exact and deeper instruction in the Catholic faith, and of leading a more positively religious life, especially through appropriate meetings and group assemblies, through Spiritual Exercises and other works of piety.

II—As regards <the manner and method of proceeding in this work>, the Bishops themselves will make regulations as to what is to be done and what is to be avoided, and shall see that these are observed by all. They shall also be on guard lest, on the false pretext that more attention should be paid to the points on which we agree than to those on which we differ, a dangerous indifferentism be encouraged, especially among persons whose training in theology is not deep and whose practice of their faith is not very strong. For care must be taken lest, in the so-called “irenic” spirit of today, through comparative study and the vain desire for a progressively closer mutual approach among the various professions of faith, Catholic doctrine-either in its; dogmas or in the truths which are connected with them-be so conformed or in a way adapted to the doctrines of dissident sects, that the purity of Catholic doctrine be impaired, or its genuine and certain meaning be obscured.

Also they must restrain that dangerous manner of speaking which generates false opinions and fallacious hopes incapable of realization; for example, to the effect that the teachings of the Encyclicals of the Roman Pontiffs on the return of dissidents to the Church, on the constitution of the Church, on the Mystical Body of Christ, should not be given too much importance seeing that they are not all matters of faith, or, what is worse, that in matters of dogma even the Catholic Church has not yet attained the fullness of Christ, but can still be perfected from outside. They shall take particular care and shall firmly insist that, in going over the history of the Reformation and the Reformers the defects of Catholics be not so exaggerated and the faults of the Reformers be so dissimulated, or that things which are rather accidental be not so emphasized, that what is most essential, namely the defection from the Catholic faith, be scarcely any longer seen or felt. Finally, they shall take precautions lest, through an excessive and false external activity, or through imprudence and an excited manner of proceeding, the end in view be rather harmed than served.

Therefore the <whole> and <entire> Catholic doctrine is to be presented and explained: by no means is it permitted to pass over in silence or to veil in ambiguous terms the Catholic truth regarding the nature and way of justification, the constitution of the Church, the primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, and the only true union by the return of the dissidents to the one true Church of Christ. It should be made clear to them that, in returning to the Church, they will lose nothing of that good which by the grace of God has hitherto been implanted in them, but that it will rather be supplemented and completed by their return. However, one should not speak of this in such a way that they will imagine that in returning to the Church they are bringing to it something substantial which it has hitherto lacked. It will be necessary to say these things clearly and openly, first because it is the truth that they themselves are seeking, and moreover because outside the truth no true union can ever be attained.

III—With regard especially to <mixed assemblies and conferences of Catholics with non-Catholics>, which in recent times have begun to be held in many places to promote “union” in the faith, there is need of quite peculiar vigilance and control on the part of Ordinaries. For if on the one hand these meetings afford the desired opportunity to spread among non-Catholics the knowledge of Catholic doctrine, which is generally not sufficiently known to them, yet on the other hand they easily involve no slight danger of indifferentism for Catholics. In cases where there seems to be some hope of good results, the Ordinary shall see that the thing is properly managed, designating for these meetings priests who are as well qualified as possible to explain and defend Catholic doctrine properly and appropriately. The faithful, however, should not attend these meetings unless they have obtained special permission from Ecclesiastical Authority, and this shall be given only to those who are known to be well instructed and strong in their faith. Where there is no apparent hope of good results, or where the affair involves special dangers on other grounds, the faithful are to be prudently kept away from the meetings, and the meetings themselves are soon to be ended or gradually suppressed. As experience teaches that larger meetings of this sort usually bear little fruit and involve greater danger, these should be permitted only after very careful consideration.

To <colloquies between Catholic and non-Catholic theologians>, none should be sent but priests who have shown themselves truly fit for such work by their knowledge of theology and their firm adherence to the principles and norms which the Church has laid down in this matter.

IV—All the aforesaid conferences and meetings, public and non-public, large and small, which are called for the purpose of affording an opportunity for the Catholic and the non-Catholic party for the sake of discussion to treat of matters of faith and morals, each presenting on even terms the doctrine of his own faith, are subject to the prescriptions of the Church which were recalled to mind in the <Monitum, “Cum compertum>,” of this Congregation under date of 5 June, 1948.[6] Hence mixed congresses are not absolutely forbidden; but they are not to be held without the previous permission of the competent Ecclesiastical Authority. The <Monitum>, however, does not apply to catechetical instructions, even when given to many together, nor to conferences in which Catholic doctrine is explained to non-Catholics who are prospective converts: even though the opportunity is afforded for the non-Catholics to explain also the doctrine of their church so that they may understand clearly and thoroughly in what respect it agrees with the Catholic doctrine and in what it differs therefrom.

Neither does the said <Monitum> apply to those mixed meetings of Catholics and non-Catholics in which the discussion does not turn upon faith and morals but upon ways and means of defending the fundamental principles of the natural law or of the Christian religion against the enemies of God who are now leagued together, or where the question is how to restore social order, or other topics of that nature. Even in these meetings, as is evident, Catholics may not approve or concede anything which is in conflict with divine revelation or with the doctrine of the Church even on social questions.

As to <local> conferences and conventions which are within the scope of the <Monitum> as above explained, the Ordinaries of places are given, for three years from the publication of this Instruction,[7] the faculty of granting the required previous permission of the Holy See, on the following conditions:

1. That <communicatio in sacris> be entirely avoided;
2. that the presentations of the matter be duly inspected and directed;
3. that at the close of each year a report be made to this Supreme Sacred Congregation, stating where such meetings were held and what experience was gathered from them.

As regards the <colloquies of theologians> above mentioned, the same faculty for the same length of time is granted to the Ordinary of the place where such colloquies are held, or to the Ordinary delegated for this work by the common consent of the other Ordinaries, under the same conditions as above, but with the further requirement that the report to this Sacred Congregation state also what questions were treated, who were present, and who the speakers were for either side.

As for the <inter-diocesan conferences and congresses, either national or international>, the previous permission of the Holy See, special for each case, is always required; and in the petition asking for it, it must also be stated what are the questions to be treated and who the speakers are to be. And it is not allowed before this permission has been obtained, to begin the external preparation of such meetings or to collaborate with non-Catholics who begin such preparation.

V—Although in all these meetings and conferences any communication whatsoever in worship must be avoided, yet the recitation in common of the Lord’s Prayer or of some prayer approved by the Catholic Church, is not forbidden for opening or closing the said meetings.

VI—Although each Ordinary has the right and duty to conduct, promote, and preside over this work in’ his own diocese, yet the cooperation of several Bishops will be appropriate or even necessary in establishing offices and works to observe, study, and control this work <as a whole>. Accordingly it will rest with the Ordinaries themselves to confer together and consider how a proper uniformity of action and coordination can be obtained.

VII—Religious Superiors are bound to watch and to see to it that their subjects adhere strictly and faithfully to the prescriptions laid down by the Holy See or by the local Ordinaries in this matter.

In order that so noble a work as the “union” of all Christians in one true faith and Church may daily grow into a more conspicuous part of the entire care of souls, and that the whole Catholic people may more earnestly implore this “union” from Almighty God, it will certainly be of assistance that in some appropriate way, for example through Pastoral Letters, the faithful be instructed regarding these questions and projects, the prescriptions of the Church in the matter, and the reasons on which they are based. All, especially priests and religious, should be exhorted and warmly encouraged to be zealous by their prayers and sacrifices to ripen and promote this work, and all should be reminded that nothing more effectively paves the way for the erring to find the truth and to embrace the Church than the faith of Catholics, when it is confirmed by the example of upright living.

Given at Rome, from the Holy Office, 20 Dec., 1949.

1950-53:  Korean War.

1950:  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis published.  This was the first of the Chronicles of Narnia series which was completed in 1956 (The Last Battle).

1950:  Last Crescendo (1954):  In January the Masterful Monk writes Mrs. Gray about Paul Gray and his fiancé (Ann Roy) coming home to visit now that he is drug-free and a practicing Catholic.  (A favorable response came in February.)  A trip to Berlin came later in the year:  where the Berliners were pictured sympathetically in connection with the hardship and poverty that they faced.

4/18/1950: Jefferson City [Missouri] Post-Tribune, p. 10: Final performance of “The Masterful Monk” at the Selinger Center under the direction of Sister M. Roselia, SSND. The first two performances were “witnessed by packed houses.”


     The Rev. Dr. J. C. Heenan, Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society, preaching in Westminster Cathedral last night, said he believed that deep envy of the authority of the Roman Catholic Church lay behind the Anglican Archbishops’ criticism of the proposed dogma of the Assumption. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York had seen fit to declare that the Pope’s act was an affront to Protestants throughout the world, and that the definition of the Assumption was to make the union of Christendom more and more difficult. He was certain that the erroneous views Dr. Fisher and Dr. Garbett expressed were the result of sincerity, but in no sense had they the right to accuse the Pope of fostering disunion, any more than they had the right of alleging that the Church of England was in any sense the Church which was in England before the spiritual revolution, so oddly called the Reformation.
     Dr. Garbett would find in his cathedral, at the entrance to the choir, the proof in stone that, in the view of Catholic England, York was the most famous of the shrines to honour Mary’s Assumption, for there he would see Christ in stone demonstrating the Assumption.
     All agreed that Mary’s soul was in Heaven, and her soul was of vast importance; it was hard, therefore, to see why the assumption of her body should have been the occasion for such a spate of criticism, unless the disappearance of authority was in question. Must it not be a hard and heavy cross for such men as the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, that from Protestant pulpits Christian truths of practical and deep importance were denied and derided?
     From one Protestant pulpit mercy murder was advocated. Another would deny that Jesus was truly the Son of God; another that miracles were possible; another prelate would say that only Soviet Russia preached the gospel of Christianity to the poor.
     Where in the pages of holy scripture was it possible to find the warrant for the royal supremacy? Was it not Parliament which founded the Church of England? Parliament to-day had the last word on the doctrine of the Church of England. That Church could not even have a prayer-book unless Parliament agreed, and how many members of Parliament were directly inspired by God to guide the Church of England? 

1951:  Sir Winston Churchill (Conservative) becomes Prime Minister of Britain again–serving this time until 1955.

2/12/1951:  The Times of London, “ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF LEEDS,” p. 4:  

     The Pope has appointed the Very Rev. Dr. John.Carmel Heenan to be Bishop of Leeds, in succession to Mgr. Henry John Poskitt, who died a year ago.
     Dr. Heenan was born at Ilford in 1905 and was educated at Ushaw College, near Durham, and the English College in Rome. Ordained in 1930, he was appointed parish priest at Manor Park in 1937, and in 1947 became Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society.

3/24/1951: Carroll [Iowa] Times Herald, p. 4: The Mount Carmel [High School] Echoes, published by students (and posted in the news paper) included a brief review of The Masterful Monk.

7/23/1951:  Fr. Dudley said his last mass for the Carmelite Convent at Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.  The Sisters moved to Wales, and he did not follow (probably due, at least in part, to poor health).

6/30/1952: Letter from Mirror Features allowing the use of Fr. Dudley’s The Daily Mirror column of 7/2/1937 “To a man who wants to die!”–for Last Crescendo (published posthumously in 1954). [This letter is kept in the Catholic Missionary Society Archive with the original article, and the handwritten “Author’s note” attached.]

10/3/1952: The St. Louis [Missouri] Register (diocesan newspaper), “‘My Daily Prayer’ Recommended By Convert Makers,” p. 2:  

The prayer leaflet “My Daily Prayer” has been recommended by the Convert Makers of America for distribution in hospitals to both Catholics and non-Catholics.  These prayers were devised some years ago by the Rt. Rev. Monsignor R. J. Markham of Cincinnati, and have been widely distributed.

The famous convert-author, Owen Francis Dudley, distributed millions of them in England during the war.  The prayers include an act of perfect contrition and, if said sincerely, could provide Baptism of desire for those dying non-Catholics who might otherwise not be impelled to try to get close to God.  

The pamphlets may be obtained in any quantity from the CMOA, Pontiac, Mich.  They cost one cent each, or 125 for $l.


I BELIEVE in one God. I believe that God rewards the good, and punishes the wicked.

