Ch. 2: Australian Catholic perspectives: 1880-1929

While the Catholic Church in Europe was deploying to meet the challenges posed by the Modem Age, the Church in Australia was working vigorously to ensure its survival as a vital factor in the emerging national culture. Australian Catholicism, however, is a complex phenomenon, and in order to assess its social achievements it is necessary to distinguish within it various levels of identity and role-consciousness. To adopt the two broadest applicable categories, it must be considered as both a social and a religious entity.

Seen in terms of its most obvious social function, Australian Catholicism served as the vehicle by which the Irish immigrant community was able to evolve from a despised minority in a transplanted British culture, into an integral part of a native Australian culture, while preserving its distinctive identity. The primary avenues of this social translation were the Australian nationalist and Australian Labour movements; while the continuance of Catholic cohesiveness was ensured by the Catholic schools systems. The best-known ‘pilot’ of the transition was Sydney’s Cardinal Moran.

The most notable memorials to this phase of Australian Catholic nationalism, or, more correctly, Irish-Australian nationalism, are the prolific writings of the many poets, prose writers, journalists and civic leaders of Irish descent who figured prominently in the patriotic awakening which began in the 1880s. This movement, however, had a tribal rather than a religious basis. It owed little to Catholicism in any universal sense, but a great deal to Irish social traditions of egalitarianism and of passionate devotion to country and people. Even the most assertively Catholic work of the upsurge, Father Patrick Hartigan’s (‘John O’Brien’s’) Around the Boree Log (1921), displayed no consciousness of any intellectual relationship between a Christian world-view and the emerging national ethos. Thus however integral a part of the Australian nationalist movement was the Irish-Australian contribution, it had its genesis in social rather than religiously-based attitudes.

The performance of Australian Catholicism as a religious force is more difficult to assess. By the most obvious statistical criteria it was an undoubted success; flourishing while all other major denominations wilted. Regular Mass attendance increased from around 20% in 1860, to some 60% a century later.1 The Catholic schools, the heart of Australian Catholicism, likewise prospered, despite the discriminatory financial policies of the State governments aimed at drawing the children of the masses into the Governmental secular schools. In the 1860s a minority of Catholic children attended Catholic schools, yet by the early 1960s some 80% did.2

However, these facts simply indicate that the effective hold of the Catholic Faith in Australia on its nominal adherents increased over the period delineated. By the criteria prescribed by Pope Leo XIII, this was not in itself an indication of satisfactory progress. Leo had insisted that Christianity was an integrated world-view with far-reaching implications, and that Catholics were duty-bound to bring its influence to bear on all facets of society and culture. Yet we have already noted that the Irish-Australian nativist upsurge did not proceed from any such consciously religious motivation. Indeed, it would appear obvious that before a Catholic social movement could develop, a disciplined philosophical consciousness Would have to gain an ascendancy among the Catholic elite over vague emotive dispositions. Thus the search for any distinctively Catholic perspectives on Australian society must begin with an examination of early Catholic intellectual enterprises.

From the 1880s the centre of the tiny Australian Catholic intellectual movement was the State of Victoria. There a small, intellectually-aware elite of priests and laymen exercised considerable influence within the Church during the archiepiscopate of Dr. Thomas Carr (1886-1917). The foremost figure in this group was Mr. Benjamin Hoare, an English-born convert, leader-writer for the Age newspaper, and a man of wide literary interests. In 1888 he and his associates founded the Catholic Magazine, officially as the quarterly journal of the Victorian Catholic Young Men’s Societies’ Union; and in 1892 this was succeeded by the Austral Light, an independent Catholic monthly which aspired to be ‘in the front rank of literary beacons, a lamp of light over the semi-darkness that covers the great deep of human thought and human speculation.’3 Both publications enjoyed the consistent moral and financial support of Archbishop Carr;4 and in 1900, when financial difficulties threatened to close down the Austral Light, the Archbishop bought it out and made it his official archdiocesan organ. However, and although it acquired an Australia-wide reputation, the magazine appealed to only a small educated section of the predominantly working-class Catholic populace, and as a consequence it operated perpetually at a loss. In 1920 Dr. Carr’s successor, Archbishop Mannix (1917-63), bought out the much more popular Catholic weekly, the Advocate, from the Winter family, and made that his official periodical. The Austral Light then passed out of existence.

While the Austral Light had sought to be Catholic, patriotic; and intellectual, there was nothing specifically Catholic about its intellectuality or its patriotism. It was essentially a cultural magazine, fostering an intelligent interest in topical questions of a social, literary, and scientific nature. On problems of labour and capital, its criteria of assessment were broadly liberal, not ideologically Catholic. These observations also apply to the style of intellectuality which characterised the Australasian Catholic Congresses of 1900, 1904, and 1909.5 Notably lacking from both the Austral Light and the Congresses were any sustained attempts to analyse comprehensively Australian social and cultural trends by reference to Christian values.

In addition to the Austral Light, two noteworthy Catholic ventures of a semi-intellectual kind were launched in Melbourne during the episcopate of Archbishop Carr: the Australian Catholic Truth Society, and the Newman Society of Victoria. The AC.T.S., which was formed on the instigation of Dr. Carr and the Austral Light group during the 1904 Australasian Catholic Congress, produced monthly pamphlets of a Catholic educational nature.6 The Newman Society, an organisation for Catholic graduates and undergraduates, was founded in 1910 at a meeting in the Archbishop’s residence.7 Initially it was intended to act as a temporary substitute for a Catholic University College, a project dear to the heart of Dr. Carr, but then beyond his financial resources.8 In 1918, however, as a result of an unexpected bequest, Newman College was opened at Melbourne University, and the Newman Society then decided to continue in existence as an association independent of the College. In practice it was little more than a social club, serving no significant intellectual function.

The limitations evident in these general Catholic intellectual enterprises were also reflected in the narrower sphere of specifically religious thought. Indeed, the only exclusively religious Australian Catholic periodical with any pretensions to intellectuality was the Australasian Catholic Record. Founded by Cardinal Moran in 1895 as a quarterly magazine for clergy, it had, in 1924, resumed publication after a thirteen-year break as the official organ of the Australian Apostolic Delegation. In reality it was produced by the staff of St. Patrick’s College, Manly, the main seminary for the New South Wales secular clergy (i.e., those clergy not in religious orders). During its first phase of existence the Record had displayed some interest in extra-Church matters, but after its re-establishment its perspectives narrowed. Its thought became constricted within a closed canonical synthesis of Catholic belief which bore only on the strictly religious side of life, and it became entirely preoccupied with the minutiae of Canon Law, moral theology, and liturgy. It showed no consciousness of the field of social endeavour, or of problems of the social order. It contrasted sharply with Manly, which was founded in 1915 as the Annual of the Manly Union of students and graduates of Manly Seminary. This magazine prided itself on its vital Australian nativist tradition, and its creative literary emphasis. The two periodicals stood on opposite sides of the conceptual void which separated Catholic religious thought in Australia from Catholic communal visions for Australian society.

