For Both Cross and Flag

For Both Cross and Flag: Catholic Action, Anti-Catholicism, and National Security Politics in World War II San Francisco

William Issel
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    For Both Cross and Flag
    Book Description:

    Against a backdrop of war and anti-Catholic sentiment, one man loses his rights because he is falsely accusedIn this fascinating, detailed history, William Issel recounts the civil rights abuses suffered by Sylvester Andriano, an Italian American Catholic civil leader whose religious and political activism in San Francisco provoked an Anti-Catholic campaign against him. A leading figure in the Catholic Action movement, Andriano was falsely accused in state and federal Un-American Activities Committee hearings of having Fascist sympathies prior to and during World War II. As his ordeal began, Andriano was subjected to a hostile investigation by the FBI, whose confidential informants were his political rivals. Furthermore, the U.S. Army ordered him to be relocated on the grounds that he was a security risk.For Both Cross and Flag provides a dramatic illustration of what can happen when parties to urban political rivalries, rooted in religious and ideological differences, seize the opportunity provided by a wartime national security emergency to demonize their enemy as "a potentially dangerous person."Issel presents a cast of characters that includes archbishops, radicals, the Kremlin, and J. Edgar Hoover, to examine the significant role faith-based political activism played in the political culture that violated Andriano's constitutional rights. Exploring the ramifications of this story, For Both Cross and Flag presents interesting implications for contemporary events and issues relating to urban politics, ethnic groups, and religion in a time of war.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0030-7
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Massachusetts Congressman Thomas P. O’Neill once famously remarked that in the United States, “all politics are local.” O’Neill made a good point, but it was only half true, because local politics in the United States, especially during wartime, have also been shaped by the political and religious loyalties that immigrants bring with them. Government officials who fail to take account of such loyalties and rivalries may find themselves duped into becoming partisans on one or another side of local political battles when they make decisions about who is and who is not a security risk during wartime. Their commendable zeal...

  5. A photo gallery
    (pp. 7-14)
  6. 1 Sylvester Andriano, a Catholic Attorney in San Francisco
    (pp. 15-22)

    Sylvester Andriano began his lifelong practice of combining the promotion of Catholicism with the preservation of Italian culture during his student days at St. Mary’s College of California. Then located in Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, the men’s college attracted the aspiring sons of Catholic families to study under a faculty drawn from the Christian Brothers religious order. Andriano graduated from St. Mary’s in 1911, ten years after he arrived in San Francisco from his birthplace in Castelnuovo d’Asti, ten miles southwest of Turin in the Piedmont region of Italy.¹

    Sylvester’s older brothers Giuseppe and James were the...

  7. 2 Anti-Catholicism in Little Italy
    (pp. 23-32)

    Sylvester Andriano, firmly committed to Catholicism, Americanization, and the maintenance of his Italian cultural heritage, built his law practice in the growing community of Little Italy. But most of the city’s Italian community demonstrated little interest in citizenship or Americanization. As the decade of the twenties began, 80 percent of the city’s Italian immigrants maintained their Italian citizenship, and ten years later only 44 percent of the men and 31 percent of the women were United States citizens. And as the number of Italian residents in San Francisco grew from the beginning of the century to the 1920s, so did...

  8. 3 Catholic Action, from Rome to San Francisco
    (pp. 33-42)

    When Father Albert Bandini insisted that one could support Fascist Italy and still be a good Catholic, he was expressing the mainstream view among the nation’s Catholics during the 1920s. They could justify their position by citing the practice of the Vatican itself, which criticized certain practices of the regime but did not declare the Fascist state incompatible in principle with Catholic natural law theology. Italian Fascism became even more acceptable to American Catholics after the Pope agreed to the Lateran Accords of February 11, 1929. Through this treaty the Vatican acquired sovereignty over its Roman properties, diplomatic relations opened...

  9. 4 Catholic Action Theory and Practice in San Francisco
    (pp. 43-54)

    The Pacific Coast maritime strike from May through July 1934 challenged church leaders and lay men and women to confront an ambiguity created by the pope’s September 1931 agreement with the Fascist government of Italy. Pius XI had agreed to shrink Catholic Action by removing it from electoral politics and restricting its remaining activities to diocesan boundaries. But the pope issued no corresponding reduction in the theory of Catholic Action; its scope and limits had in fact expanded with the Vatican’s encyclical of May 15, 1931, “Quadragesimo Anno,” which called for “reconstruction” of the social order. What did this ambiguity...