I BELIEVE that in God there are three Divine Persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

I BELIEVE that God the Son became Man, without ceasing to be God. I believe that He is My Lord and My Savior, the Redeemer of the human race; that He died on the Cross for the salvation of all men, and that He died also for me.

I BELIEVE, on God’s authority, everything that He has taught and revealed.

O MY GOD, give me strong faith. O my God, help me to believe with lively faith.

O MY GOD, who art all-good and all-merciful, I sincerely hope to be saved. Help me to do all that is necessary for my salvation.

I HAVE committed many sins in my life, but now I turn away from them, and hate them. I am truly sorry for all of them, because I have offended Thee, my God, who art all-good, all-perfect, all-holy, all-merciful, and kind, and who died on the Cross for me.

I LOVE Thee, O my God, with all my heart. Please forgive me for having offended Thee. I PROMISE, O God, that with Thy help I will never offend Thee again.



     The REV. G. P. DWYER. Superior of the Roman Catholic Missionary Society, replied last night to a sermon by Dr. Edwin Morris, Bishop of Monmouth, in Westminster Abbey last Sunday, in which he said that it was not true that the Church of England was Protestant or that its ancient churches and cathedrals “once belonged to the Roman Catholics.”
     Dr. Morris said that the Coronation oath which the Queen will take in June “to maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant reformed religion established by law,” was a State document.  It did not follow that members of the Church of England ought to accept the phrase as an accurate description of their own faith.
     Father Dwyer was speaking in St. James’s Church, Spanish Place. W., on the occasion of the reception into the church of the skull of the Roman Catholic martyr, Blessed Cuthbert Mayne. He said that Dr. Morris claimed that “only the Church of Engand itself can authoritatively define its own character.” This claim was abandoned in the oath taken by the first Anglican bishops,” which admitted the supremacy of the State even in spiritual things.”


     “When you change the worship, the teaching, the ruling authority of a Church, it is juggling with words to pretend that there has been no essential change,” Father Dwyer continued.  “The original Protestants were so called–not as Bishop Morris says because they protested against the doctrinal errors of Rome–but because those German princes protested against granting toleration to Catholics in their States. In that sense, thank God, the Anglican Church to-day is certainly not Protestant.”
     FATHER JOSEPH CHRISTIE. preaching at Farm Street Church, W.. also referred to Dr. Morris’s sermon.  He said that the Bishop was confusing legal and spiritual continuity.  “It is a contradiction for the Church of England, owing her legal continuity to Parliament, to resent the description of her made by Parliament. It is not true that she alone can define her own character.
     “The mark of Catholicism is communion with the see of Rome, and when that goes doctrine eventually loses its power to resist error.  The case of the Anglican Church is classic. What it officially teaches is still dependent on the will of Parliament and the influence of that will is to ensure that the Anglican Church will always represent prevalent political thought.” 

12/4/1952:  The Times of London, “CHURCH AND STATE; [Anglican] BISHOP’S REPLY TO CRITICS,” p. 2:

     Dr. Edwin Morris, Bishop of Monmouth, has issued a statement in reply to the Rev. G. P. Dwyer, Superior of the Roman Catholic Missionary Society, and other critics of his sermon in Westmunster Abbey on November 16.  The Bishop then declared that the Coronation oath which the Queen would take in June “to maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant reformed religion established by law” was a State document. It did not follow that members of the Church of England ought to accept the phrase as an accurate description of their own faith.
     In his statement Dr. Morris said: “Except in the few acres of the Vatican State, where it has temporal sovereignty, the Roman Church is itself everywbere subject to the conditions imposed by the State, as its con- cordats with Mussolini and Hitler, and recent events in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia have grimly shown. If by some horrible catastrophe every State became Communist, even the election of the Pope would doubtless become impossible. Yet the Roman Church, however much it may accept irksome conditions imposed by the State, quite rightly never surrenders its claim to spiritual autonomy. Neither does the Church of England.
     “Some of my critics, misled by headlines, assume that I said that the Church of England is not Protestant and that I implied that the Archbishop of Canterbury in administering, and our beloved Queen in taking, the Coronation oath, would be guilty of insincerity. I most indignantly repudiate any such disloyal and offensive suggestion. What I said was that the word `Protestant’ as applied to the Church of England is inaccurate and `mis- leading,’ and that the phrase ‘the Protestant reformed religion established by law in the United Kingdom,’ should not be regarded as definitive of the character of the Church of England…
     “While ‘the intention with which the word `Protestant’ is used in the Coronation oath is good, it is almost impossible to separate its use in the oath from the sense in which the word is commonly understood, a sense which obscures the claim of the Church of England to be the Catholic Church in this land.”

12/8/52: Fr. Dudley died. Survived by (Ancestry.com):  Dorothy Christine Dudley (1889-1978), his unmarried sister; Edmund Dudley (1885-1960), the only sibling who married and had children; Fr. Eustace Dudley, his brother, who was a Jesuit priest in England, who lived until 1956.  His burial place was in Hertfordshire, England.

12/11/1952:  Obituary from The Times of London, “THE REV. 0. F. DUDLEY”, p. 8: 

     The Rev. Owen Francis Dudley, who died on Monday at the age of 70, was remarkably popular as a preacher, lecturer, and writer of novels in the many countries he visited.
     Born in 1882, he was educated at Monmouth Grammar School and Lichfield Theological College. He took Holy Orders in the Church of England in 1911, ministered for some time in the East End of London, and was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1915. From 1917 until the end of the 1914-18 war he was a chaplain on the French and Italian fronts.  In 1919 he joined the Catholic Missionary Society of which he became Rector in 1933. He was appointed as chaplain to the Carmelite Convent, Berkhamsted, in 1949.
     Fr. Dudley was known for the directness of his approach to immediate problems and for the vividness of his statements. His platform manner always had a touch of the dramatic, and a similar quality was also observable in the books, containing his addresses on matters of topical interest and in his novels. Apart from his literary work and his speeches, Fr. Dudley devoted himself with extraordinary energy to visits, organized by the Catholic Missionary Society, to remote areas in England.

12/13/1952:  Obituary from The Tablet, p. 17:

     FR. OWEN DUDLEY We record with regret the death of Fr. Owen Francis Dudley, which took place suddenly on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. He was in his seventieth year. He was a convert to the Faith, being reconciled in 1915 after four years in the Anglican ministry. His priestly life was spent almost entirely in the Catholic Missionary Society, of which he was Superior from 1933 to 1947. Dr. G. P. Dwyer, the present Superior, writes :
     “Fr. Dudley’s great gift was a mastery of the style of popular journalism, which he used with great effect in the service of the Faith. His first novels, Will Men Be Like Gods?, The Shadow on the Earth, and The Masterful Monk, were written as popular presentations of the Catholic teaching on humanitarianism, the problem of evil and the moral law. They had an immense success, being translated into a score of languages and transcribed in Braille. He was never afraid of the criticism that his approach was ‘sensational.’ Since popular taste was formed by the popular press, he was prepared to give the public sound doctrine in the style to which it was accustomed. His platform and pulpit manner as a missionary was formed in the same mould, deliberately chosen and highly effective. For nearly thirty years he preached not only indoors but in market places and at street corners from the C.M.S. traveling chapel. His gift for the trenchant phrase made his apologetic sound sometimes harsher than it was. But hundreds owe their conversion to his words and to the unwearying kindness and understanding which he showed in personal contacts.”

12/22/1952:  Catholic News Service – Newsfeed.  NCWC NEWS SERVICE (Foreign)

LONDON, Dec. 18 (NC)—Father Owen Francis Dudley, one of the best known Cathollc novelists and preachers In the English-speaking world, died here (Dec. 8) at the age of 70. For 30 years up to his retirement In 1947, he had held the limelight as lecturer, mlssloner and as one of the most outspoken and most quoted of Catholic publicists.
     Father Dudley’s best-seller, “The Masterful Monk,” ran into hundreds of thousands of copies. Other works Included “The Coming of the Monster,” “Will Men be like Gods?” and “The Shadow on the Earth.”
     On his last visit to the United States, on his way home from a successful tour of Australia, he was elected an honorary members of the International Mark Twain Society in appreciation of his last novel, ’’You and Thousands like You.”
     Father Dudley covered over 100,000 miles in 1938~39 lecturing in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
     A converted Anglican clergyman. Father Dudley retired five years ago as superior of the Catholic Missionary Society, a group of priests who spend their lives wandering through the more Isolated and less Catholic areas of England and Wales preaching, and administering the Sacraments. Because of his great gifts he travelled much further than most, and many hundreds owed their conversion directly to him.
     Father Dudley was a dramatic preacher capable of holding audiences not only In churhces and public halls but also in marketplaces and other open-air sites. His writings, many of which were translated Into a score of languages and transcribed In Braille, were also in a direct, clear and simple modern style.
     Father Dudley became a Catholic after four years as a Church of England minister, studied for the priesthood in Rome and was ordained there In 1917. He enlisted as a British Army chaplain during World War I and was wounded. He Joined the Catholic Missionary Society in 1919. Since 1949 he had been chaplain to the Carmelite Convent I at Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, a few miles outside London.
     A brother Is a Jesuit, Father Eustace Dudley, S.J., of Manchester.

12/27/1952:  Obituary from The Tablet (according to hand notation, which one is not stated):

London, Dec. 22 (NC)–Father Owen Francis Dudley, one of the best known Catholic novelists and preachers in the English-speaking world, died here (Dec. 8)…[much of the same info as below]…
     Father Dudley covered over 100,000 miles in 1938-39 lecturing in Australia, New Zealand and the United States….
     Father Dudley was a dramatic preacher capable of holding audiences not only in churches and public halls but also in market-places and other open air sites. His writings, many of which were translated into a score of languages and transcribed in Braille, were also in a direct, clear and simple modern style…
     A brother is a Jesuit, Father Eustace Dudley, S.J., of Manchester.

Jan. 1953:  The Catholic Gazette, p. 2, “Owen Francis Dudley R.I.P.:  The Manful Missioner” by John Galvin, D.D.:

He was quenched in full just as his last article appeared. Other obituaries have yielded to the identification of him with the Masterful Monk. This one more discerningly remembers the child who never grew up and the simple servant of the multitude.
     On the day of Friday, December 12, 1952, and a tiny cemetery high above Burkhamsted, and without pump or circumstance, Fr. Owen Francis Dudley was laid to earth. The simplicity of his sepulchre was indeed most fitting. For, although to the masses he was the “Masterful Monk” in person, a tall, erect, strong-voiced orator, ever conceiving bigger and bolder schemes, ever probing into “humanity in the raw…hungry, restless, seeking…”, yet, to those who knew him and lived with him, the author of Will Men be like Gods?  Shadow on the Earth and The Coming of the Monster was a man of extreme simplicity. He never outgrew his childhood. He never lost his dreams of a spiritual wonderland. And he was mercifully free from the weakness of some “adult” Catholics, I mean, cynicism, pessimism, cold calculation, and a caution born of fear.
     He was twenty-five years of age, when as an Anglican minister he received the gift of the faith, and all of his life’s work seemed pivoted on that first (and enduring) impression that it made on him. To him, the faith was not simply “the pearl of great price”, to be worn quietly, almost secretly, next to the skin. It was a tall and towering Mount Sinai which thunders his claims for authority through the heavens, and floodlit the entire earth. Certainly there was nothing of the gens lucifuga [People shunning the light:  cf. Newman’s early impressions of Catholics in the “Second Spring”.  (Ed.)] about Owen Francis. He thought every Catholic should be a spot-lit personality, because the faith itself was Light overwhelming. As he wrote himself, his journey to Damascus brought into the city “hath no need of the sun, nor the moon to shine in it: for the glory of God hath enlightened it.”
     As so he could not understand that kind of “black-market Catholicism” that is only brought out from under the counter after repeated requests. The place of the Faith was right in the middle of the shop window, and the near the shop to Piccadilly, where millions of eyes would be bound to see it, the better. During all his years, from his ordination in 1917 till his death a few days ago he spent all of his energies trying to put the Faith there and keep it there. And only God knows the number of English men and women who got their first introduction to the Faith from Fr. Owen Dudley.
     I think it is right to say that Fr. Dudley was not either a penetrating or a finished thinker. His thought, like his words, often ran into asterisks. He was not a deep, nor even fully trained theologian. He had an ordinary mind, stung into restless activity by a keen imagination, a fantastic courage, and enthusiasm that nobody could damp. All these gifts he was from one end – for his life was singularly one-pointed – namely the Conversion of England. Straight after the 1914 war, in which he served as Chaplain to the Gunners, he joined the Catholic Missionary Society, and worked in it without respite for thirty years. He became perhaps the most popular lecturer in England. He was constantly re-invited to Ireland and Scotland. And he electrified audiences in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.A. in a laborious thriteen-month lecture tour in the thirties.
     In 1933 he succeeded Dr. Herbert Vaughn as Superior of the C.M.S. Within the Mission House he was always courteous, and most considerate with anyone sick. He was methodical, having almost invariable honorarium.
     He took his normal missionary work with utmost seriousness. He wrote down every word, coma and full stop in all of his addresses. His novels were in a way only a byproduct of his normal work – they were written mostly in trains and in the early hours of the morning when his other tasks were done.
     He found it difficult to relax. He had no small talk – even his asides sounded like marginal notes to a lecture. One sometimes felt he never had an idle thought, though he had many “fans”, he rarely made a merely social call. In fact the only really relax with children, whom he loved deeply. He was extraordinarily kind to them.
     Like other men great and good, he had his trials, and disappointments. And they were not small. He did not complain about them, although he was intensely puzzled. It was of course much easier for others to see that these were the final shapings of a holy and earnest soul under the fingers of God. God finally recalled him with merciful suddenness on the feast of the immaculate conception – the feast of the Mother to whom Fr. Dudley had invoked every day of his priestly life, and in whose honour and dignity he proclaimed from a thousand pulpits throughout the land.