This radical disjunction between traditional religious thought and current social life was the very problem which modem Catholic social thought had been designed to overcome. It is apparent that the most important intellectual developments in the Universal Church during the pontificate of Leo XIII were slow to be assimilated into the thought of the Australian Church. The reasons for this intellectual lag are manifold. One was the preoccupation of the Australian Church with the massive practical problems involved in building churches and schools. Another, which is particularly deserving of note, was the significance which general Australian socio-political developments assumed in Catholic eyes.

Whereas in Europe the new Christian social thought had virtually been forced on the Church by the emergence of the hostile secular Liberal state, in Australia the developing secular culture initially appeared to Catholics to be not threatening, but liberating. It was the view of Cardinal Moran (1884- 1911) that the Australian nativist movement in general, and later the Australian Labour movement in particular, would, if whole-heartedly supported by Catholics, help destroy the anti-Catholic sectarianism which had plagued public life since the foundation of the colony. Moran could even dismiss the Secular Education Acts as relics of the intolerant past, which, he expected, would be discarded as the new mood of national fellowship and good-will matured.9

Being generally satisfied with the way in which Australian society was developing, Moran felt no incentive to stimulate the formation of any distinctive Catholic social movement. His championing of Rerum Novarum is well known; however, while this may have helped deter the Australian Labor Party from espousing doctrinaire socialism, it did not take the form of a sustained or systematic promotion of the Encyclical’s teachings. Patrick O’Farrell has noted that

In his celebrated expoundings of the social teaching of Leo XIII, he set forth the principles, but he did not relate them to actual social practice in Australia.10

Indeed, Moran’s overall pragmatism, and his maximisation of the ideal of Catholic integration into Australian society, would seem to be basically at odds with Catholic social thought, which called for the critical evaluation and conscious influencing of secular society.

Significantly, it was only when disillusionment with Moran’s optimistic social expectations had become Widespread that the first vestiges of a Catholic social movement became evident in Australia. The event which had the delayed effect of triggering off these early efforts was the formation of the militant Australian Catholic Federation.

Disaffection with Moran’s policies had set in among the Catholic elite Before the end of the Cardinal’s reign. Maximisation of social integration had not had the expected effect of generating popular good-will towards Catholics as Catholics. The Australian Labor Party, despite the substantial Catholic support it had received, had shown no more interest than had the more conservative parties in rectifying the Catholic educational grievance. The Government secular schools continued to enjoy a monopoly of taxation support, with Catholics having to pay their taxes equally with everyone else, and at the same time support their Catholic schools. Moran’s death in 1911 was followed closely by the formation of the Australian Catholic Federation, and the Cardinal’s policy of social integration was replaced by one of social confrontation.

Appropriately, the Catholic Federation had its beginnings in Victoria, where episcopal infatuation with the Labor Party had been less in evidence than in New South Wales. O’Farrell quotes Archbishop Carr as having as early as 1902 expressed scepticism of Moran’s blithe trust in his ‘timorous N.S.W. Catholic politicians.’11 With Carr’s active support, the Australian Catholic Federation was founded at a meeting in Melbourne on 12 December 1911, with Mr. Benjamin Hoare putting the actual motion which brought it into being.12 It was vaguely modelled on similar organisations which, with the encouragement of the Papacy, had appeared in various overseas countries. It sought to unite the existing Catholic societies in a powerful federation which would operate as a social and political pressure-group.

The Federation failed. Its undisguised raison d’etre was to pressure the State Labor Parties into adopting more equitable policies towards Catholic education, and this it was unable to do. Only in Victoria were any concessions at all wrested from political Labour, and there the decisive factor was not the Federation itself, but an independent off-shoot which operated within the Trade Union movement, the Catholic Workers’ Association. In New South Wales the Federation’s only notable success was achieved through its party-political ‘front’, the Democratic Party, which in 1922 put Dr. Cyril Fallon into the State Legislative Assembly for one term under a system of proportional representation. The Federation’s primary goal, however, proved unattainable, essentially because it was unable to control a significant proportion of the Catholic votes which had traditionally gone to the Labor Party. Furthermore, the heated Conscription referenda campaigns of 1916 and 1917 diverted Catholic attentions away from the education issue. The main lesson to be learned from the Federation experiment was that most Catholics apparently agreed with James Henry Scullin, that the Labor Party had been ‘a greater financial gain to Catholic workers than twenty grants such as is being asked would be.’13

The Catholic Federation did not see itself as a Catholic social movement, but as a sectional pressure-group. Indeed, it had sought to maximise its area of concurrence with traditional Labor Party viewpoints in order to minimise resistance to its educational demands. Despite this, the break with Labor involved a break with the established reference-group from which Catholics had taken their social attitudes. The result was an unprecedented stirring of interest among the Catholic elite in Catholic social philosophy.

In New South Wales, The Catholic Federation Magazine, which was published between August 1919 and January 1921, featured a succession of articles designed to highlight the Church’s role through the ages in protecting the interests of the working-man. Furthermore, the issue of November 1919 told that Father P. T. Tighe, S.J., had spoken under Federation auspices at the Trades Hall on ‘The Church and the Worker’; that an essay competition had been conducted on the topic, ‘The Church and the Toiler’; and that efforts had been made to establish a social studies club.14 The May issue for 1920 mentioned that ‘Each Sunday a lay-speaker takes the Domain Platform and addresses a very mixed audience on Catholic social subjects.15

In Victoria an even more marked upsurge of interest in Catholic social thought accompanied the rise of the Federation. During 1912 and 1913 the Melbourne-based Australian Catholic Truth Society published a spate of pamphlets on Catholic social principles, a subject in which previously it had been remarkably uninterested.16 In February 1913 the Federation established a Social Study Club, and attempted to form others in connection with its branches.17 In 1916 Father William Lockington, a New Zealand-born Jesuit and Federation activist, helped found the Catholic Women’s Social Guild, which initially sought not only to engage in charitable work, but to promote the discussion of social questions.18 Lockington the following year also organised the first of the Victorian Catholic Federation’s annual Winter Series of Catholic Evidence lectures, in which addresses on social problems figured prominently.19

The real pioneer of Catholic sociology in Australia was not Lockington, however, but another Jesuit, Father Matthew Egan. Australian-born and Irish-trained, Egan combined a profoundly scholarly mind with an extremely retiring personality. Despite his natural reticence, he threw himself wholeheartedly into the intellectual side of Federation activities. He took charge of the Social Study Club formed in 1913; and when the C.W.S.G. was founded, he organised study-groups among its members.20 The original Federation Study Club apparently faded away after a year or two, but in 1916 or 1917 Egan helped found a successor in the ‘Leo Guild’, an association of young Catholic intellectuals, the members of which were prominent both in Federation affairs and in the anti-Conscription campaign.21

In 1917 the Leo Guild gave birth to an independent, radical Catholic monthly, Australia: A Review of the Month. Edited by Henry Minogue, an Arts/Law student and talented English scholar, Australia first appeared in November with an Introduction by Melbourne’s controversial Archbishop, Dr. Daniel Mannix. Mannix asserted that

If the people are going to take a firmer grip upon political affairs, it is not likely that the workers will rest content with the present conditions… And, if they are to move along safe lines, it was never more necessary than it is now that the public mind should be leavened by Catholic principles. Therein lies the opportunity of Australia.

