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Crossing Parish BoundariesRace, Sports, and Catholic Youth in Chicago, 1914-1954$
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Timothy B. Neary

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226388762

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226388939.001.0001

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The Fight Outside the Ring: Antiracism in the CYO

The Fight Outside the Ring: Antiracism in the CYO

(p.135) Chapter Five The Fight Outside the Ring: Antiracism in the CYO
Crossing Parish Boundaries

Timothy B. Neary

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the antiracist and interracial ideologies and practices of Chicago’s Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), 1930-1954. Founder-director Bishop Bernard Sheil—a strong anticommunist who also promoted interfaith understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews—was the antithesis during the Great Depression of the Rev. Charles Coughlin, Detroit’s anti-Semitic radio priest. Guided by the social justice principles of Catholic Action, Sheil supported the Double V campaign during World War II and invited Catherine de Hueck to establish an interracial Friendship House on Chicago’s South Side in 1942. The Sheil School for Social Studies opened in 1943 with courses in African American history and culture. Financial difficulties, church politics, and postwar conservatism led to the decline of Sheil and the CYO by the early 1950s. Before resigning from the CYO directorship in 1954, Sheil roundly attacked Senator Joseph McCarthy’s use of Red Scare tactics. Sheil’s departure signified changes in the church and U.S. society.

Keywords:   anticommunist, anti-Semitic, Catholic Action, Reverand Charles Coughlin, CYO, Double V, Friendship House, Josephy McCarthy, Bishop Bernard Sheil, Sheil School, Catholic Youth Organization

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