1/8/1953:  Obituary (from Catholic Messenger, according to hand notation):

LONDON — (NC) — Fr. Owen Frances Dudley, one of the best known Catholic novelists and preachers in the English-speaking world, died here at the age of 70. For 30 years up to his retirement in 1947, he had held the limelight as lecturer, missioner and as one of the most outspoken and most quoted of Catholic publicists.
   Fr. Dudley’s best seller, “the Masterful Monk,” ran into hundreds of thousands of copies. Other works included…
     On his last visit to the United States, on his way home from a successful tour of Australia, he was elected an honorary member of the International Mark Twain Society in appreciation of his last novel, “You and Thousands like You.” [Actually, this was not a novel.]…
     …Since 1949 he has been the chaplain to the Carmelite Convent at Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, a few miles outside of London.

2/18/1953: The Daily Inter Lake, Kalispell, Montana, p. 7: “WHITEFISH —The monthly meeting of St. Charles Alter Society took place…The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk by Dudley” was one of the 3 books given to the “circulating library.”

3/2/1953:  The Times of London, “`WELCOME’ TO MARSHAL TITO’S VISIT; DR. GARBETT CRITICIZED,” p. 5:

     Dr. G. P. Dwyer, superior of the Catholic Missionary Society, speaking at Barnsley yesterday, said that Marshal Tito’s attitude to the Roman Catholic Church had been excused by Dr. Garbett on the grounds that during the occupation there had been severe persecution of the Greek Orthodox Church by Roman Catholics, while a policy of forcible conversions which had involved the murder and suffering of many of the Orthodox clergy and laity had been adopted in Croatia.  Dr. Garbett was suggesting that the Roman Catholic Church was responsible for the persecution and that was false. The persecution and forcible conversion of the Orthodox Church during the occupation was the work of Pavelich and his puppet government of Ustachi.  It was a policy of racial persecution, an attempt to force the Orthodox Serbs to declare themselves Croats.  That policy had been repeatedly denounced by Archbishop Stepinac and the whole body of Roman Catholic bishops.
     Marshal Tito’s visit to England might simply be an affair of State.  Necessity made strange bedfellows but it was grotesque that Dr. Garbett, a minister of the Christian religion should offer not merely silence but a cordial welcome to a man whose avowed intention it was to declare Christ an impostor and the worship of God an antiquated superstition. 

4/14/1953:  The Times of London, “WILLS AND BEQUESTS,” p. 8:  “…The REV. OWEN FRANCiS DUDLEY, of Wood cock Hill, Berkhamsted, late rector of the Catholic Missionary Society, left £7,587 (duty paid £225). He left his property to the Catholic Missionary Society…”   [Records of the CMS show that the executorship of his estate was handled by Charles Russell & Co., 37, Norfolk Street, Strand, W.C.2.]

10/8/1953: Letter from T. Michael Longman regarding Last Crescendo (1954): “[A]s a further precaution agains libel we wrote to the War Office to see…whether there might have been any officers at the military headquarters in Berlin between 1945 and 1950 who were doing the kind of jobs performed in the book by Colonel Walker and Major Saunders and bore the same names… [T]hey had in fact been able to discover that there was…an officer bearing the name of Sunders who was doing somewhat similar work to that described in the book… We have..decided to alter both names in the book and I am proposing to substitute `Phillips’ for ‘Saunders’ and “Ashton’ for ‘Walker.’

11/15/1953: review of Last Crescendo (published 1954) in the Catholic Times (by “J.M.):

     I first met Fr. Owen Dudley about twenty years ago. He was a handsome man, full of charm, energetic and full of enthusiasm.
     He was then missioning with the C.M.S., of which the late Dr. Herbert Vaughan was Superior. Fr. Dudley succeeded him soon after.
     Fr. Dudley was a convert, a fine preacher and a novelist with a strange abrupt style. He was not a man of great intellectual attainments, but he had a genius for making the very most of what he did know. He could get his message down on paper, and he could get it across.
     I thought the last novel published before he died, Michael, fell short of his own standard. But he left behind a manuscript which once more was in the Masterful Monk class. He had got something to say, and he got it over.
The plot had a tenuous connection with real life. The letter was based on a real incident. On it Fr, Dudley built his plot, and with its aide he got out the warning which is so very apt today.
     “We refer to the present world crisis as a clash of ideologies; the essential clash is of those who kneel and don’t kneel to their Creator. The essential clash is of heaven and hell.”
     That is what Fr. Dudley’s monk tells the audience in the Last Crescendo.  And how apt to the moment these words: “Science has invented the means by which civilization can be completely destroyed. It confesses to its impotence to invent any technical protection.”  That is he case of the hydrogen bomb in a nutshell.
     Yes, the Last Crescendo is Fr. Dudley’s up-to-the-minute novel. His fans will be glad of this last memento of a great priest-writer. True, his style is not to everybody’s taste. It was individual, and the individuality survives while the author has gone to his eternal reward.

1954:  Last Crescendo (published posthumously, fiction, 311 pages, out of print), Fr. Dudley’s 7th and last novel. A good read, and his second darkest novel (after Pageant of Life) dealing with drug addiction, Red (Communist) hate, the plight of the poor (in England and in devastated Berlin after World War II). It also deals with toxic (self-righteous) Catholicism as well as upward mobility. A major theme is the spiritual dimension of the beauty of music.

1954:  Catholic Joseph Breen, who had been in charge of enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code, stepped down.  For a variety of reasons, Hollywood self-censorship gradually faded after that.

3/8/1954:  NCWC News Service (Domestic) [Catholic News Service – Newsfeeds], “PRIEST’S LAST WORK SELECTED BY BOOK CLUB,” p. 9:

MILWAUKEE, March 8 (NC)—”Last Crescendo”, last novel written by the British author. Father Owen Francis Dudley, before his death in 1952, is the April selection of the Catholic Literary Foundation.  Subtitled “Ihe Story of Paul Gray,” the book marks the final fictional appearance of the “Masterful Monk,” the famous character created by Father Dudley.  The book Illustrates the disastrous results of modern man’s denial of God and the impossibility of compromise between atheistic Communism and Christianity.

3/12/1954:  The Catholic Advance [Wichita, Kansas, USA], “Ad Campaign to Interest English Coverts Started,”, p. 7:

 London. – A newspaper campaign to interest prospective converts was launched by the Catholic Missionary Society of England.  The society was encouraged by the success attained by the Knights of Columbus in the U.S. whose ads have resulted in 1,296,000 inquiries and 117, 282 enrollments for instruction by mail.
     The first advertisement appeared in some 3,000,000  copies of papers in London and nine other areas.   An earnest invitation to non-Catholics to investigate the Church, the ad gives the name and address of a new Catholic Inquiry Center, established specifically to handle the results of the ads.
     Father Michael O’Connor, a young priest lent to the Catholic Missionary Society by the Lancaster Diocese, promoted the idea, with the approval of the societies superior, Father George Dwyer.  “We must find a way into people’s homes,” Father O’Connor explained.
     Inquirers who answer the ads will be set, free of charge, a series of 21 noncontroversial leaflets on Catholic doctrine.  If their interest in the Church continues, steps will be taken to provide them with full instructions.
     The project is financed by contributions from persons all over England who support the Catholic Missionary Society.  If sufficient funds are available and the first six ads are successful, the Church will advertise in mass circulation Sunday editions.
     Placed under the patronage of Our Lady of Compassion, the program hopes to reach “millions of non-Catholics of goodwill suffering from religious and spiritual hunger.”  
[NCWC Radio and Wire]

5/25/1954:  a bill concerning Fr. Dudley’s headstone from: “Berkhamsted, Urban District Council, Civic Centre, Berhamsted”.

6/3/1954: The Daily Mail, Hagerstown, Maryland, p. 13: The Washington County Free Library now has Last Crescendo. The same fact is reported on 6/11/1954 by The Morning Herald, Hagerstown, MD.

6/5/1954:  The Charlotte [North Carolina] News, “Paul Finds Fath Can Do Wonders,” p. 12:  a detailed review of:  “Last Crescendo by Owen Francis Dudley.  Longmans.  311 pp. $3.75.”

7/22/1954:  The Times of London, Obituary; “CANON J. ARENDZEN; PRIEST AND SCHOLAR,” p. 8:

     The Very Rev. Canon John Arendzen,. D.D., Ph.D., ,who died in London yesterday at the age of 81, was a distinguished biblical scholar and the author of numerous books and monographs on apologetics and devotional subjects. He was the Spiritual Director of St. Edmund’s Cllege, Ware.
     The elder son of the Dutch etcher P. J. Arendzen, John Arendzen was born in Amsterdam on January 6, 1873.  Educated at schools in Englazid, he studied for the priesthood at Oscott College, Birmingham, and was ordained in 1895. He was sent for further studies to Bonn, where he received a doctorate for his thesis on aspects of Semitic philosophy; to Munich, where he graduated in Theology; and to Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he took his degree after completing research on Syriac texts.
     Although a man of great erudition with a wide range of subjects at his command Dr. Arendzen had the gift of understanding the limitations of the less scholarly. As a preacher and as the author of popular works on apologetics he expressed even abstruse points with great clarity, and simplicity. This made his work invaluable both to the Catholic Missionary Society, a group of priests devoted to the opening of new Mass centres in England and Wales and to general missionary activities, of which he was a foundation member; and to the Catholic Evidence Guild, to which he devoted much time as a lecturer, in addition to speaking frequently from the platform of the guild in Hyde Park. Meanwhile, he was on the teaching staff at St. Edmund’s, Ware.  It was by no means unusual for him to cycle for more than 60 miles in a day in order to take classes at Ware, while carrying on his normal work as a member of the Catholic Missionary Society.  His appointment as Spiritual Director of St. Edmund’s College in 1937 brought his many intellectual qualities into full play, while offering seminary students the benefits of his interior life as a priest. 

11/19/1954: The Call-Leader, Elwood, IN, p. 3: same announcement as below on 11/25 regarding the NCCW meeting.

11/25/1954: Anderson [Indiana] Daily Bulletin, p. 35: Elwood, IN news included a book review of Last Crescendo by a woman at the November meeting of the NCCW at St. Joseph’s Church.

1955:  Sir Anthony Eden (Conservative) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until 1957.

1955:  The autobiography of Daniel A. Lord, SJ written (published in 1956) after receiving diagnosis of terminal cancer. In his first chapter, he speaks of his extensive correspondence: “almost my main `apostolate’” which was carefully preserved and cataloged by Marian Prendergast from 1926 on.  Presumably there would be letters to/from Fr. Dudley there.