Yet although the nominal purpose of the magazine was to examine current issues in a Catholic light, few of its articles even mentioned Papal social thought. Most of them did, however, reflect a rash, youthful political radicalism of a familiar Australian Labour movement variety. Furthermore, and although Belloc’s The Servile State (1911) received an occasional passing reference, the only regular contributions which displayed any deep awareness of Catholic social philosophy were those of Father Egan. Thorough, unemotional and scholarly, these contrasted remarkably with the bellicose and polemical writings of his younger associates. It is apparent that, despite his erudition, Egan had little influence on the intellectual development of the others. His failure to impress his views is attributable to his personal reticence, and to his inability to express himself fluently in speech. Australia thrived in the heated atmosphere of the late War period, but as the controversies of the time subsided its support diminished, and in July 1920 it ceased publication.

In Ballarat, seventy miles north-west of Melbourne, the same era saw the foundation of a Catholic Study Club by Fathers McGloin and Reidy, the latter a leading Catholic Federationist of the district. Planned to begin functioning in February of 1917, the club included in its preliminary list of members James Scullin, editor of the Ballarat Evening Echo, a future Prime Minister of Australia, and at the time a prominent adversary of the Catholic Federation. The organisers emphasised the need for the club by reference to Papal statements, and to models in France, Germany England. They prepared a programme of six discussions, the main topics being Strikes, War and Peace, the Living Wage, and Education. The basic texts for study were to be Rerum Novarum and other readily available tracts on Catholic social thought.22

Shortly after the war, in 1921, Father Egan organised a Social Study Club within the Melbourne Catholic Young Men’s Society, being assisted by the General President for that year, Michael Chamberlin. Beginning with some twenty members, the club set out to study all the Papal Encyclicals since the 1864 Syllabus of Errors. The members gave some talks to C.Y.M.S. branches; and during their first year they distributed ‘over a thousand copies of a pamphlet issued by Fr. Egan’22 — presumably his 1920 A.C.T.S. publication, The Foundations of Catholic Sociology. The group, which called itself the ‘Ozanam Club’, was notable for its perseverance, if not for its vitality. Its method of study was dry and plodding, and it lacked any romantic element, or any sense of immediate relevance to the problems of the day. After three years all the Encyclicals had been covered, but by then only a few stalwarts remained, and the Ozanam Club faded away.*

Another social studies group was operative in Melbourne during the same period, centring on a Fitzroy butcher and ex-seminarian, James Skehan. Its membership was apparently older and better educated than that of the Ozanam Club, and it seems to have overlapped with the dying Catholic Federation. Francis J. Corder, a young lawyer who was later to be the last President of the Federation, was a member, as was another well-known Catholic lawyer, Gerald Hassett. Father William Hackett, S.J., became involved with the group shortly after his arrival in Australia.25

The rise and demise of this upsurge of interest in Catholic social philosophy was contained roughly within a decade, from 1913 to 1923. It had materialised at a time when the militancy of the Australian Catholic Federation, the Irish rebellion, the War, the Conscription referenda, industrial unrest, and an abnormal level of sectarian animosity within the Australian community, had combined to produce a widespread sense of social disorder. It had been rooted but weakly in the Catholic lay populace of the day, and had only with difficulty survived as long as it did. Despite the efforts of Father Matthew Egan, S.J., no school of Australian Catholic sociology had been bom. Not until a later era of social dislocation was Australia to witness the emergence of a more lasting movement of distinctively Catholic social awareness.

The nineteen-twenties saw few notable developments take place within the Australian Church. In Victoria, Archbishop Carr’s lay elite seems to have aged with its pastor, and to have faded away after his death its passing being signalled by the closure of the Austral Light in 1920. Some of those involved continued to be active on the Committee of the A.C.T.S. in the Jesuit-run Professional Men’s Sodality which centred on St. Patrick’s College, East Melbourne; and in other Catholic organisations. However, they no longer occupied a central position in the Catholic life of the State. The decline of their influence had doubtlessly been occasioned in part by the apparent reluctance of the Austral Light to throw itself with Archbishop Mannix into the popular political frays of the War years,26 and to the fact that Mr. Benjamin Hoare had publicly attacked him over the Conscription issue.

Although no new Catholic intellectual leadership class emerged during the following decade, Dr. Mannix planted the seeds of future intellectual flowerings when he settled on the Society of Jesus some of the key positions of influence in his archdiocese. In his inaugural address in this country Mannix had emphasised the importance which he attached to University education,27 and when Newman College was being built, he asked the Jesuits to manage it. Furthermore, when in 1923 Corpus Christi College, Werribee, was opened as the seminary for the Victorian secular clergy, it was the Jesuits who staffed it. No other Order within the Church had such a powerful modem tradition of intellectuality as they did, and now they were well situated to influence to their ways of thought the future lay and clerical leaders of Victorian Catholicism.

Corpus Christi College began to form a type of young priest discemibly different from that produced by Manly College in Sydney. Where Manly was notable, even by the standards of the day, for its harsh discipline and rigid insistence on conformity to an inflexible pattern of thought and behaviour, Corpus Christi encouraged a greater degree of initiative and intellectual awareness among students. Staff-student relationships were also much closer and happier in the latter College. Furthermore, the Corpus Christi clergy were not identified with, and did not dissipate their energies in, the clerical power-struggle which was being waged by the Manly Union priests against Irish-born bishops over the issue of native-or-Irish succession to episcopal office. During the ’twenties one significant product of Corpus Christi student initiative was the ‘Conversion of Australia Movement’, an infra-College society which sought to foster the twin ideals of Australian patriotism and an outward-going, apostolic Catholicism. Many who were later to become close clerical associates of the Campion Society had their groundings in this Movement.

A further Jesuit venture which was to be of crucial importance to the Catholic intellectual upsurge of the ’thirties was Melbourne’s Central Catholic Library. This was the brain-child of Father William Hackett, a cultured Irish Jesuit from a family ‘distinguished for its patriotism and its literary talents.’ He had reputedly been sent to Australia as a result of a too dose association with the leaders of the Sinn Fein party in the Irish Civil War. and he was certainly ‘a friend and confidant of Mr. de Valera and a number of his contemporaries’.28 He was also a disciple of Catholic social thought, having been a colleague of Father C. D. Plater, founder of the English Catholic Social Guild.2*

Upon arriving in Melbourne in October 1922. Hackett was disturbed to note the paucity of Catholic intellectual life in that city. In order to help rectify this situation, he resolved to establish a first-class Catholic library in the central metropolitan area.” With the blessing of Dr. Mannix and the practical assistance of the now-skeletal Catholic Federation and the Catholic Women’s Social Guild, he opened his Central Catholic Library in May of 1924.31 Beginning as a room in the Federation’s offices with 740 volumes, it soon acquired its own premises, and by 1930 had grown to 10,000 volumes – and its debt had grown to £600.32 During the ‘thirties, in defiance of the general economic trends, the Library was to flourish, and was eventually to be described by Dr. Mannix as ‘a real power house of Catholic Action’.”

