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The Militant, 28 March 1949

Ruth Johnson

The Meanest Man of the Month

From The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 13, 28 March 1949, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


You may have read occasional newspaper stories about some wretch who steals pennies from newsboys or blind men. My vote for the “meanest man of the month,” however, goes to the Right Rev. Monsignor John O’Grady, who in the name of charity wants to deprive millions of kids of relief and medical care.

O’Grady is the secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Charities. As its spokesman, he went to Washington on March 13 to tell the House Ways and Means Committee to stop the proposed federal assistance program.

This great-hearted spokesman of the Catholic hierarchy wasn’t worried because the federal relief program is too small to help all the unfortunates who need aid under capitalism. Oh, no! He’s against it because he’s afraid it will put his own charity racket right out of business.

“How can we maintain our spirit of Christian charity, our spirit of brotherhood, without the appeal of the great institutions for the care of children?” he wailed.

Keep the kids hungry, so that the O’Gradys can know the joy of pitying them! And so, that the Catholic hierarchy can keep on collecting vast funds from others whose sympathy is less cynical, whose generosity is touched by the plight of suffering children!

Let private, religious, and local organizations handle relief, he demands. For the federal government to “guarantee every family what it needs on a budget basis,” O’Grady laments, is nothing less than “national control of family life.”

Will the powerful Catholic hierarchy, with its vast treasury from contributions and business investments, fill the desperate needs of the people and thus “save” them from the threat of government aid? Not at all! O’Grady flatly opposes more funds for the underprivileged, from any source:

“We had always expected that aid to dependent children would solve many of the problems of child dependency and delinquency, but we have been disillusioned.” Instead, he says – like all who excuse their greed by slandering their own victims – the Catholic hierarchy found “wholesale neglect” of children whose families received its aid.

So what to do? Clearly, he leaves one course: let the children come humbly begging alms at the door of the resplendent Catholic dignitaries. Let them kneel in desperation before the well-fed and righteous clerics, who can dispense or withhold the wealth poured into their coffers for charity.

In a word, let there be “control of family life” by the Catholic hierarchy, or no life at all for the children of the poor!

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