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Title:William J. Kerby, John A. Ryan, and the Awakening of the Twentieth-Century American Catholic Social Conscience, 1899-1919 (Progressivism)
Author(s):Lavey, Patrick Bernard
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, United States
Abstract:William J. Kerby and John A. Ryan were two of the best known progressive activists of the early twentieth-century American Catholic Church. Whether demanding political concern on the part of Catholics, urging reform of the Church's charities, or bringing attention to the issue of socialism, their efforts to effect change were untiring. They helped create in the American Church a twentieth-century American Catholic social conscience. Such a political consciousness accepted a larger degree of governmental responsibility for the economic and social welfare of the American people, and saw the problems created by industrialization as national concerns rather than questions of individual morality. Although their thinking did not predominate among all American Catholics by 1919, they had helped create institutions and climates of opinion favorable to the acceptance of their ideas.
The writings of these two dominated the space devoted to social questions by major Catholic periodicals. In them they considered socialism, Kerby arguing that Catholic editorialists went too far in their condemnation. They considered reform of the nation's Catholic charities, including the acceptance of new ideas in social work. In all their writings they demanded a new social concern from Catholics, one which saw that the nation's problems were truly national. The success of their efforts was attested to by the rise of two enduring organizations which embodied this new social conscience. The National Conference of Catholic Charities helped bring the ideas of modern social work to the nation's charities. The National Catholic Welfare Conference helped bring national guidance to all the many Catholic concerns of the day, including the economic and social advancement of the country. As founders of these organizations and as influence, through their extensive writings, on other founders Kerby and Ryan showed that the intellectual and social ferment of the Progressive Era did not pass over the Catholic Church. It did not in large part because of their efforts.
Issue Date:1986
Description:267 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8623348
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1986

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