In Sydney a central Catholic library – the Southern Cross Library – was opened in 1929. It was established by the highly secretive Order of Knights of the Southern Cross, having grown out of the Order’s own private library – although this fact was known only to those within the Order.34 However, while Hackett’s library had been founded for a clearly intellectual purpose, the Sydney venture had a less specific, more popular emphasis. In 1930 only 2,000 of its 7,000 books were non-fiction,35 compared with 8,000 of the 10,000 volumes in the Melbourne library at the same time.34 Nevertheless, the popular nature of the Southern Cross Library – and its connection with the Knights of the Southern Cross — enabled it to obtain within six months of its foundation the 700 subscribers which it had taken Father Hackett six years to accumulate.3’

The only other Catholic enterprises with any kind of intellectual flavour to begin in Sydney during the ’twenties were the Catholic Evidence Guild; the separate Catholic Evidence lectures organised by the Knights of the Southern Cross; and the Catholic Hour on Radio Station 2UE. However, the ‘intellectuality’ of all these ventures was confined to traditional apologetics, that is, to presenting standard justifications for Catholic teachings against the common kinds of objection put by non-believers.

The Sydney Catholic Evidence Guild was inaugurated in 1925,” its initiator being Mr. Frank Sheed, a Sydney University law student who was later to become co-founder of the internationally famous Catholic publishing house of Sheed & Ward. Sheed had earlier witnessed at first hand the rapid growth of London’s Catholic Evidence Guild, and it was upon returning to Sydney to complete his university studies that he obtained Archbishop Kelly’s permission to start a similar organisation there. He was assisted by another young lawyer, a one-armed veteran of World War I and Catholic Federationist named Peter Gallagher, who was long to remain the central figure in the Guild.

Although the evangelical work of the Guild was highly regarded by Archbishop Kelly, there was never more than a handful of people actively involved in it.39 Its primary work was the operation of a Sunday afternoon pitch in Sydney’s Domain, in competition with speakers representing a multitude of other religious and political causes. Its members were permitted to speak ‘only on Apologetic or Doctrinal subjects’: they had been forbidden to touch ‘on economic or social problems’ by Archbishop Kelly who chose to interpret their Constitution in a restrictive fashion.40 The effect of this interdict was to prevent the Guild from lecturing on Catholic social thought.41

Shortly after its foundation the Sydney Catholic Evidence Guild was forced, by ruling of Coadjutor Archbishop Sheehan, to alter its name to ‘the Catholic Speakers’. This change was necessitated by the fact that, unbeknown to Sheed and Gallagher, the Order of Knights of the Southern Cross had been using the earlier appellage ‘in corresponding with Politicians, Departments. Companies etc.’42 Furthermore, in January 1924 the Knights had actually launched a ‘front’ organisation which operated as the Catholic Evidence Guild. Beginning enthusiastically, this Guild had initially sought (unsuccessfully, it appears) ‘to found a Catholic Social Guild within the Order to train our young men to speak on the Catholic Platform and to arrange for lectures on Catholic Sociology and Economics to the members’.43 Tn practice the main activity of the Knights-based Guild was the despatching of members to the Domain, not, it seems, to talk from a pitch, but to mingle in the audiences and defend Catholic views against hostile speakers. However, early in 1926 it became moribund;44 and so, in order to retain some realistic backing for their cover-name, the Knights inaugurated an annual mid-year Catholic Evidence lecture series.45 They presumably took as their model the Victorian Catholic Federation’s annual Winter Series of Catholic Evidence lectures.

The Knights of the Southern Cross were also behind the production of the Catholic Hour on Radio Station 2UE. Catholic broadcasting in Sydney had begun in connection with the 1928 International Eucharist Congress, with the Knights doing most of the pertinent organisational work. Subsequently the Secretary of the Order, William Ross, was given the responsibility for obtaining finance and a Government broadcasting licence for a Catholic radio station, which in 1931 began operating as Station 2SM (for Saint Mary’s).46 The best-known segment of the Catholic Hour on 2UE, and later on 2SM, was the ‘Question Box’ of Sacred Heart priest Dr. Leslie Rumble, which began in 1929. Again, the emphasis was doctrinal and apologetical.

The aforementioned International Eucharist Congress was a spectacular Catholic pageant which ran in Sydney from 6-9 September 1928. Its huge rallies, splendid ceremonies, and assemblages of Catholic dignitaries from all over the world, impressed on Australians as nothing had done before the strength and vitality of Australian Catholicism, and the majesty of the Church Universal. It gave little attention, however, to the intellectual aspect of Catholicism, less than had the Australasian Catholic Congresses earlier in the century. The most impressive overseas intellectual to attend was Father C. C. Martindale, a renowned English Jesuit author and speaker. However, Martindale appears to have had a greater effect in Melbourne, where he spoke after the Congress, than he had in Sydney, with several future Melbourne Campion Society leaders being much impressed by the style and vision of Catholic intellectuality which he projected.47 In Sydney he addressed the first General Meeting of the Sydney University Newman Society, but this body had been formed less for intellectual reasons than for the immediate practical purpose of rallying Catholic University men to take part as a unit in the great final procession of the Congress.4*

The picture which begins to emerge of Australian Catholicism in 1929 is of an insular Church, thriving after its own fashion, but remote from the intellectual movements which for over half a century had been re-vitalising the Church in England and Europe. Within the Australian Church, however, two distinct sub-traditions were taking shape. In Victoria, precedents for a vigorous Catholic intellectuality could be found in the now defunct Austral Light and in the Catholic social stirrings of the Catholic Federation era. The influence of the Jesuits in Melbourne gave further hope for the future; while the considerable intellectual capacities of Archbishop Mannix himself, and his enormous popularity with his priests and people, must also be taken into account.

In Sydney a less viable Catholic tradition was emerging. Insofar as it contained any provision for intellectual expansion, it was for consolidation in the area of traditional apologetics. Presiding over developments in Sydney was the aged Archbishop Michael Kelly, a centralist who kept a tight rein on Sydney Catholicism in all its aspects, and who viewed intellectual movements with profound mistrust. His Coadjutor, Archbishop Sheehan, was an ecclesiastical scholar of international repute; but he was destined never to succeed Dr. Kelly, and during his fifteen years in Australia (1922-37) he remained in comparative obscurity.

