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

William Issel

Publication Year: 2009

Against a backdrop of war and anti-Catholic sentiment, one man loses his rights because he is falsely accused
In 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.

Published by: Temple University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

This book could not have been written without the assistance of Jeffrey M. Burns, the director of the Chancery Archives of the Archdiocese of San Francisco; Susan Goldstein, Pat Akre, Christina Moretta, Tami J. Suzuki, and their colleagues at the San Francisco History Center of the San Francisco Public Library; ...

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pp. 1-14

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. ...

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1. Sylvester Andriano, a Catholic Attorney in San Francisco

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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 ...

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2. Anti-Catholicism in Little Italy

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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, ...

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3. Catholic Action,from Rome to San Francisco

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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 ...

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4. Catholic Action Theory and Practice in San Francisco

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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 ...

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5. Sylvester Andriano and Catholic Action in San Francisco

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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. ...

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6. The Catholic Action Social Apostolate

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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. ...

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7. The Catholic Action Educational and Moral Apostolates

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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 ...

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8. Catholic Action and Communism

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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 ...

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9. Catholic Action, European Crises,and San Francisco Politics

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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, ...

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10. Andriano’s Ordeal The Loyalty Hearings

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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. ...

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11. Andriano’s Ordeal Exclusion and Exile

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pp. 146-164

Readers of the May 27, 1942, New York Times article 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”). ...

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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, ...


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pp. 173-198


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pp. 199-207

E-ISBN-13: 9781439900307

Publication Year: 2009