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Sly Seekers after Power

by
May 2001, no. 230

Crusade or Conspiracy?: Catholics and the anti-communist struggle in Australia by Bruce Duncan

UNSW Press, $49.95 pb, 491 pp

Sly Seekers after Power

by
May 2001, no. 230

This lengthy analysis of Catholics and the anti-Communist struggle in Australia during the 1950s uncovers important and previously unreleased primary sources. In line with the author’s background as a Catholic Redemptorist priest, this particularly applies to material from Australian church archives and those of the Vatican, and from the files of B.A. Santamaria’s anti-Communist ‘Movement’. At the time, Santamaria’s ‘crusade’ against the atheistic and allegedly revolutionary Communist Party was strongly supported by the Redemptorist order, especially in Victoria.

Another strength of Father Duncan’s book is the painstaking way in which he details the intrigue and conflict about the Movement within the Catholic Church in Australia. This primarily centred on whether Santamaria’s ultimate aim was not just to defeat the Communists but was also a clandestine bid for political power. In any event, the Sydney hierarchy opposed what they took to be an unwarranted extension of the Movement’s goals. Yet even after they succeeded in obtaining Vatican intervention, Santamaria and his great patron, Melbourne’s Irish-born Archbishop Daniel Mannix, continued to resist Roman efforts to separate the connection between the Movement and the Catholic Church in Australia.

Ross Fitzgerald reviews 'Crusade or Conspiracy?: Catholics and the Anti-Communist Struggle in Australia' by Bruce Duncan

Crusade or Conspiracy?: Catholics and the anti-communist struggle in Australia

by Bruce Duncan

UNSW Press, $49.95 pb, 491 pp

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