6/18/1955:  The Tablet [Brooklyn, New York], p. 2, “British Convert Campaign Gets 20,000th Inquiry”:

London, June 13 (NC)–The Catholic Inquiry Center, set up in Britain 16 months ago to seek conversions through advertising in the secular press, has reported that it had received its 20,000th application for further information.
     The center, supported in its costly campaign by private Catholic donations, is now supplying a free course of preliminary instructions to over 11,600 non-Catholics.  Its offices at the Catholic Missionary Society headquarters in London handle 6,500 letters a week.

9/7/1955: Letter from A.P. Watt & Son to Fr. G.P. Dwyer, The Mission House, 114, Wast Heath Road, London, N.W.3.:

Fr. Dudley gave Fr. G. Crigns permission to make Portuguese transitions of all of Fr. Dudley’s novels plus Will Men Be Like Gods?–and then publish them in Brazil “for the extremely low fee of £10 for each book for an edition of 3,000 copies. These are, of course, quite ridiculous terms, as we should normally expect to receive at least £10 per 1,000 copies, but Father Dudley wished to help Father Crijns. These terms were arranged in July 1951, and since then we have heard nothing from Father Crigns until he writes to me this morning, saying that he considers the terms to high and suggests…an outright sum of £30 for all of the books.” This was not approved.

10/3/1955: The Times Record, Troy, NY, USA, p. 16: The Catholc Loan Library, 37 1st Street, has received new books including Last Crescendo.

11/11/1955:  Catholic Fireside (via Longmans Green to the Catholic Missionary Society):

The Masterful Monk Again

     The novels of the late Fr. Owen Francis Dudley commanded a wide public in the twenties and thirties.  He wrote with power and imagination and his Masterful Monk was a virile figure, not to everyone’s liking, bug certainly a popular seller.
     Pageant of Life is a powerful and  dramatic story i this series, and its re-issue by Longmans in a new cheap edition at 7/6 will be welcomed by old admirers and should win new friends among the younger generation.

11/14/1955: The Times of London, “BEQUESTS TO ROMAN CATHOLIC CHARITIES,” p. 10:  [An illustration of the type of bequests a Catholic might make during this period of time in England.]  

MR. BERMAN CAMERON NORMAN, Knight of Malta, of Park Square West, N.W., formerly British Minister to Persia, left £218,185 (net value, £214,301); duty paid, £124,621. He left £9,000 to his trustees as to £3,000 to pay the income to the Roman Catholic priest in charge of the Cambridge parish, £3,000 to the Oxford and Cambridge Education Board to be applied exclusively for the University of Cambridge, and £3,000 to Cambridge University Catholic Association; £5,000 to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster towards the construction or maintenance of churches or schools, or the maintenance of parishes in England, or for or towards the completion of Westminster Cathedral; £500 for distribution among poor Roman Catholic priests, more especially those in the diocese of Northampton, to provide Masses; £500 each to the hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth, the Catholic Truth Society, St. Andrews Hospi- tal, Dollis Hill, the Beda Association, St. Vincent’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Pinner, the Converts Aid Society, St. Joseph’s Hospice for the Dying. Hackney, Campion House, Osterley, St. Edmunds House. Cambridge, and the British Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; and £100 each to the Aged Poor Society, the Apostolate of the Sea, the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, the Catholic Prisoners’ Aid Society, the Catholic Stage Guild, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Crusade of Rescue, the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom, the Catholic Missionary Society, St. Hugh’s Society, the Southwark Catholic Rescue Society, the Catholic Settlement, Bermondsey, the Catholic Union of Great Britain, and the Providence Row Night Refuge, Crispin Street. 

11/19/1955:  Irish Press (via Longmans Green to the Catholic Missionary Society):

Books in Brief

Admirers of the novels of Owen Francis Dudley will welcome an attractive reprint of his novel, “The Pageant of Life” (Longman’s:  7/6).  After “The Masterful Monk” it is probably the most notable of his books.

11/24/1955:  Cork Examiner (via Longmans Green to the Catholic Missionary Society):


Pageant of Life.  By Owen Francis Dudley (Longmans, Green and Co.)  Price 7/6.

     Owen Dudley wrote a number of books on the problems of human happiness, and “Pageant of Life” is the fourth in the series.  It was first published in 1932, and since then eleven impressions have been made.  That says quite a lot for the book.
     Don’t run away from this novel, because you think it is “holy.”  It is not holy in the accepted sense of that word.  Rather it is an assessment of moral fibers.  You will not run away from it unless you are afraid–afraid of the Challenge of the Cross.
     The author writes fluently and forcefully, and his characters are sturdy.  Four in particular will make a strong impression on the reader–charming June, erratic Bernard, forth-right Thornton, and Cyril , the man whose faith and courage enabled him  to undergo the awful ordeal described in the closing pages of the book.
     This cheap edition of Owen Dudley’s best novel should not be missed.  It is  a very human drama.

December 1955:  Duckett’s Register (via Longmans Green to the Catholic Missionary Society):

Pageant of Life.  Owen Facnis Dudley.  Story of a young Englishman whose life is shadowed and his conversation prevented by a strange psychological disturbance in his youth.  Suitable for all.  Reprent.  5-ins. by 7 1/2-ins.  343 pp.  Longmans . . 7s. 6d.

1956:  C.S. Lewis married Joy Davidman Gresham who dies July 13, 1960.

1/13/1956:  The Herald, Jasper, Indiana, “Madeleva [Literary] Club Elects Officers,” p. 3:  “…The next meeting of the club will be held on February 9….Mrs. Claude Gramelspacher will review, `The Shadow on the Earth’ by Owen Francis Dudley.”


     The Bishop of Manchester, Dr. Greer, writing in his diocesan leaflet, compares the “similar claims” of Roman Catholicism and Communism.
     “The Roman Church to-day still makes an absolute claim…The Church judges, but cannot be judged; it speaks and can never be wrong.  This false doctrine we reject and always shall reject.  It has led and still leads to intolerance, cruelty, and wrong.
     “The only political system which now makes similar claims is Communism. These two systems, which seem poles apart, are one in this, that they both claim for a human group–in one case the party and in the other the Church–an obedience which is due to God and to God alone.”
     Father George Dwyer, Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society, referred to the bishop’s article at a service at Salford last night. “At a time when not only Catholics but many other Christians are suffering torture, imprisonment, and death in resistance to atheistic Communism, Catholics consider that barren polemics of this kind are out of place,” he said.  “It is regrettable that in the face of a persecution unparalleled since the early days of Christianity an Anglican Bishop can find no comment worth making but to lump together martyrs and persecutors, and abandons any claim of the Church of Christ to speak with the authority of God.”

11/6/1956:  The Times of London, “ROMAN CATHOLIC CHANGES,” p. 12:  “The REV. T. Holland, of the Catholic Missionary Society, to be private secretary to the Apostolic’ Delegate to Great Britain…”

1957:  Harold Macmillan (Conservative) becomes Prime Minister of Britain–serving until 1963.


     The Apostolic Delegation to Great Britain announced yesterday that the Pope has transferred Dr. J. C. Heenan, Bishop of Leeds, to the Archdiocesan See of Liverpool in succession to Dr. William Godfrey, now Archbishop of Westminster. 
     The Archbishop-elect, who was born at Ilford, Essex, in 1905, studied for the priesthood at Ushaw College, Durham, and the English College, Rome.  He was ordained in 1930 and consecrated as Bishop of Leeds in 1951.
     As a parish priest at Manor Park, Essex, Dr. Heenan developed the whole life of the parish, while finding time to accept many preaching engagements. to write frequently in the Press, and to publish several books, of which his memoir of Cardinal Hinsley was outstanding.  He became well known also as a broadcaster, particularly during the Second World War.
     After the war he became Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society, organizing tours of the countryside with a mobile chapel and becoming widely known as a lecturer and debater. One of his first actions as Bishop of Leeds was to announce that Friday would be an open day at Bishop’s House, when anyone might come to see him without appointment.
     In a statement yesterday the Archbishop-elect expressed his gratitude to non- Catholic and Jewish neighbours for their kindness and “for so constantly inviting me to share their social interests,” and added I that during six years in Yorkshire he could recall “no unpleasant words or incidents between Catholics. and those of other faiths.”

8/5/1957:  The Times of London, “NEW ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF LEEDS,” p. 8:  

     The Very Rev. Dr. George P. Dwyer, Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society, has been appointed Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds in succession to Mgr. John Heenan, now Archbishop of Liverpool. The succession is a double one, for the bishop- elect was appointed by the Hierarchy of England and Wales in 1951 to be Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society in succession to Mgr. Heenan when the latter was appointed to the See of Leeds.
     Dr. Dwyer, who is 48. was born in Manchester and was educated at St. Bede’s College, Manchester, and at the English College in Rome.  He was ordained in 1932. He took his doctorate in theology and his baccalaureate in canon law at the Gregorian University. Rome. He is also a graduate of Cbrist’s College. Cambridge.
     After teacbing at St. Bede’s College, Manchester, for 10 years, Dr. Dwyer joined the Catholic Missionary Society in 1947, on the appointment of Mgr. Heenan as superior, and was vice-rector and editor of the Catholic Gazette until he became superior. Since then he has supervised the addition of three new wings to the buildings ot the society’s headquarters in Hampstead, London, and has lately completed plans for a fourth extension.”

9/28/1957:  The Times of London, “ECCLESIASTICAL NEWS; ROMAN CATHOLIC CHANGES,” p 8:  “…The REV. J. ETHERINGTON, of the Catholic Missionary Society. to St. Aidan’s. East Acton, as administrator…” 

11/5/1957:  The Times of London, “ECCLESIASTICAL NEWS; ROMAN CATHOLIC CHANGES,” p. 12:  “The VERY REV. F. RIPLEY has been appointed Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society by the Hierarchy of England and Wales in succession to MGR. G. DWYER, now Bishop of Leeds.

12/19/1957:  The Times of London, “Obituary; Miss Dorothy L. Sayers; Christian Apologist and Novelist,” p. 12:

     Miss Dorothy L. Sayers died at her home at Witham, Essex, on Tuesday night at the age of 64.
     Sudden death would have had no terrors for her. She combined an adventurous curiosity about life with a religious faith based on natural piety, common sense, and hard reading.  She made a name in several diverse fields of creative work.  But the diversity of her success was founded on an inner unity of character.  When she came down from Somerville with a First in Modern Languages she tried her hand at advertising.  The directness and the grasp of facts that are needed by a copywriter stood her in good stead as a newcomer to the crowded ranks of authors of detective fiction.  During the 1920s and 1930s. she established herself as one of the few who could give a new look to that hard-ridden kind of novel.
      Her recipe was deftly to mix a plot that kept readers guessing with inside information, told without tears, about some fascinating subject–campanology, the backrooms of an advertising agency, life behind the discreet windows of a West End club.  Lord Peter Wimsey came alive as a good companion to the few detectives into whom an engaging individuality has been breathed.  
     This was not done by chance; she had made a close, critical study af the craft.  Lecturing, once, on Aristotle’s Poetics she remarked that he was obviously hankering after a good detective novel because he had laid it down that the writer’s business was to lead the reader up the garden, to make the murderer’s villainy implicit in his character from the start, and to remember that the denouement is the most difficult part of the story.
     But it is some 20 years since Miss Sayers wrote a detective story, and, shortly before her death, she said: “There will be no, more Peter Wimseys.” The detective writtr had been oubted by the Christian apologist.  Miss Sayers approached her task of making religion real for the widest public with a zeal that sometimes shocked the conventionally orthodox (with whose protests she was well able to deal) and always held the ears of listeners and the eyes of the reading public. The Man Born to be King became a B.B.C. best-seller, attracting large audiences Christmas after Christmas.