The differences between Victorian and Sydney Catholicism were also reflected in the nature of the main lay associations in the respective Churches, and in the status accorded them. Since no intellectual movement could hope to have a significant impact unless its influence could be channelled through established organisational networks, a brief survey of the structure and development of Catholic lay organisation in the two regions, in the years to 1929, will help to throw light on subsequent happenings.

The kinds of Catholic lay organisation which existed in Australia during the early part of this century bore no resemblance to the new Catholic Action movements which were rapidly gaining strength in Europe at the time. Indeed, the intellectual backwardness of Australian Catholicism precluded the development of Catholic Action, which of its nature presumed a thorough understanding of the implications of Catholic social philosophy. Whereas Catholic Action bodies were required to be militantly apostolic, seeking to spread Christian ideals and values, Australian Catholic lay associations were almost entirely inward-directed and socially protective. Catholic pious sodalities, benefit societies, and sporting and social clubs, served to preserve among Catholic adults the consciousness of communal identity and religious commitment which would have been impressed on them in their youth in the Catholic schools, as also in their home environments. Even the militant Catholic Federation was simply an organ of social defence and was not at all ‘apostolic’ or evangelizing.

Nevertheless, whether militant or quiescent in nature, the lay societies provided the Catholic community with the organisational structures which gave it the potential to function as a viable social force. They maintained in existence networks of personal associations, and a class of recognised communal lay leaders, without which Australian Catholics would have lacked any sense of group potency in times of social challenge. By 1929 two powerful lay bodies had become pre-eminent as sources of Catholic cohesiveness in Eastern Australia. These were the Order of Knights of the Southern Cross in New South Wales, and the Catholic Young Men’s Society of Victoria.

The Order of Knights of the Southern Cross was a product of the new Catholic policy of social aggressiveness which had replaced Cardinal Moran’s social integrationism, and which had earlier given rise to the Catholic Federation. It originated in the Commercial and Professional Catholic Men’s Association of Sydney, which had been inaugurated on 22 March 1919 lo organise Catholic men with a view to their rendering aid to each other in temporal matters should it be deemed necessary.’49 Overlapping with, but not springing from, the Catholic Federation,50 and modelled on the American Knights of Columbus, this Association sought to do in business and professional life what the Federation was seeking to do in politics, namely, to protect Catholics against sectarian discrimination by organising joint action against discriminating parties. On 7 July 1919 a general meeting of members voted to change the name of the Association to the Order of Knights of the Southern Cross;51 and on 19 August, with the formal approval of its Constitution by Archbishop Kelly, the Order officially came into being.52

The Order was entirely lay directed, although a priest was attached to each branch as Spiritual Director. Membership was open to all Catholic laymen, upon invitation and the swearing of a strict oath of secrecy. So secretive was the Order that members were forbidden to speak of it even to their wives, and its existence was never so much as hinted at in the Catholic press.53 Despite these strictures, its growth was rapid. By October of 1920 it had three branches, and by June 1921 the last-formed of these had 206 members.54 In October of 1921 it achieved a coup which ensured its proliferation throughout Australia, when it entertained and explained its aims to five Archbishops and eleven Bishops who were assembled in Sydney for the centenary celebrations of St. Mary’s Basilica. By the end of 1923 the Order had branches in all States of the Commonwealth.55

Before the end of the decade the Order of Knights of the Southern Cross had become established as the lay organisational backbone of the New South Wales Church. In addition to matters already mentioned, three notable accomplishments of the Sydney Knights during the ’twenties were the initiation of the first national Catholic Education Congress, which was held in Sydney in October 1922; the securing in 1928 of amendments to the Local Governments Act to exempt churches and schools from taxation; and the provision of most of the manpower needed to organise the 1928 International Eucharistic Congress.55 By 1929, Catholic lay leadership and organisational expertise in New South Wales were concentrated to a considerable extent within the Order.

In Victoria, an organisation similar to the New South Wales Knights the Southern Cross, the Knights of St. Francis Xavier, had been founded in December 1917, fifteen months before the Sydney enterprise began. Its initiators were Michael Chamberlin, J. P. Waldron, and Father J. J. Loner- ! gan, the first two of whom were prominent identities within the Catholic I Young Men’s Society, and the last-mentioned the C.Y.M.S. General Spiritual Director. As with the N.S.W. body, the Knights of St. Francis Xavier was based on the Knights of Columbus, and was designed to combat discrimination against Catholics in private enterprise and civic life. Unlike the N.S.W. Order, however, it numbered in its ranks few who were well established in politics, business or the professions. It was largely because of this weakness that in March of 1922 it agreed to amalgamate with, and to change its name to, the Knights of the Southern Cross. Jack Waldron wrote of the reasons for this decision:

Our members were composed of very young men, the bulk of them public servants . . . Our membership was less than fifty. We saw that Sydney had men of substance. They had the sinews of war without which we could never hope to progress. They had many times our members.57

The youthful complexion of the Victorian Knights of the Southern Cross reflected another significant difference between the Catholic life of the two States. In Victoria the Catholic young men were better organised, and played a much more important role in the Church, than in New South Wales. Indeed, the Order of Knights of the Southern Cross in Victoria was exceeded in vitality and overall importance by the organisation from which it had indirectly sprung, the Catholic Young Men’s Society. It was this body more than any other which typified the distinctive character of Victorian Catholicism.

Catholic Young Men’s Societies had begun in Ireland in 1849 as general-purpose social, sporting, and educational associations. Their growth paralleled that of comparable non-Catholic bodies such as the Young Men’s Christian Association, Mechanics’ Institutes and School of Arts; and within the Church, of the Irish Christian Brothers and other teaching orders. In 1859 a C.Y.M.S. was founded at St. Francis Xavier’s Church in Melbourne and subsequently others were set up in parishes throughout Victoria. In 1882 a loose C.Y.M.S. Union was formed; and in 1892, after years of negotiations, the tightly centralised Victorian Catholic Young Men’s Society came into being, federating twenty-one existing societies. This unification resulted from the efforts of the Austral Light group, and was strongly supported by Archbishop Carr.58 The first President of the federated C.Y.M.S. was Mr. Benjamin Hoare.5’

The importance attached by the Austral Light intellectuals to the formation of a powerful Young Men’s Society sprang from their conviction that such an organisation was vital to the long-term interests of Australian Catholicism. This was the time when the Federationist movement was firing the romantic enthusiasm of young people throughout the Australian colonies- and it was thus no accident that the Austral Light had been given that particular name, or that the Victorian C.Y.M.S. had taken as its motto-‘Pro Deo et Patria’. The Austral Light group believed, as did Cardinal Moran and Archbishop Carr, that if the Australian Church did not harness to itself the new sense of national purpose, then its young people would come to identify social vitality and dynamism exclusively with secular movements. A case mentioned in this context was the Australian Natives’ Association, in which, it was noted, ‘Our Catholic young men are largely represented’.60 The C.Y.M.S. was intended as a means both ‘to infuse a spirit of Unionism’ into the Catholic young men of Victoria,61 and to keep the Church in the mainstream of the developing national culture.

