Recently Published Material on Passionist History

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by Robert E. Carbonneau, C.P., Ph.D.

I  have given two papers on Barnabas Ahern in the last three years at the annual spring meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association. “Piety, Power, and Persuasion: The Ascendancy of Rev. Barnabas M. Ahern, C.P. to the International Theological Commission in 1969” was presented at the 1997 meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia. It has been recently published in the Fall 1998 edition of The Passionist which is published by Holy Cross Province.

On March 19, 1999 I presented a paper entitled “Barnabas Ahern, C.P., Catholic Scripture and Tradition in the Post-Conciliar Era, 1968-1995: Defining Biographical Boundaries and Historiographical Questions.” The presentation was made at the meeting at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pennsylvania.

In the past two years the I have published the following:

  • “It Can Happen Here: Bishop Cuthbert O’Gara, C.P. and the Gospel of Anticommunism in Cold War America” Mission Studies Vol. XV, No. 2 (1998) pp. 2-30. This article uses the personal papers of Bishop Cuthbert O�Gara and examines his preaching in the United States upon his release from China in 1953 till his death in 1968. I suggest that his content and style assisted American Catholics in developing their image of China as a Communist threat and that he tied that threat in to many sub-themes which preyed upon fears in American Catholicism at the time.
  • “The Chinese Catholic Church and the Quest for a Reconciliation Narrative,” Canon Law Society of America Proceedings 59 (1997) pp. 105-122. This article is based upon a workshop given at the 1997 convention of the Canon Law Society of the United States held in La Jolla, California. It is an historical overview of the Catholic Church in China. I suggest that contemporary understanding of church issues requires historical understanding as well. How will reconciliation with China occur? One means to keep alive the process is to respect Chinese history.
  • “The Department of External Affairs and the Release of Bishop Cuthbert O’Gara from Chinese Prison, 1951-1953,” Historical Studies [Journal of The Canadian Catholic Historical Association ] 63 (1997) pp. 101-114. This article answers the question of how Bishop Cuthbert O’Gara was released from prison. It is based upon the diplomatic papers on Bishop O’Gara which were located at the Canadian Archives in Ottawa. It is the official file of the Bishop in External Affairs. It shows that Bishop O’Gara was released from prison because the Canadians, through Great Britain, were open to negotiate with China. At the height of the Korean War the United States was putting pressure on Lester Pearson of Canada to get tough with China. Pearson took the high road and did not succumb to United States pressure. In part, the release of Bishop O’Gara was an example of Pearson holding his own diplomatic ground against American attitudes.

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