  10. 5 Sylvester Andriano and Catholic Action in San Francisco
    (pp. 55-65)

    In the months following the waterfront and general strikes of 1934, Sylvester Andriano and Archbishop John J. Mitty intensified their relationship and collaborated in expanding the Catholic Action presence in San Francisco beyond the academy that Andriano and William Lowery had organized in 1933. On May 12, 1935, the archbishop and the attorney participated in the graduation exercises at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. Mitty awarded the diplomas to the eighty-six graduates, and Andriano gave the commencement address, praising the accomplishments of the class of 1935 but bemoaning “the lapse of Catholic Action” in the curriculum of Catholic schools and...

  11. 6 The Catholic Action Social Apostolate
    (pp. 66-76)

    From the turbulent days of the general strike in July 1934 to Pearl Harbor, Sylvester Andriano, Archbishop Mitty, and their Catholic Action colleagues publicized and expanded what Andriano called “this new crusade” in a multifaceted campaign to establish “real Catholic Action” in northern California. Given the prominence of labor relations issues in San Francisco during the first decade of his service in the city, it is not surprising that Archbishop Mitty placed a high priority on the social apostolate aspect of Catholic Action, defined by Vatican spokesman Cardinal Pizzardo as “concerned with the spread of Catholic social teaching and the...

  12. 7 The Catholic Action Educational and Moral Apostolates
    (pp. 77-88)

    Sylvester Andriano returned from his trip to Italy in the summer of 1938 after obtaining Cardinal Pizzardo’s approval of the San Francisco Catholic Action program, and on September 13 he outlined the new campaign to the assembled priests of the archdiocese at a two-day Diocesan Theological Conference organized by Archbishop Mitty at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Andriano described his feelings when the “supernatural significance” of Catholic Action became more vivid after two meetings in the Vatican with the cardinal by quoting the English Romantic poet John Keats: “felt I like some watcher of the skies when a new planet swims into...

  13. 8 Catholic Action and Communism
    (pp. 89-103)

    Sylvester Andriano and his Catholic Action colleagues followed the lead of both the Vatican and the Chancery Office, believing that their work “includes within its sphere the whole field over which Christian principles should penetrate and be applied.” Their determination to base public policy on Catholic moral principles put them on a collision course with the leaders of San Francisco’s Communist Party (CP). If Catholic Action work evolved in response to Vatican policy, archdiocesan direction, and lay activism, Communist Party work developed in response to Comintern policy, district leadership, and local initiative. The party developed a growing presence in the...

  14. 9 Catholic Action, European Crises, and San Francisco Politics
    (pp. 104-121)

    On March 19, 1937, the local fuel that had fired the Catholic Action anti-Communist campaign since the 1934 maritime and general strikes received a powerful assist from the Vatican when Pope Pius XI published his encyclical “Divini Redemptoris” (On Atheistic Communism). A scathing indictment of “bolshevistic and atheistic Communism, which aims at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization,” the pope’s message also contained a reassertion of the importance of grassroots Catholic Action workers throughout the world—“Our beloved sons among the laity who are doing battle in the ranks of Catholic Action.” According...

  15. 10 Andriano’s Ordeal: The Loyalty Hearings
    (pp. 122-145)

    Criticism of Catholic leaders such as Sylvester Andriano, who had participated in the Italian government’s outreach programs during the Fascist regime and who had never made public condemnations of Mussolini, increased in volume and reached a crescendo pitch in late 1939 and 1940. Following the Nazi-Soviet pact in August 1939 and Germany’s attack on Poland in September, more Italian political exiles,fuorusciti, arrived in the United States determined to fight Fascism from a distance. Gaetano Salvameni, Max Ascoli, and other anti-Communist opponents of Mussolini founded the Mazzini Society, a national organization with local branches aimed at expanding and intensifying the...

  16. 11 Andriano’s Ordeal: Exclusion and Exile
    (pp. 146-164)

    Readers of the May 27, 1942,New York Timesarticle on the Tenney Committee hearings discovered that in response to Carmelo Zito’s testimony, Mayor Angelo Rossi “denied ever having given the Fascist salute,” and that the mayor condemned both Zito (“he is editor of a paper that is always attacking me”) and Antonio Cogliandro (“a political rogue”). TheTimescoverage dramatized to a national readership the long-time political and religious rivalries between Catholics and anti-Catholics in the Italian American community and between Catholic anti-Communists and their Communist Party competitors which had been a fact of life in San Francisco political...

  17. Epilogue
    (pp. 165-172)

    Writing from Denver a month before his return to San Francisco, Sylvester Andriano shared with Professor Hagerty his suspicion that “perhaps I am still potentially dangerous in some quarters.” But he was not referring to the leaders of the San Francisco Catholic Church or the city’s Italian Catholic community, and his Catholic Action work did not end when the cold war began but continued in relation to local, national, and international affairs. In 1944 he directed a Sts. Peter and Paul Church program for war relief called Caritate Dei (For the Love of God), which shipped packages of food and...

  18. Notes
    (pp. 173-198)
  19. Index
    (pp. 199-206)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 207-207)