     She carried what she regarded as the central purpose of her life on to the stage and into books.  Dogma had no terrors for her.  She did not believe in putting water into the pure spirit of her Church.  Dante, with his colloquial idiom and unselfconscious piety, naturally attracted her.  The translations she published of his Inferno and Purgatorio caught the directness of the original but failed, as Binyon did not, to catch the poetry.  But her prose comments have done more than those of any other recent English author to quicken interest in Dante.
     Dorothy Leigh Sayers was bom in 1893, the daughter of the Rev. Henry Sayers and Helen Mary Leigh.  She was in print before she was 21 with Op I, a book of verse, and followed it in 1919 by another, Catholic Tales.  It was a medium in which she could be skilful, flexible, and effective, and readers of The Times Literary Supplenment will, no doubt, remember her strong poem, The English War, which appeared in its issue of September 7, 1940. Lord Peter made his first appearance in 1923 in Whose Body?  There followed Clouds of Witness (1926), Unnatural Death (1927), The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928) and The Documents in the Case (1930).
     In 1930 Miss Sayers in addition to producing her Strong Poison, yet another detective book, made an interesting departure.  Out of the fragments of its Anglo-Norman version she had constructed her Tristan in Brittany, in the form of a modem English story and produced it, partly in verse and partly in prose.
     Have His Carcase (1932) introduced a companion for Lord Peter in the shape of Harnet Vane, a writer of detective stories. In Hangman’s Holiday (1933) a book of short stories, she created another amateur detective, Mr. Montague Egg, who was a simpler reasoner than Lord Peter, but almost as acute.  In The Nine Tailors, though of the same genre, her theme was built round a noble church in Fenland, and possessed a majesty which disclosed powers the authoress had scarcely exerted until then.  Gaudy Night (1935) took Lord Peter and Harriet Vane into the serene and serious life of a women’s college at Oxford, and psychological problems deeper than those which belong to the detective convention arose.


     In 1936 her Busman’s Holiday, a play which presented Lord Peter married-Miss Sayers called it “a love story with detective interruptions”–was staged at the Comedy Theatre.  She had a collaborator in M. St. Clair Byrne, and between them they provided Lord Peter’s public with an excellent entertainment.  The Zeal of Thy House (1937), which was written for the Canterbury Festival and played there and in London, was set in the twelfth century and was a sincere and illuminating study of the purification of an artist, a kind of architectural Gerontius purged by heavenly fire of his last earthly infirmity.  The Devil to Pay (1939) was also written for the Canter- bury Festival.  It set the legend of Dr. Faustus. one of the great stories of the world, at the kind of angle most likely to commend it to the modern stage. Later it was played at His Majesty’s Theatre.  By sheer alertness of invention and the power to fit her ideas into a dramatic narrative she accomplished an extremely difficult task with credit.  Love All (1940) was an agreeable and amusing comedy. 
     In 1940 Miss Sayers published a calmly philosophic essay on the war, which she named Begin Here.  Then, in 1941, she followed it with her The Mind of the Maker, in which she analysed the metaphor of God as Creator and tested it in the light of creative activity as she knew it.
     Unpopiular Opinions, a miscellaneous collection of essays, came out in 1946, Creed or Chaos, another series of essays, pungent and well reasoned, in 1947, and The Lost Tools of Learning in the following year.
     She began her translations of Dante for the Penguin Series with the Inferno which came out in November, 1949; Purgatorio followed in May. 1955.
     She found the third volume Paradiso the hardest and in August, 1956, her translation had reached Canto VII.  Her commentary was one of the most valuable parts of her books.  After she had finished her second volume, she slipped in, as a kind of relaxation, a translation of Chanson de Roland, published this year.
     She was an honorary D.Litt. of Durham University. She married in 1926 Captain Atherton Fleming. He died in 1950.  

The existence of her son did not become public knowledge until after her death–as so was not known for her obituary.

6/20/1959:  The Tablet [Brooklyn, New York], p. 25, “Unmarried In Any Case”:

BUXTON, England (NC) –Mission House, a new building in northwest London which serves as he residence of priests of the Catholic Missionary Society and houses London’s Catholic Inquiry Center, excites curiosity, according to one of its priests.
     Father Michael O’Connor, director of the Inquiry Center, told the meeting of the Catholic Young Men’s Society here he had been buttonholed about it by a passer-by.
     “Is that a home for unmarried mothers?” the man wanted to know.  Father O’Connor replied:  “No, it’s a home for unmarried Fathers.”

10/8/1959:  The Times of London, “LATEST WILLS; BEQUESTS FOR ROMAN CATHOLIC ACTIVITIES,” p. 14:   “The Rev. STUART CECIL SIMPSON, of Down Street, W., left £42,124 gross, £41,798 net (duty paid £1 1,433).  He left £2,000 to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster for the purposes of his diocese; £250 each to the parish priests of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Boston, and St. Charles Roman Catholic Church, Ogle Street, W., for their parishes: £200 each to the Westminster Ecclesiastical Education Fund, the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, the Catholic Missionary Society, the Converts’ Aid Society, and the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom: and £100 to the Pontifical Beda College of Rome…”

3/16/1960:  The Times of London, “Roman Catholic Changes,”, p. 14:  “…The Very Rev. F. J. RIPLEY has resigned his position as Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society because of ill-health and is succeeded by the REV. T. K. O’BRIEN…”

9/9/1963:  The Times of London, “DR. HEENAN FOR WESTMINSTER; ENTHRONEMENT ON SEPT. 24,” p. 6:

FROM A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.  The appointment of Dr. John Carmel Heenan, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool, as the eighth Archbishop of Westminster was announced on Saturday by the Apostolic Delegation to Great Britain.
     He succeeds Cardinal Godfrey, who died in January this year, and who also was the new archbishop’s predecessor in the Metropolitan See of Liverpool from 1953 until 1956.
     The appoirtament will ensure the presence at the second session of the Vatican Council of the Westminster archbishop, who is both Metropolitan of the Westminster Province and permanent chairman of the Hierarchy of England and Wales.
     Dr. Heenan indicated at a public confirmation of handicapped children at the Roman Catholic cathedral in Liverpool yesterday that he will be enthroned in Westminster on September 24 by senior Archbishop Grimshaw of Birmingham.
     He told a press conference at Archbishop’s House at Liverpool on Saturday: ” I shall do my best to serve the whole community in this country.  In both the religious and the social sense I shall strive to promote the cause of unity. ” Part of my work in Westminster will be to continue the cooperation that is already existing and which is getting so much greater and closer between non-Catholics of every denomination and ourselves.”
     Although all the Archbishops of Westminster have been elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals, it does not follow that Dr. Heenan will receive the Red Hat at the first consistory for the purpose to be held by Pope Paul VI.


     The new archbishop, whose appointment was widely expected, is probably the best- known public figure in the Hierarchy. Born at Ilford, Essex, in 1905, he was educated at St. Ignatius College, Stamford Hil, London, and at Ushaw College, before being sent to the English College, Rome.  On his return he hold pastoral posts in the Brentwood diocese before his appointment by the Hierarchy to revive, as Superior, the Catholic Missionary Society, which had been in abeyance during the Second World War.  This was followed in 1951 by his consecration as Bishop of Leeds and in 1957 by his translation to Liverpool. 

6/2/1965:  Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts), p. 32:  “Church’s Failure”.  The editor of the Catholic Gazette, Rev. Michael Gallon, identifies the greatest failure of the Roman Catholic Church in Britain is its inability to integrate itself into English culture.

8/8/1965:  The Times of London, “THE POPE APPOINTS NEW ARCHBISHOP,” p. 12:

     The Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds, Dr. George Dwyer, is to succeed the late Archbishop Grimshaw as Archbishop of Birmingham, it was announced yesterday in London by the Apostolic Delegation to Great Britain.  The appointment is made direct by the Pope.  
     The Archbishop-designate was closely associated with his predecessor, particularly in the liturgical changes that have allowed the use of English in the Mass and the administration of the Sacraments.
     Born in Manchester in 1908, he studied for the priesthood with the future Cardinal Heenan. now Archbishop of Westminster, and their ecclesiastical careers followed closely upon each other.
     He became Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society on the appointment of Dr. Heenan to Leeds and was appointed to Leeds when Dr. Heenan became Archbishop of Liverpool in 1951.
     Dr. Dwyer, who has been attending the final session of the Ecumenical Council at the Vatican, is expected to take up his new post in a few weeks’ time. 

10/27/1965:  The Times of London, “EAST END RECTOR TO BE BISHOP,” p. 6:

     The Apostolic Delegation to Cireat Britain announced yesterday the appointment of the Right Rev. Mgr. Derek Worlock, Rector of SS. Mary and Michael, Commercial Road, E., as Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth. He succeeds Mgr. John King, who died in March, aged 84.
     The appointment was announced also of the Rev. Langton Fox, Rector of St. John’s Seminary, Wonersh, Surrey, as titular Bishop of Mavra and Bishop- auxiliary to the see of Menevia.
     Mgr. Worlock, aged 45, who is in Rome as a peritus [expert] for the Vatican Council, was formerly private secretary for 20 years to the successive Archbishops of Westminster, from the appointment of Archbishop (later Cardinal) Griffin. When the Vatican Council opened he became secretary of the Hierarchy of England and Wales in connexion with the council.
     Educated at St. Edmund’s College, Ware, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1944 and appointed in the same year to Archbishop’s House, Westminster.
     Fr. Langton Fox, who was born at Brighton in 1917, was ordained at St. John’s Seminarv, Wonersh, in 1942. He returned to Wonersh as a professor of theology for some years.  Later he worked as priest of the Catholic Missionary Society and then was appointed parish priest of St. Richard’s. Chichester.  His return to St. John’s Seminary as rector was announced in August.

11/17/1965: A statement to the Catholic Missionary Society from A. P. Watt & Son regarding royalties received from Longmans, Green & Co. Limited for Fr. Dudley’s books totaling [pounds] 13 14 9. “General Overseas” sales were much higher than for the UK for Last Crescendo and Pageant of Life. There were also some half-price sales.

11/2/1971:  The Times of London, “Norman St John-Stevas reviews the autobiography of Cardinal Heenan; Controversial rise of an English priest,” p. 14:

     Cardinal Heenan is one of Britain’s outstanding spiritual leaders–tough, outspoken, a brilliant and provocative writer and broadcaster–he is heeded and respected far outside the ranks of his own communion. An autobiography from such a man–even if it be only the first installment–is a major event.  That a cardinal should write an autobiography is a curiosity in itself:  high clerics normally prefer fiction to fact (in their literary endeavors) and have concentrated their talent on novels rather than self analysis or justification.  Cardinal Wiseman, the first Archbishop of Westminster, wrote two Victorian best sellers, Cardinal Newman produced an almost unreadable novel, Loss and Gain, so did Cardinal Spellman, and even Archbishop Lang penned off a Scottish romance–before be arrived at Canterbury, however, and of which he was so ashamed that he bought up and destroyed all surviving copies. 
     John Carmnel Heenan was born at Ilford in January, 1905. The future Cardinal’s family background, like that of so many English Catholics, was Irish, his father being a hard working civil servant in the Patent Office.  John Heenan’s relationship with his parents seems to have been happy and affectionate if not demonstrative and he shared with his mother, from the age of 12, his cherished armbition to become a priest. She assisted and encouraged him to the altar and had the consolation on her deathbed of receiving the last rites from her son.  
     After a period at St Ignatius’s School, Stamford Hill, a Jesuit academy, the young Heenan went on to Ushaw, the atustere Northern Catholic seminary, a stronghold of tradition and starvation.  The tradition survives but the food was improved after one of the pupils died of malnutrition.  From Ushaw he passed to the Enghish College at Rome before returning to England for ordination in the Brentwood diocese.
     All strong men meet with opposition and like those other cardinals Spellman and Cushing, Father Heenan clashed with his ordinary.  The rift was opened by the young priest’s patron, the well meaning Canon Palmer, who announced coram episcopi at the ordination lunch: “My Lord, today you have ordained your successor”.  Such intimations of mortality are not normally acceptable to important personages and Bishop Doubleday was deeply offended:  from this moment he appears to have set out to thwart and frustrate the new priest at every turn.  Cardinal Heenan is magnanimous about this unedifying campaign of petty persecution and by a heavenly irony it seems to have facilitated rather than retarded his career.  Here I must enter a caveat–the author states that preferment is a word never heard in Catholic circles, which may be approximately true in England but somewhat otherwise in the Vatican, where the carriera although not talked about openly, exercises a cryptic sway.
     The Cardinal takes us through his life as a curate, as adviser to Cardinal Hinsley (Bishop Doubleday vetoed his appointment as secretary) and his early days as a controversialist.  He has resurrected a delightful mot from H. G. Wells who during the war counselled the bombing of the Vatican in an article in the Sunday Dispatch justifying this on the grounds that “the charm of Rome has always been in its ruins”.  Father Heenan spent the war years as parish priest of Manor Park in London where his heroism became legendary in his own time (although he does not tell us that), became Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society, and we take temporary leave of him at his consecration as Bishop of Leeds in 1951. Bishop Doubleday was mercifully spared that day–he had died a few months earlier.  Opposing Cardinal Heenan appears to be a dangerous activity.  When the see of Westminster became vacant on the death of Cardinal Godfrey it was reliably reported that the then Apostolic Delegate said that Dr Heenan would succeed to it “over my dead body”.  A few weeks later the Delegate was dead and within months Dr Heenan was translated from Liverpool to Westminster.  
     Cardinal Heenan is not a great theologian and would lay no claim to that title–what he is, and this is what has endeared him to the English people, is a zealous pastor of souls and a communicator of genius. He is an impulsive man and this is underlined in his biography (Not the Whole Truth: An Autobiography.  By John C. Heenan.  Hodder and Stoughton, £2.75) by the account of his bizarre visit to Russia incognito but an ordained man during the great Stalinist purge.  He is by temperament a conservative although his intellect and political antennae lead him to accept change.  His sympathies are deep but narrow and he is a stickler for rules and discipline.  He does not, for example, care for students who talk about community but seem to him not to practise it and he disapproves of particular friendships in a seminary setting.  Yet it is argu- able that if a priest is in fact to be as St Paul counsels all things to all men he must first be one thing to one man, or even to one woman.  As to early morning prayer, ihe great spiritual lesson he learnt from Monsignor Hinsley, there is much in this and in offering to God the “best part of the day” but five o’clock in the morning is not in fact everyone’s finest hour. 