The mass appeal of the C.Y.M.S. resided largely, although by no means entirely, in its Australian Rules football competition. In addition to this; it conducted tennis, cricket and debating tournaments, and other social functions. Control was vested in a Council, and below that in a Board of Management, with the bulk of the office-holders invariably being debaters.61 Indeed, since fewer than 10% of the members were involved in debating,61 it is apparent that this particular facet of the Society’s activities served to attract the intellectually more capable of the Catholic young men, many of them in semi-professional occupations,66 and to coalesce them into a recognised leadership class. This cohesion would have been strengthened after 1918 by the ties formed at St. Kevin’s College, the Christian Brothers* senior school which opened that year. St. Kevin’s took all the progressing pupils from the four other Melbourne Christian Brothers’ secondary schools on to their Leaving and Leaving Honours years, and thus helped create lasting bonds of fellowship among them.65

Further to this, the powerful C.Y.M.S. debating tradition served as an ideal background for Catholic young men with an active interest in Labor Party and Trade Union politics. A supplementary training in this regard was provided by the ordinary C.Y.M.S. branch and executive meetings; which were conducted strictly according to parliamentary procedural rules. Although C.Y.M.S. strength in the Victorian Labor Party did not peak until the early nineteen-fifties, the Society’s efficacy as a spring-board for political life was amply illustrated in 1929, when three ex-C.YM.S. leaders were included in the Scullin Federal Labor Ministry: Scullin himself; Frank Brennan, his Attorney-General; and Parker Moloney, his Minister for Markets.66

The ascent of the C.Y.M.S. to primacy among the many Victorian Catholic lay associations appears to have taken place during the Catholic Federation era. The main organisational basis of the Federation had not been the Young Men’s Society, but the Hibernian-Australasian Catholic Benefit Society.67 However, the failure of the Federation seems to have sapped the vitality of the Hibernian Society, and to have reduced it from a seed-bed of Catholic militancy into a quiescent social clubs’ federation which doubled as a co-operative benevolent society. Doubtlessly the demoralising influence of the Irish Civil War also hastened the decline of the H.A.C.B.S. The C.Y.M.S., for its part, was not weakened but strengthened as a result of the Federation adventure, in which many of its leaders played prominent roles.68 Above all, the Society earned its battle-colours in the eyes of the new Archbishop, Dr. Mannix, who in June of 1918 publicly expressed his gratitude to its members.

from the president down to the junior member, for the assistance which I have always received from them, and especially at those times in which I needed it most.69

Mannix ‘directed priests to give every possible assistance to the C.Y.M.S.’,” a gesture which indicated the high regard in which he held the Society, and was to hold it throughout his long episcopate.

No comparable youth movement existed in New South Wales. The first C.Y.M.S. to appear in Sydney had been established in 1858, antedating the St. Francis’ C.Y.M.S. in Melbourne by a year, and subsequently other Societies had been formed in various parishes. However, no effective city- or State-wide federation was ever maintained in being. In 1897 an effort was made to give the Young Men’s Societies a central governing body, like that operating in Victoria, but nothing came of it. In May 1899 ‘the attempt was revived, this time under (Cardinal) Moran’s personal patronage.’ A committee was formed, consisting mainly of Moran’s politician friends, but in this, as in so many matters of concern to the Cardinal, the Catholic politicians proved ineffective, and the attempt failed.71

A temporarily successful N.S.W. C.Y.M.S. Union was at last formed on 3 August 1901.” It had possibly been inspired in part by the First Australasian Catholic Congress, held in Sydney in 1900, at which four papers on Catholic Young Men’s Societies had been read — one of them written by R. M. Riggs.” However, its basis of support was weak: debating ‘was its main unifying activity’, whereas, in the opinion of a Sydney observer, the Victorian C.Y.M.S. ‘used debate simply as a window dressing while they engaged in the more serious work of cricket and football.’ In 1909 ‘the whole edifice fell to pieces; branches gave up the weary struggle to keep going and decayed into the dust of nothingness… Founded on the ruins was the present (Catholic Young Men’s) Cricket Association.’74 Individual parish youth clubs remained scattered throughout Sydney, most of them calling themselves Literary and Debating Societies.

On 1 September 1913 efforts to reconstitute a Sydney Catholic youth movement culminated in the formation of the N.S.W. Catholic Debating Societies’ Union. It only began to function effectively in 1915, and did not hold its first debating competition until 1917.75 It was assisted by the Catholic Federation, which actively encouraged the proliferation of Catholic debating clubs.74

Throughout its thirty-odd year life the mainstay of the C.D.S.U. was Robert M. Riggs, a clerk who had been General Secretary of the Victorian C.Y.M.S. from 1900 to 1909, and who had subsequently moved to Sydney for employment reasons.77 Riggs wished to see the Union develop to a level of prestige and influence comparable with that of the Victorian body; however, in this hope he was doomed to disappointment. To an even greater extent that the N.S.W. C.Y.M.S. Union before it, the C.D.S.U. was denied a mass basis by the restricted nature of its activities. It was essentially nothing more than a debates co-ordinating committee, and it was forced to share the patronage of Sydney Catholic young people with a Catholic Young Men’s Cricket Association and a Catholic Young Men’s Tennis Association. Indeed, in contrast to Victoria, Sydney Catholic youth possessed no unifying movement, no communal leadership class, and ho active sense of corporate identity.

Thus in the forty years preceding the Great Depression a number of important differences had grown between the Catholic traditions of Victoria and New South Wales. Not only did the Victorian Church exhibit greater intellectual flexibility; it possessed a prestigious and well-organised young men’s movement of which there was no counterpart in New South Wales. In the latter State, by contrast, lay vitality was concentrated within the secret Order of Knights of the Southern Cross, and thus was largely confined to an older age-group.

Since the ensuing decade was to be one of great social and intellectual turbulence, it is from Victoria rather than New South Wales that the most vigorous Catholic reaction to the era could be expected to have come. An indication of how this reaction first developed, and of the form which it took, will be revealed by a survey of the Catholic press during the crucial early Depression years.


1 Patrick O’Farrell, ‘The Laity in the Australian Church – Part II’, Bulletin of Christian Affahs, July 1973, p. 7.

2 Eris O’Brien, ‘Catholic Education Systems’ under ‘Roman Catholic Church’, Australian Encyclopaedia, Halstead Press, Sydney, 1965, Volume 7, p. 486.

3 Austral Light, January 1892 (inaugural issue), p. 2.

4 See the Catholic Magazine, October 1891, editorial: Archbishop Carr had bestowed on it ‘a handsome gift of money’ to pay for good light articles.

5 See the official commemorative volumes for the three Congresses.

6 See J. J. Norris, The Australian Catholic Truth Society, A.C.T.S. No. 88, 1910; P. L O’Leary, The Australian Catholic Truth Society, A.C.T.S. No. 576, August 1930; ‘Bonaventura’ (D. F. O’Keefe), ‘The Work and History of the A.C.T.S.’, Catholic Young Man, May 1934, p. 20, M.A.A.

