March 18, 2011

What was in the news on March 17, 1961? A controversial award and a priest arrested

By Brandon A. Evans

50 Year LogoThis week, we continue to examine what was going on in the Church and the world 50 years ago as seen through the pages of The Criterion, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Here are some of the items found in the March 17, 1961, issue of The Criterion:

  • N.D. awards 1961 medal to Kennedy
    • From an editorial: “Somebody out to create a medal for people who give medals. We’d like to present one to Notre Dame University for selecting President [John F.] Kennedy as this year’s Laetare medalist. A perfect choice. Just when it was beginning to appear to outsiders that Mr. Kennedy was about to be read out of his Church because of his determined opposition to bishops and cardinals in the federal-aid-to-education controversy, suddenly the nation’s best known Catholic university honors him as the Catholic layman of the year. That ought to confuse the opposition. We have already expressed our disagreement with the president over his interpretation of the Constitution, but we supported at the same time his right to disagree with the Catholic hierarchy. We’ll go further and state that if the president is convinced that what the Catholic bishops are seeking is forbidden by the Constitution, he is morally bound to withstand them.”
  • Cardinal Ritter speaks out in school aid controversy
  • Protestant, Jewish groups oppose private school aid
  • ‘Publicly and by name’: Bishop censures Trujillo regime
    • “A Catholic bishop of the Dominican Republic has denounced publicly and by name the regime of Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo for its persecution of the Church and the people. Bishop Thomas F. Reilly, C.S.S.R., head of the Church in the southwestern part of the country, spoke out at Sunday Masses in his cathedral at San Juan de la Maguana [on March 12] after the government expelled another of his priests. He said the expulsion of Belgian-born Father Roger Roselle, C.I.C.M., on March 11 ‘marked the latest of a long series of violations of human rights and rights of the Church.’ ”
  • Men of the archdiocese launch spiritual offensive
  • Is labor seeking to usurp the rights of management?
  • Priest removed bodily in race demonstration
    • From an editorial: “The picture wasn’t pretty. A Catholic priest, in black suit with Roman collar still in place, carried like a common criminal into a paddy wagon by two policemen, one pinioning his arms, the other hoisting his legs, ignominiously. Behold the man of God. You saw it, too? The picture of Father Robert McDole of Oklahoma City, who was arrested for joining Negro students in a sit-in? What did you think? We’ll admit it, honestly. Our first feelings were of resentment—not against the police but against the priest. Brought it on himself; most imprudent; must be a ‘nut’; he’s done far more harm than good for the cause of the Negro. … Then we remembered that another priest was condemned for imprudently driving the money changers and dove vendors out of a temple.”
  • World conquest is goal of Reds, Jesuit warns

(Read all of these stories from our March 17, 1961, issue by logging on to our special archives.)

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