6/21/1973:  The Times of London, “Pastoral strategy plan for Catholic Church,” p. 6:  By Our Religious Affairs Correspondent

     A draft strategy for the development of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, published today, calls for a change of attitude among Roman Catholics ” from the defensive to the outgoing “. The Roman Catholic Church needs to renew its sense of mission, and to recognize its common purpose with other Christian churches.
     The “pastoral strategy” has been produced by a joint working party of priests and bishops, and is published for consultation. It is one of the first significant fruits of the collaboration that has grown up between the National Conference of Priests and the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. When the priests’ conference was set up four years ago, several senior bishops feared it could lead to a clash between the two sides.
     The report proposes the establishment of many more dioceses, each with no more than 70 parishes, so that bishops could keep in touch more easily with local feeling.  The procedure for the appointment of bishops should be opened to greater participation by clergy and laity, and should be less secret, the report says, Parishes should be organized more flexibly, and experiments should be encouraged in different forms of ministry. The working party suggests the introduction of the diaconate as a permanent order: the office of deacon should cease to be merely a stage before the priesthood.
      A change of attitude was the greatest priority. The report says that in the past the church of England and Wales had been faced with a world that was often directly hostile. The situation had profoundly changed. It was now in a world “which is in the main not particularly concerned about it. It is a world in which it no longer matters that certain values and virtues are Christian. If they matter at all it is because they are considered as ‘human’.”
     It adds:  “So the church must be in the world and working with the world to help to produce a new and better society. Only in this way can the church make Christ truly present in the world. . . . Since this work is for every Christian, the pastoral strategy of the church must be ecumenical. All Christians share the same baptismal vocation and should do together all those things which they are not forced to do apart.”
     The working party strongly criticizes the Roman Catholic laity in England and Wales, who they say showed little awareness of the true missionary nature of the church. Energies were concentrated on practising Roman Catholics and the lapsed, while the three quarters of the population outside any church received little attention.
     “They want Catholic schools–though they may be rather dubious about modern methods of teaching–but ignore opportunities to find out about either. They will sign a petition about abortion, euthanasia, or aid to the underdeveloped countries. Yet they will see little connexion between that, their Christianity, and their responsibilities as citizens.”

11/30/1974:  The Times of London, THE JESUITS INSPECT THEMSELVES,” p. 15:

     The Roman Catholic Church has an unwonted appearance of confusion. It has seldom in its history been the monolith of common report. But the process of post-conciliar adaptation is more troublesome than the fathers of the second Vatican Council could have wished, and one effect of the council has been to open questions of doctrine and discipline which were previously regarded as closed.
     The tensions within it, and particularly within the body of the clergy, take many forms: between advocacy of monarchical, representative and popular systems of government; concerning the relative importance to be attached to missions directed to personal salvation and those directed to collective improvement of the human condition; between fidelity to the forms and values of the past and readiness to adopt others suggested by con- temporary culture; between European conditioning and the outlook native to other continents.
     The Society of Jesus, far from being immune to these stresses, experiences them with special sharpness. Nor is that surprising. Intellectual grasp and activity is a hallmark of Jesuits. They were hound to be leading participants in these profound movements. They are more widely spread around the world than any other order, and so more subject to diversity. What is more, the history of their society shows continuing multiplicity of function and boldness of missionary approach. Matteo Ricci and his successors in China went a very long way to accommodate their message to the culture and rites of Confucianism, though their toleration was eventually condemned in Rome. That controversy has an analogue in contemporary argument about the extent to which Christian missionaries should identify themselves with the manners and secular strivings of the people they move among.
     The congregation of the Society of Jesus which opens in Rome tomorrow has been summoned to consider the questions of internal order and external direction which these tensions in the church press upon the society. A traditional missionary strategy of the Jesuits has been to win influence among the influential. Hence their presence in ante-chambers, their acquaintance with the ways of the world, their schools for the well born, their universities. That strategy is now much less in evidence. The attention now paid, especially since Father Arrupe became General, to popular institutions and the condition of the masses reflects more than a “jesuitical” judgment about likely shifts in political and social power-more, that is, than a tactical revision of the same strategy. It is a change in social morality. One issue deriving from it which is bound to be debated in Rome is the extent to which it is obligatory, or at least proper, in that kind of missionary activity to identify oneself with the secular interests of the disadvantaged or dispossessed.
     Another question that will come up in one form or another is the status of the Jesuit’s fourth vow, his vow of obedience to the Pope. It is already debated whether the vow implies more than a readiness personally to undertake any task required by the Pope, and whether it implies further a special fidelity to the teachings and opinions of the reigning Pope. Pope Paul’s Pained criticism of the society during its previous congregation in 1966 suggests that he thinks, or then thought, that it has become less mindful of its duty as a papal corps d’elite. And yet that role becomes more difficult to sustain as pressures are felt to make a constitutional monarchy of the papacy.
     It is hardly to be expected that the congregation will resolve all these issues however long it sits. One can, though, with some con- fidence wish it better success than attended the synod.. of bishops recently gathered in Rome, which traversed with travail some of the same ground.

11/8/1975:  The Times of London, “Obituary; Cardinal Heenan; Leader of English and Welsh Roman Catholics in years of exceptional change,” p. 14.

