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Epilogue Perhaps I am still potentially dangerous in some quarters. —Sylvester Andriano to James Hagerty, November 12, 1943 Catholic Action is a world wide movement, and departments of the National Conference are all represented in San Francisco. We Communists have been negligent in taking this factor into consideration. —San Francisco Communist Party County Committee, 1948 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 clothing to the residents of Italian cities. Andriano’s work was rewarded with yet another commendation from Italy, this time from Pope Pius XII. In October 1946 he accepted the presidency of the Italian Catholic Federation, succeeding Father Bandini and Luigi Providenza, who had headed the organization during the war years. In his presidential address he noted that “many of the Italian and Italian-American organizations that flourished here before the war are now either dormant or dead, and social and cultural life among our people has 166 EPILOGUE suffered accordingly.” He announced an “all-embracing program, the Program of the Three C’s: Charity; Citizenship; Catholicism.”1 The Communist Party did consider Sylvester Andriano and Catholic Action still potentially dangerous. In 1944 Oleta O’Connor Yates managed to get an appointment to Mayor Roger D. Lapham’s Council for Civic Unity; at the first meeting of the council the chairman stressed that “members should feel free to speak their minds.” However, Yates found herself the only radical in a sixteen-member committee dominated by moderates and conservatives. They included Father Thomas F. Burke, Archbishop Mitty’s hand-picked delegate for civil rights work, and Catholic Action activist and city controller Harold Boyd. The chairman was attorney Maurice Harrison , a friend of Andriano’s since the mid-1920s and fellow Catholic Action stalwart in the St. Thomas More Society. Yates continued her attempts to win public office, running unsuccessfully for a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1947. (She was later convicted of violating the Smith Act, but the Supreme Court reversed the verdict on First Amendment grounds in 1957 in Yates v. United States.)2 In the spring of 1948, frustrated by its inability to limit Catholic political power in local elections and in the labor movement, the San Francisco CP’s county committee commissioned a research report on “Catholicism in San Francisco.” The report went out to all San Francisco party members, along with a recommendation for “our people” to “read LENIN ON RELIGION.” “We Communists have been negligent in taking this factor into consideration, and while there has been a token recognition of the importance of Catholicism in our community, we have not given it the attention it merits.” Party activists discussed the eight-page single-spaced report at neighborhood branch meetings and then at a day-long conference in September. As they prepared for the 1948 elections, San Francisco Communists did so with the understanding that “Catholicism has a broad mass appeal which has been carefully fostered over the centuries,” that “Catholic Action is a world wide movement,” and that “the Church through Catholic Action is out to reclaim its lost worlds.”3 EPILOGUE 167 In August 1955, now sixty-six years old, Andriano was inducted into the Knights of Malta, a prestigious Catholic charitable organization with medieval military roots, and a month later he presided at the first postwar meeting of the Italian Chamber of Commerce. He began to cut back in his law practice and his community work, but he agreed to serve as the northern California chairman of the American Conference on Italian Migration, assisting with the national organization’s fundraising efforts. In 1956, when Archbishop John J. Mitty celebrated his fiftieth anniversary as a priest and his thirtieth anniversary as a bishop at a Palace Hotel banquet, Andriano sat at his right hand and gave the keynote address. Several months later Oleta O’Connor Yates resigned from the Communist Party. According to her husband, in an interview recounting her career after she died in 1964...


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