7 See letter by Father W. B. Mangan, a founder of the N.S.V., in the Advocate, 24 January 1935, p. 20. M.A.A.

8 See Pastoral Letter of the Archbishops and Bishops of the Province of Melbourne, A.C.T.S. No. 52, 1907.

9 See Patrick O’Farrell, The Catholic Church in Australia: A Short History (Thomas Nelson, Australia, 1968), p. 165; Chapter 4, passim.

10 Ibid., p. 186.

11 Ibid., p. 165.

12 Cecily E. Close, The Organisation of the Catholic Laity in Victoria, 1911-1930, (unpublished M.A. thesis, Melbourne University, 1972), p. 65.

13 Quoted in Celia Hamilton, ‘Catholic Interests and the Labor Party: Organised Catholic Action in Victoria and New South Wales, 1910-1916′, Historical Studies of Australia and New Zealand, November 1959, p. 71.

14 The Catholic Federation Magazine, 1 November, 1919, p. 33, Mitchell Library, Sydney.

15 Ibid., 1 May 1920, p. 33.

16 A.C.T.S. pamphlets prior to 1918 which dealt with social questions were* Nos 11 (Rerum Novarum) and 14 (1905); No. 68 (1909); Nos. 143, 168, 177, 178, 179 and 180

(1912 and 1913); Nos. 215 and 218 (1915); No. 240 (1916); Nos. 264, 272, 273 and 281 (1917): See back-copies in the Advocate offices, Melbourne.

17 Close, op. ciL, p. 90.

18 Ibid., p. 203.

19 Ibid., p. 192: The first series of lectures included Dr. G. R. Baldwin on ‘Authority and the State’ and ‘National Guilds’; and E. Adams (founder of the Catholic Workers’ Association) on ‘Emancipation of Women’.

20 Ibid.

21 Ibid., pp. 164-5.

22 A pencil-written programme and tentative membership list of the ‘Catholic Study Club’ were discovered in St. Patrick’s Hall, Ballarat, in 1970, and given to Mr. Kevin Kelly. The phrases ‘This War’; ‘Examine Coal Strike’ (presumably the serious N.S.W. coal strike of November 1916); and ‘Begin February’, put the proposed starting date at February 1917. Scullin had clashed publicly with the Federation in April and May 1916; but Father Donald Reidy himself became on outspoken critic of the Federation’s leadership, and this could help explain the inclusion of both men in the club (re Reidy, see Close thesis, pp.181-2; Donald A. Reidy, ‘The Future of the Federation’, Australia: a Review of the Month, 7 March 1918). Furthermore, the anti-Conscription campaign of 1916 would have served to re-consolidate Catholic ranks, despite differences of opinion over the Federation.

23 General President’s address to 1921 C.Y.M.S. Annual Communion Breakfast, Adv. 17 November 1921.

24 Interviews with Sir Michael Chamberlin, February and May 1967, January 1972; 1922 and 1923 C.Y.M.S. papers held in Celtic Club, Melbourne. The establishment of this study-group had first been suggested in 1920 by Father J. Barry, Administrator of the Cathedral, and later Bishop of Goulbum (see Chamberlin’s address in Adv. 17 November 1921). Among Father William Hackett’s papers is a lecture script dated 29 September 1927, and titled ‘The Popess Joan – the Ozanam Club’ (Box 6, Hackett papers, Jesuit Archives, Hawthorn, Victoria). This suggests that some of the members continued to meet occasionally up to that date, or else that a revival was (unsuccessfully) attempted.

25 Interviews with Sir Michael Chamberlin, February and May 1967, 20 January 1972; interview with Father J. H. Cleary, 21 November, 1972. Father Cleary was introduced to the group immediately upon leaving school in 1919. He first met Father Hackett at a meeting of the group (Hackett arrived in Australia in October 1922). He can recall the members visiting Corpus Christi College, Werribee, after he (Cleary) had entered there in 1923.

26 The passionate involvement of the Advocate and the Tribune in the Conscription and Irish rebellion controversies contrasts with the moderation of the Austral Light on these issues.

27 O’Farrell, Short History, p. 213. For Mannix’s policy on University education, see also W. A. Greening, ‘The Mannix Thesis in Catholic Secondary Education in Victoria’, Melbourne Studies in Education, 1961-62, edited E. L. French (M.U.P., 1964).

28 Hackett’s Obituary, Adv. 15 July 1954, p. 23.

29 Cecily E. Close, The Organisation of the Catholic Laity, p. 241.

30 Regarding Hackett’s aims, see C. C. Martindale, ‘Central Catholic Libraries’, the Month (English Jesuit), October 1930.

31 Adv. 29 May 1924, p. 13.

32 1930 C.C.L. Annual Report, Adv. 3 July 1930, p. 16.

33 Quoted in Adv. 16 June 1938, p. 29.

34 See ‘The Southern Cross Library: Historical Notes’ (c. mid-1939), box ‘Evidence’, Sydney Archdiocesan Archives.

35 T. A. Murphy, C.SS.R., ‘The Circulation of Catholic Literature in Australia’, Australasian Catholic Record, April 1930.

34 1930 C.C.L. Annual Report, loc. cit.

37 T. A. Murphy, op. cit.; 1930 C.C.L. Annual Report, loc. cit.

38 Peter Gallagher to Kevin Anderson, 17 October 1934, 1934 Newman Convention box, M.A.A.

39 In 1934 there were only twelve licensed speakers – Ibid. In 1937 the number licensed was still twelve, but only seven of them were then active: 1937 C.E.G. Annual Report, box ‘Evidence’, S.A.A.

40 Gallagher to Anderson, loc. cit. That the interdict was Archbishop Kelly’s is not stated in this letter, but implied. The relevant Constitutional clause reads: ‘Politics, party or national and related topics shall be avoided’: see Sydney C.E.G./Catholic Speakers Constitution, box ‘Evidence’, S.A.A.

41 Gallagher to Anderson, loc. dt

42 William Ross to Archbishop Gilroy, 17 June 1938, box ‘Evidence’, S.A.A.

43 Sydney (K.S.C.-based) C.E.G. minute-book, 1924-26, entry for 16 January 1924. Although this is the initial entry, it does not appear to be recording an inaugural meet- Cg Mr. P. L. Cantwell, who joined the Knights in May 1920, does not recall the Order, its first twenty years, ever having systematically promoted Catholic social thought: Inurview, 12 April 1972.

44 Evidence of (K.S.C.-based) C.E.G. minute-book.

45 Peter Gallagher to Archbishop Gilroy, 26 June 1938, box ‘Evidence’, S.A.A.

46 Interview with Mr. P. L. Cantwell, 12 April 1972. Mr. Cantwell gave me extracts from a paper which he delivered in 1944 on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of the Knights.