     Cardinal Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster and Ieader of the four million Roman Catho-lics in England and Wales, died yesterday at the age of 70.
     The twelve years during which he presided over the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales were years of exceptional change and stress. He attended the later sessions of the Second Vatican Council, in which he intervened notably for the causes of religious liberty and reconciliation with the Jews. And he had to manage the consequences of the impact of that council on a rather conservative Catholic community at home. He was at his most successful in this respect as an embodiment of the ecumenical spirit of courtesy and mutual respect among the Christian churches. He was already practised in the art of good-tempered argument, and his natural good will responded happily to new opportunities for expression.
     In face of the theological ferment stimulated by the Vatican Council, and the public controversy and factions that broke out within the Roman Catholic Church, Heenan sometimes seemed to have lost direction. But one constant priority for him wvas the unity of his church in England and Wales. A serious threat to that unity was posed by the publication of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae on the subject of contraception. He had been a vice-president of the commission advising the Pope on birth control, a majority of which advocated change in the church’s position. When the Pope adhered to the other view Heenan was placed in an embarrassing position.  Furthermore in no Roman Catholic community was controversy over this teaching more intense than among English Catholics. Heenan managed the crisis with skill, recognizinlg the relevance of the principle of individual conscience without appearing to detract from the substance of the encyclical.
     The liturgical changes dependent on the introduction of the vernacular into the Mass were less well managed, the new liturgy being neither stable nor distinguished by style. The virtual abolition of the Tridentine rite, contrary, critics held, to assurances given in Rome–was deeply regretted by conservative Catholics.  
     He was an incisive administrator and excellent public speaker, forthright and communicative. His pastoral letters contained an unusually high proportion of matter to circumlocution. He was always evidently a priest as well as a public man. His pronouncements on social questions were neither memorable nor sustained, but they were invariably liberal. As the leader of his community he had the, important attribute of being a publicly recognizable character rather than an episcopal type.
     The most Rev John Carmel Heenan was the eighth Cardinal Archbisliop of Westminster in the restored Roman Catholic heirarchy, and the fifth to come from the English College in Rome. He was born at Ilford on January 26, 1905, of Irish parents, and was named after a great-grandfather who was a famous pugilist.  His father was in the Civil Service, but sufficiently low down in the scale for his son afterwards to claim on occasion to be the son of a working man.  His father, however, was able to send him to the day school of the Jesuits at Stamford Hill, where he soon manifested both his intellectual brightness and his ardent Catholic piety.  
     By the time he was 16 he was already speaking in Hyde Park for the Catholic Evidence Guild under Dr Frank Sheed.  The story is told of how in one of his first attempts when he was being boisterously heckled a man in the crowd continually prompted him, and supplied or improved his answers, till the irritated chairman asked the boy if he could not get the person in the crowd to stop. “How can I?” replied young Heenan, “He is my father.”  
     It was not surprising when he expressed his desire to go on for the priesthood and he was accepted for Brentwood and sent to Ushaw College in the north.  There he attracted the attention of one of the professors, William Godfrey, afterwards to be his lifelong friend and supporter and his predecessor both at Liverpool and Westminster. The young student was sent to the English College in Rome, where he finished his studies with two doctorates in Philosophy and Theology, and was ordained in 1930. In the Rector of the English College, the future Cardinal Hinsley, the young Heenan had made another lifelong friend.
     Returning to England, to the diocese of Brentwood, he was for some years curate in the East End of London. It was in these years that he showed his versatility and originality by visiting the Soviet Union under the guise of a student of engineering, and he used to relate afterwards how he had received three invitations to marriage on that trip. It gave him a great advantage in the many subsequent debates he had with Communists that he had seen the Soviet Union for himself in those dramatic years of the early 1930s.
     He was given his own parish at Manor Park after only seven years as a curate and threw himself into the pastoral work of the East End during the years of the war and the blitz.
     It was also in these years that he first became nationally known. He wrote to the BBC to criticize British broadcasts to America, saying “you are spending too much time telling the Americans what the British are doing and not enough in telling them why the British are doing it”. There followed an invitation to come and take part himself, and this he did so effectively that the BBC continued to employ him for the rest of the war to broadcast not only to America but to the British Forces overseas, and he became known as the Radio Priest.  He was also well known as a platform speaker and he soon had several books to his credit of a pastoral kind: Priest and Penitent, about confession, The Layman’s Priest, and a memoir of Cardinal Hinsley. So it was not surprising that the hierarchy selected him to revive the Catholic Missionary Society, a society of priests dedicated to the conversion of England, which had been dormant during the war years.
     Father Heenan prepared himself for this new work by a prolonged visit to the United States to study new forms of the apostolate. On his return he acquired a new home on Hampstead Heath for the Missionary Society, and from that base began four years of intense activity in all parts of the country which gave him an exceedingly wide acquaintance with his fellow countrymen.  He enlarged the society, drawing in priests with an aptitude for the work from many dioceses, and did not neglect the small towns and the villages as well as the large cities in which the Missionary Society Fathers would give a week of conferences. Heenan’s old professor, now Archbishop Godfrey and Apostolic Delegate, with the ear of Rome for the appointment of Bishops to England recommended him, and at the age of 46 he was nominated Bishop of Leeds in 1951.  He here showed a disconcerting fondness for making great changes in what had been under the previous Bishop a quiescent and easy-going diocese, and it earned among the cleargy of the North the nickname of “the cruel See”, so many and abrupt were the orders moving the clergy of the diocese from one position to another.
     The new Bishop showed himself tremendously hard-working, and at the beginning left the Bishop’s residence to live in the middle of Leeds by the Cathedral. But he recognized afterwards that this was a mistake, that he became too much a parish priest in the city of Leeds, to the detriment of the outlying parts of a large diocese.  So ready a speaker and writer with a gift for catching the headlines might occasionally still be a little brash, in a way that mattered more for a Bishop than it had mattered for a missionary priest.  He was rather addicted to sweeping judgments, as that Oxford and Cambridge were finished or that England was finished if the nation did not return to the Roman Catholic Faith.  But all this was done so naturally and artlessly that his gaffes were not held against him, by comparison with the ardent charity and good will that so plainly radiated from him and made him a popular figure in the north of England far beyond the ranks of his own flock.
     After five years he was translated to Liverpool, to succeed Archbishop Godfrey who had been brought to Westminster in the summer of 1956.  For the next six years Archbishop Heenan devoted to the Archdiocese of Liverpool the same unremitting labours that he had performed in Leeds; but he was a little gentler in moving round the clergy.  His Irish blood made him particularly at home with the Liverpool Irish Catholic population, and he showed himself keenly interested in all sides of civic life.  
     The most memorable event of his six years in Liverpool was the open competition and the selection of a design for an ultra modern Liverpool Cathedral. The Cathedral project had been started by Archbishop Downey before the Second World War, with Lutyens as architect, on a scale always over-ambitious and soon out of the question with the increased costs of the postinar period. Archbishop Godfrey had re- vised the plans downwvard to be content with a much smaller building, but in the line of the original Lutyens design. Heenan scrapped this altogether. The project was put to competition and of the nearly 300 submitted Frederick Gibberd’s remarkable circular design with central lantern and cross was chosen. It was consecrated in May this year.
     Although he had been a Bishop in the north of England for over 10 years, he belonged to the south and to London and was always in constant demand as a speaker, especially on great occasions at the Albert Hall as at the rally in defence and support of the Hungarian Rising in 1956 and on similar occasions.  It was generally anticipated that he would be the most likely successor when Cardinal Godfrey died in 1963; and so it proved.  Heenan was told that he had bee.i the selection of Pope John, who had died before the decision could be made public, and was then again the choice of Pope Paul.  He was appointed to Westminster and in 1965 was created Cardinal.
     At the Second Vatican Council he made a number of interventions sometimes, “for the record”, to put the English Hierarchy on the record with their American counterparts as protagonists of religious liberty and as champions of the “Degree on the Jews” for he was specially connected with the Council of Christians and Jews in England.  He was also made a vice-president of Cardinal Bea’s Secretariat for Christian Unity, and as such was drawn into the ecumenical movement.  He made a number of appearances on television and elsewhere to mark the new friendliness with the leaders of the Church of England and other Christians, and took very happily to this new climate of opinion, very different to that which he had encountered in his years at the head of the Catholic Missionary Society.  Just as then he had always been a good-tempered controversialist, and fully recognizing the good faith of those who did not agree with him, so it became very easy for him to represent the Catholic side of the new friendliness which had come in with Pope John.  
     He was less happy with some other manifestations of the new winds blowing through the Church, for he was by predisposition theologically rather conservative, though not so conservative as his immediate predecessor.  He was a man full of the conception of the priesthood as a paternal relationship, the priest as the father of his people sacrificing himself cheerfully for them, but also having his injunctions heeded and his lead loyally followed. The new spirit of criticism from the laity was accepted by him, but without any belief that he was witnessing a new and fruitful development in the life of his communion.
     He was very ready to emphasize that in many fields like the economics of aid to developing countries bishops should show a public, readiness to. let lay people who had specialized in such questions instruct them.  While, he kept himself readily accessible and responded to the constant invitations to speak or write, he coped with a large correspondence and got through an enormous amount of current business.  If anything the criticism was that he was rather too prompt with his decisions and he effected many changes in the residences and duties of the Westminster clergy, changes which were sometimes found hard to understand by those involved in them.
     He appointed two auxiliaries to the Westminster Archdiocese, Bishop Casey, who also became his Vicar-General, and Bishop Butler, better known as the Abbot of Downside, who was brought in with a special responsibility for Hertfordshire, to strengthen the theological resources of the Archdiocesan seminary at St Edmund’s, Ware, and to be chairman of an editorial board for the Clergy Review following the defection of its editor, the Rev Charles Davis, in December, 1966.  On that occasion Cardinal Heenan set the key-note which was penerally followed that Father Davis’s decision, deeply regretted, was to be treated as a personal decision without recriminations and with the minimum of controversy.
     Cardinal Heenan was made one of the vice-presidents of the special Papal Commission on contraceptive practices and the newly developed Pill, a topic which loomed large in the voluminous post that reaches Archbishops’ House. Here, as in other matters, he, was particularly concerned to demonstrate a paternal understanding of the trials and difficulties of lay people, and he found very wounding and unjust the criticism that he embodied a legalistic diocesan structure, lacking in understanding or compassion.  Certainly he himself was lacking in neither, and the chief memory he leaves behind is that through all the increasing responsibilities which were placed on his shoulders, he remained essentially what he had set out to be as a young man, a priest and a pastor, and this was the burden of the book he published in 1966, an explanation and commentary of the Conciliar decree on the priesthood.
     In the summer of 1968 there came the sudden publication of the long-awaited Papal ruling on contraception in the Encyclical Humanae Vitae. Although the Cardinal had been with the Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Doepfner, vice-president of the commission, he had only a few days’ warning of the decision. To judge from an article he had contributed to The Tablet a few months previously he had seemed to expect a modification of the traditional Catholic teaching, the Encyclical was a surprise.  So, too, was the “furore” created.  Cardinal Heenan was on holiday at the time, and did not take part in the discussions through August.  He issued a Pastoral Letter, in which, while expressing the natural necessity for Catholics to accept papal rulings on such matters, he recognized that there could be conscientious objections. It was not until the end of October, after the bish- ops’ October meetings, that a rather firmer statement was issued by each bishop to his own clergy, telling them thit they must not publicly oppose the Encyclical whatever their private feelings might be. At the sarme time it was made clear that the bishops wanted to make things as easy as possible for priests who were distressed in mind, and no priests in the Cardinal’s oiwn diocese were removed from their parishes.
     In television appearances to discuss the papal ruling, Cardinal Heenan was not always happy, and eyebrows were raised when, in an interview with Mr David Frost, he committed himself to saying that a confessor confronted with a penitent who said he or she could not conscientiously obey the Church’s teaching, could only say to them “God bless you “. The Cardinal found less difficulty in giving whole- hearted support to the Pope when the issue of clerical celibacy was raised by the Dutch hierarchy, because that issue never became a live issue among the priests in Great Britain.  
      He attended the episcopal Synod of 1969, expecting that there would be greater relaxations coming from it in the discipline of mixed marriages.  He committed himself publicly to the view that the Pope would himself retire at the age of 75, on the ground that diocesan bishops were being encouraged to offer their resignation at that age, and that he did not think the Pope would fail to follow the example he recommended to others. It was one of several remnarks which did not read too happily when copied into the Italian press.
     Cardinal Heenan became increasingly anxious to see the next generation of clergy equipped with university degrees, as the number of graduates in the country was being rapidly increased all the time.  This was the basic reason why, although he was the first Chancellor of the newly created Pontifical Athenaeum established at Heytrop College in Oxfordshire, he sided with those who argued that instead of collecting church students in a place apart, it would be much better to arrange for them to pursue their studies for the priesthood in great cities and in connexion with established secular universities.  In 1969 the buildings of Heythrop were sold to the National Provincial and Westminster Bank, and the College was brought to London. In connexion with this re-arrangement, Cardinal Heenan appointed in 1970 a new auxiliary Bishop, Father Mahon of the Mill Hill Fathers, to give special attention to ecclesiastical education, while Canon Guazzelli, the Vicar General, also became an auxiliary at the same time, to reside in the East End.
     In September, 1971, Cardinal Heenan circulated all the clergy in his diocese with a request for nominations for his successor. The move led to speculation that he might be considering resigning on the ground of ill health.  But it was explained as Part of the process of consultation he was anxious to foster within the church.
     He criticized the concept of a part-time priesthood.  Priests should accept outside jobs only as a last resort.  Later he proposed that the Pope should encourage Roman Catholic churches to sell their treasures and possessions to help the world’s poor and needy.  The Vatican could take the lead by selling some of its art master-pieces and properties in various parts of the world, he said.
     In November he published Not the Whole Truth, the first volume of his autobiography, covering his life until his consecration as Bishop of Leeds.  A second volume Crown of Thorns came out in 1974.
     Early in 1972 the academic staff of Corpus Christi College, the Roman Catholic study centre for mature students in London, resigned en bloc in protest against Cardinal Heenan’s intervention in the selection of visiting lecturers.  The cardinal, the college’s founder, had sought the withdrawal of invitations to five distinguished scholars; he said he proposed to appoint priests to lecture in their place.  He told students at the college that the issue “is not, in fact, one of academic freedom but of responsibility”.  In the beginning the chief and probably Inevitable mistake had lain in the choice of students: nobody had foreseen that candidates who were unstable elements in their own religious communities would be sent to Corpus Christi.
     He spoke at various times on most of the social-medical-moral questions agitating the public.  He was highly critical of a liberal abortion law, and later regretted that he had not converted his church’s opposition to the Abortion Bill into a campaign against it.  And he issued warnings against the approach of legalized voluntary euthanasia, which he strenuously condemned.
     He was held in high esteem by the Jewvish community in Britain and, in particular, had a close re!ationship with thle Chief Rabbi, Dr Immanuel Jakobovits, with whom he shared a platform on many occasions.  This was very largely a result of the important part he played in draft:- the Vatican Council’s Declaration on non-Christian Religions–in effect a declaration against anti-semitism–as well as the tirelessness of his lobbying in the cause of getting the Vatican Council to adopt the resolution on the Declaration. 

10/16/1976:  The Times of London, “Authority and freedom in the Roman Catholic Church” by Bill McSweeney Department of Sociology University of York, p. 14:

      Some months ago, on television, I watched a clergyman demonstrate the challenge and the rewards of the church’s mission to industry. As he moved towards the first group of workers, the challenge of preaching to the most secularized sector of British society needed no stressing. The rewards–for the clergyman–were no less remarkable. Within a few minutes he had convinced his flock-unbelievers to a man-that they really worshipped the same God, believed the same truths and lived by the same moral principles as any orthodox member of his church.
     He did it by employing the linguistic tools of theological pluralism: when they denied ” God”, he offered them “ultimate reality”; when they dis- missed “‘prayer” he countered with “self-awareness”; and when they attacked the church’s complicity in capitalism he couldn’t agree more and won them over by the frankness of his repentance. As the new converts returned to their lathes, puzzled and probably surprised that faith could be bought so cheaply, the thought must have occurred to many viewers that labouring in the vineyard is not what it used to be.
     There was a time, particularly for Roman Catholics, when heresies abounded, conflicts were cultivated, theological differences sharpened to a razor’s edge in preparation for missionary activity. The squabbling for converts was a scandal. Long after the Inquisition, the control of heresy survived, stifling scholarship, fostering casuistry, censoring books, films and anything that could be construed as a vehicle of erroneous ideas. That day is gone and with it the cruelties of a repressive religion. The imposition of truth and the subjection of thought to authority have given way to a new mood of openness and tolerance. Freedom of research and expression-theological pluralism–s a new experience for Catholics whose formative years were spent in the intellectual ghetto of the old order.
      Theological pluralism is not simply a new term for diversity of perspective. Some measure of diversity was tolerated in the Middle Ages–too little, undoubtedly. Within a general consensus that differences were subject to papal arbitration, such differences could be encouraged. Authority was a condition of intellectual freedom.
     It is hardly surprising that such a crude notion finds little support today. The pluralism in vogue is not diversity constrained by authority, but the rejection of constraints in the pursuit of a plurality of theological approaches–though what exactly is being approached is not always clear.
     Despite condemnations of “dogmatic relativism”, there is no doubt that intellectual freedom of this kind has been forced on Rome and is a norm, if not an ideal, for the officials whose job it is to protect the faith. Though bishops mutter and cardinals groan, the fact of the matter is that faith has escaped control and heresy is at an end. One consequence of this is that the Catholic pluralist need no longer endure the trial of doubts, the agonizing over faith that tormented his forefathers. Armed with a philosophy that relativizes papal pronouncements and demythologizes dogmatic definitions, the pluralist has no problems with the Virgin Birth and would be scarcely more troubled tomorrow if the Pope canonized Little Red Riding Hood than he is today with the current heavenly demography.
     Does it matter? Should Catholics not rejoice in their freedom? Certainly the censorship of the old church was oppressive and cruel. It is one thing to open the gates of a ghetto, however, quite another to dismantle the boundaries entirely.  Our abhorrence of censorship in crude forms has led to squeamishness about any control of ideas and. to the simplistic notion that censorship in itself is evil.  No society could survive without it in some degree, just as no society could survive without some restrictions on behaviour.  Thought and action, beliefs and ethics are interdependent. Furthermore, Catholics, unlike Quakers or Unitarians, belong to a church where membership is defined primarily in terms of belief: the mark of unity is not so much ethical conformity as theological orthodoxy.
     For many people, the rewards of being a Catholic lay in the reassurance that others held the same beliefs in the same way-that Christ arose, for example, and death was not the end. The gradual destruction of the old certitude has been applauded–with good reason, if one considers simply the evils of the inquisition or the smugness of that certitude. But the costs are great. The laity is divided, the elderly are deeply troubled, the unsophisticated are confused–only some-of the clergy seem content.
      The cultural relativism that characterizes pluralist writings effectively empties beliefs of their content by according them equal status and validity and’ reducing all conflict to problems. of language, problems of translation. What began as a laudable concern to heal divisions among Christians is thus transformed into a simpleminded search for the unity of mankind. The effect is not unity, but atomism. However repugnant to the liberal mind, some measure of control over ideas–yes, censorship–is a necessary condition for unity and doctrinal development in the Catholic Church.
     Vatican impotence in the face of theological pluralism will, without doubt, result in the destruction of the church in any historically recognizable form. That church was opposed to much that was good and supported much that was evil. In its place is emerging a church that opposes nothing; that, for fear of giving offence, always sits down to be counted.  The church’s mission, apparently, is to prove that the secular world was right after all.

1/12/1981:  Letter (the odd use of upper/lower case is in the original, however some of the odd spacing & line breaks are omitted):

catholic missionary society * catholic enquiry centre * catholic gazette
office for evangelization
Telephone 01-455 9871


IN response to teh Bishops’ call for a new initiative, 1981 marks a new and exciting stage in the history of the CEC/CMS, with the opening of an OFFICE FOR EVANGELISATION.

This Office will handle:
(i)  he training of groups in “primary evangelisation” – which, incidentally, is the technical term for the work the CEC already engages in;
(ii)  The proviso of programmes of evangelisation for parishes.

The fist training day (for clergy) will be held at 120 West Heath Road on Saturday 31st January 1981.  It will be led by Bishop James O’Brien, Very Reverend Vincenzo Salemi and myself.

Naturally, then inauguration of such a venture will lead to an increase in the volume of work to be done.  But, have no fears!  For the present, Mr Washe and myself will endeavor to handle all matters commented with this department, with then assistance of other members of the CMS.

Brian McEvoy

5/7/1981:  The Times of London, “A formidable lady” by Philippa Toomey, p. 12:

Dorothy L. Sayers:  The Life of a Courageous Woman, by James Brabazon (Gollana, £9.95)

Dorothy L. Sayers:  Nine Literary Studies By Trevor H. Hall (Duckworth, £12.50)

Nearly 50 years after the first appearance of Lord Peter Wimsey, all the mystery stories are kept in print by the New English Library.  I suspect that her best known piece of writing is this:

If he can say as you can
Guinness is good for you
How grand to be a Toucan
Just think what Toucan do.

Towards the end of her life, James Brabazon knew Dorothy L. Sayers (she insisted on the L–her mother’s name, Leigh), and he has had access to the family papers, in contrast to an earlier biography, Such a Strange Lady, by Janet Hitchman.  While Mrs. Hitchman revealed the sad story of Miss Sayers’s, illegitimate son, much of it was based, quite unwarrantably, on deductions and suppositions taken from the fiction.

Mr Brabazon sets his teeth and takes us step by step through the life of the only daughter of an Anglican parson, a tall thin girl, bright and self-opinionated, sent to boarding school at 15 1/2 and at that age, quite unable to adapt to group life.

Somerville- was heaven. She loved Oxford, made life-long friends, sang in the Bach Choir, flirted, learnt how to work, and would have had a first class degree if Oxford had allowed women to have them.  She then worked for Basil Blackwell for £2 a week, was tactfully sacked, and went to work in France with Eric Whelpton, at a school.

She would really have liked to be married, but after the war, there was no one left.  The men in her life, Eric Whelpton and John Cournos, were both great self-pitiers.  She had an affair with a man, out of her class, a motor mechanic who was amiable and friendly and who liked her, but who did not want marriage, particularly when it was discovered that she was pregnant. It makes sad reading.

By this tiune she was working on the famous Guinness advertisements as a copywriter at Bensons (she was to remain there for 12 years).  No one noticed that she was pregnant, and she had the boy brought up by a cousin in the country, and was wretched and miserable.

Lord Peter was a purely literary figure, beginning in Whose Body as a Woosterish figure, becoming more human, amusing, remarkable and improbable as the books went on.  She resented inquiry into his origins, she detested “fuss” and personal interest in her rather than her work, and she would have greatly disliked Dr Hall (an active member of the Dorothy L. Sayers Historical and Literary Society) which is sad, because his book (published last year) goes into a number of literary conundrums–the identity of “Robert Eustace” for example, and other highways and byways, with great and erudite charm.

Her husband Atherton Fleming (always called “Mac”) was a journalist, a familiar Fleet Street figure, a good sort, moderately prosperous, a motoring correspondent who wrote about food as well.  Mrs Hitchman had not a good word to say of him, but Mr Brabazon is kinder, and fairer.  He lost his job, they moved away, he missed his cronies, his temper and his health worsened, and he drank rather too much.  It was a difficult marriage.

She wrote several plays, some with a religious theme, the most memorable of which was The Man Born to Be King, for the BBC, and her last years were spent happily on the translation of Dante.

Miss Sayers was a formidable lady, and not everyone liked her.  “Very difficult and loquacious” said the Ministry of Information disapprovingly, and the BBC would have agreed.  She didn’t suffer fools at all, and the strength of her religious beliefs led her to be less than charitable.  Mr Brabazon is really rather solemn about everything, going on about how unattractive she was, which, judging from the photographs in early years, wasn’t necessarily so. She was an amusing woman–who can resist St Supercilia, patron saint of Pedants (the feast falling between Lowbrow Sunday and Derogation Day) or St Luke-warm of Laodicia, Martyr and patron saint of railway caterers?  A blest pair to go with the Toucans.

2/14/1984:  The Times of London, “Latest wills,” p. 16:  “… Mrs Liana Francis Weiss, of Twickenham. London, left estate valued at £513,452 net.  She left £10,600 and some effects to personal legatees, and the residue equally between Dr Barnardo’s, the Catholic Missionary Society, Cancer Research Campaign, RSPCA, PDSA, Blue Cross, Jewish Blind Society and Methodist Homes for the Aged…”

January 2002: The Catholic Gazette’s cover stories concerned “Interfaith Dialogue”, “The Role of Dialogue in Mission”; and “Developing Dialogue.”  (In view of the organization’s mission to convert England and Wales to Catholicism, it is not clear exactly how “dialogue” fit into that mission.)

The last issue of the Catholic Gazette.
The last issue of the Catholic Gazette.

August 2002: The Catholic Gazette announced the end of the Catholic Missionary Society.

5/20/2006:  The Washington Post published “The Code Before ‘Da Vinci’” by a professor at professor of American studies at Brandeis University, Thomas Doherty–who is one of the foremost experts in the “pre-code” period of Hollywood.  The article stated, in part (bolding added):

Confronted with “The Da Vinci Code,” the motion picture version of Dan Brown’s best-selling update on the ripe tropes of 19th-century Know-Nothingism (the Vatican as conspiracy central, the priesthood as perverse hit men), a previous generation of American Catholics would have raised holy hell — flooding the streets with pickets and boycotting not just the film or the studio but all films, in an impassioned nationwide campaign to bring Hollywood to its knees. Yet this weekend, as the much-hyped example of sacerdotal noir finally premieres, Catholics will be queuing up alongside Protestants, Jews and secular humanists. The religion that once put the fear of God into Hollywood now has less influence over motion picture content than People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

As noted above, it was not always so. For decades American Catholics exerted the moral equivalent of final cut over Hollywood cinema. Galvanized by the church hierarchy, they managed not just to control but to convert the motion picture industry.

The Catholic campaign to co-opt Hollywood began in earnest in 1930. Responding to the shocking talk in films of the early sound era, two media-savvy Catholics — the motion picture trade publisher Martin J. Quigley and the Jesuit priest Daniel A. Lord [who was a fan of Fr. Dudley]– collaborated on what was to become the founding document of Hollywood censorship, the Production Code. A deeply Catholic text, the Code was no mere list of Thou-Shalt-Nots but a homily that sought to yoke Catholic doctrine to Hollywood formula: The guilty are punished, the virtuous are rewarded, the authority of church and state is legitimate, and the bonds of matrimony are sacred….

To mollify the Catholics, the studio moguls agreed to abide by the Code, but the gentleman’s agreement was promptly violated — most brazenly by Mae West, whose hit 1933 twin pack, “She Done Him Wrong” and “I’m No Angel,” cashed in unrepentantly on the wages of sin.

In 1934 Catholics formed an organization to beat back the tide. Its official name was the National Legion of Decency. (Morally upright Protestants and Jews might enlist as well.) The Legion quickly became the most feared of all the private protest groups bedeviling Hollywood. Its most effective tactical device was the Legion pledge, a prayerlike pact signed and recited in unison at Sunday Masses, Knights of Columbus meetings and parochial school assemblies. “I condemn absolutely those debauching motion pictures which, with other degrading agencies, are corrupting public morals and promoting a sex mania in our land,” affirmed the pledger. “Considering these evils, I hereby promise to remain away from all motion pictures except those which do not offend decency and Christian morality.”
With box offices hemorrhaging in the Catholic strongholds in big cities, Will H. Hays, Presbyterian Church elder and president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), turned to a Victorian Irishman named Joseph I. Breen to negotiate surrender terms with the Catholics. Hays told Breen that “the Catholic authorities can have anything they want.”

What the Catholics wanted, and got, was a censorship regime [although this was not government censorship] that ceded dominion of Hollywood cinema to Catholic theology for the next 30 years. On July 15, 1934, Breen set up shop at the Production Code Administration, an in-house arm of the studio system that vetted film scripts for Code violations prior to production. Thus, before the cameras ever rolled, the fix would be in. The visible mark of quality control would be a quite literal Production Code Seal of Approval, an oval logo encircling the MPPDA initials, printed on the credits of every Code-worthy film.

Between the Legion of Decency on the outside and the Breen Office on the inside, Roman Catholics made certain that Hollywood defended the faith. Of course, sin could not be exiled from the screen, but the transgression always had to be offset by what Breen called “morally compensating value” — usually in the form of a just and certain punishment, or a voice of morality reminding audiences that crime does not pay.
By [1954], a Catholic condemnation of a Hollywood film was no longer the commercial kiss of death. Even the Legion of Decency, which in 1965 had changed its name to the less judgmental-sounding National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures, began to grade Hollywood on the curve.

When the Catholic hierarchy lost the power to energize millions of parishioners for some real Catholic action, when American Catholics responded to calls to boycott Hollywood blockbusters with approximately the same obedient deference they accorded the Vatican’s advice on birth control, then Catholic dominion over Hollywood lapsed. And today the only Code that Hollywood adheres to is the kind authored by Dan Brown.

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