47 Frank Maher, Denys Jackson, Arthur Adams and Kevin Kelly were among these (evidence of interviews). One of Martindale’s Melbourne talks was published as Modern problems, A.C.T.S. No. 539 (late 1928 or early 1929).

48 Interview with Father Desmond O’Connor, S.J., a founder of the Sydney Newman Society, 8 February 1967. See also Sydney Newman Society Report, 1934 Newman Convention box, M.A.A.

49 Minutes of inaugural meeting, cited in the Golden Jubilee edition of Advance Australia, national organ of the K.S.C.s, March 1969, p. 7 (there is a copy in the M.AA.)

50 P. S. Cleaiy, President of the N.S.W. Catholic Federation, was not an early Knight; however, William J. Ross, a Democratic Party candidate in the 1920 N.S.W. elections, in June 1920 became full-time General Secretary of the Order. Two prominent Labor Party politicians P. J. Minahan, M.L.A., and E. A. (later Sir Edward) McTieman, M.L.A., were foundation members (Ibid., p. 12; also interview with Mr. P. L. Cantwell, 12 April 1972. Mr. Cantwell stood [unsuccessfully] as United Australia Party candidate for Illawarra in the 1932 N.S.W. State elections). The rules of the Order expressly forbade party politics to be discussed at meetings.

51 Advance Australia, March 1969, p. 9.

52 P. L. Cantwell, 1944 Silver Jubilee paper.

53 C. C. Martindale, S.J., apparently unaware of the extent of the Order’s secretiveness, mentioned it in his published account of his 1928 Australian visit (The Risen Sun, Sheed & Ward, London, 1929).

54 Advance Australia, March 1969, p. 13.

55 Ibid., pp. 10, 13.

56 Ibid., p. 13; P. L. Cantwell, 1944 Silver Jubilee paper.

57 Advance Australia, March 1969, p. 9.

58 See the Catholic Magazine, October 1888, pp. 22-4, January 1891, pp. 1-3, October 1891 C.Y.M.S. First Annual Report, 1892 (photocopy in M.A.A.); J. J. Norris, Catholic Young Men’s Societies, A.C.T.S. No. 77, 1909.

59 Technically, the Archbishop was ex-officio President, and Hoare Vice-President Subsequently the former office was ‘up-graded’ to ‘President-General’, and the latter to President. Later C.Y.M.S. documents always list Hoare as the first President.

60 James B. Coghlan, ‘Federation of Catholic Young Men’s Societies’, Austral Light, January 1892, p. 37.

61 Catholic Magazine, October 1891.

62 As best as I have been able to ascertain, all the C.Y.M.S. General Presidents between 1921 and 1939 were debaters.

63 In 1933, a record year for debating, 162 members (81 teams) participated in the debating competition, compared with 468 who obtained selection for football teams (1933 C.Y.M.S. Annual Report, Catholic Young Man, December 1933. M.A.A.). Membership at the time was about 1,700, which would put debaters at some 91% of the total.

64 Of the General Presidents from 1919 to 1939, seven were Public Servants: P. E. Smyth (1919), G. Dowling (1924), J. F. Meere (1925), A. McVeigh (1927), J. P. Martin (1931), J. A. Peevers (1936), and T. J. Hickie (1938); one (F. P. McManus, 1929) was a teacher and University graduate: four were certified accountants: M. Chamberlin (1921), A. C. Hodgkinson (1930), P. J. O’Rourke (1935) and D. S. Sberriff (1939); and two were law clerks: J. F. Foley (1926. 1928) and T. D. Covne (1933). The remainder were J J. Collins, a journalist (1920), R. Boxshall (1922), F. P. Mount (1932), M. F. Hynes (1934), and J. McGrath (1937).

65 Regarding the purpose of St. Kevin’s College, see W. A. Greening, ‘The Mannix Thesis in Catholic Secondary Education in Victoria’, Melbourne Studies in Education, 1961-62, edited E. L. French.

66 Frank Brennan had been 1907 C.Y.M.S. General President; Scullin had been in the Ballarat C.Y.M.S., and during the ‘twenties was an Honorary Member of the North Richmond branch and a regular adjudicator of C.Y.M.S. competition debating; and Moloney’s brother, Ernest, had been 1908 General President. Parker Moloney’s personal gratitude to the C.Y.M.S. was expressed in a letter which is cited in the Tribune, 21 November 1929, p. 11.

67 Cecily Close, op. cit., p. 58.

68 T. J. McGlade, 1901 C.Y.M.S, President, was 1918 Federation President; F. E. O’Connell, 1910 C.Y.M.S. President, was Federation President 1913-17; R. A. Wanning, 1913 C.Y.M.S. President, was Federation Treasurer for several years from 1913: see Cecily Close, op. cit., passim.; also lists of C.Y.M.S. General Presidents and General Secretaries, M.A.A.

69 Adv. 6 July 1918.

70 Ibid., 29 June 1918; speech by Father J. P. O’Connell to the East Brunswick C.Y.M.S.

71 Patrick Ford, Cardinal Moran and the A.L.P. (M.U.P., 1966), p. 238.

72 Brian T. Doyle, ‘The Catholic Story* (a chronology), Catholic Weekly, 12 April 1951, p. 4.

73 Report of the First Australasian Catholic Congress (Sydney, 1900), pp. 408-12.

74 A. E. Fernon, ‘Personalities of the Moment: R. M. Riggs’, Catholic Fireside, 1 Feb. 1935, p. 9.

75 Ibid., August 1934, p. 21.

76 The N.S.W. Catholic Federation^ periodical (August 1919-January 1921) was titled: The Catholic Federation Magazine and Official Organ of the N.S.W. Catholic Debating Societies’ Union. In reality only a small segment of the magazine was given to C.D.S.U. reports.

77 A. E. Fernon, loc. cit.

1Patrick O’Farrell, ‘The Laity in the Australian Church – Part II’, Bulletin of Christian Affahs, July 1973, p. 7.

2Eris O’Brien, ‘Catholic Education Systems’ under ‘Roman Catholic Church’, Australian Encyclopaedia, Halstead Press, Sydney, 1965, Volume 7, p. 486.

3Austral Light, January 1892 (inaugural issue), p. 2.

4See the Catholic Magazine, October 1891, editorial: Archbishop Carr had bestowed on it ‘a handsome gift of money’ to pay for good light articles.

5See the official commemorative volumes for the three Congresses.

6See J. J. Norris, The Australian Catholic Truth Society, A.C.T.S. No. 88, 1910; P. L O’Leary, The Australian Catholic Truth Society, A.C.T.S. No. 576, August 1930; ‘Bonaventura’ (D. F. O’Keefe), ‘The Work and History of the A.C.T.S.*, Catholic Young Man, May 1934, p. 20, M.A.A.

7See letter by Father W. B. Mangan, a founder of the N.S.V., in the Advocate, 24 January 1935, p. 20. M.A.A.

8See Pastoral Letter of the Archbishops and Bishops of the Province of Melbourne, A.C.T.S. No. 52, 1907.