Uncharted Territory: The American Catholic Church at the United Nations, 1946-1972
Uncharted Territory chronicles the groundbreaking attempt by the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) to mold the United Nations in the image ... Show synopsis Uncharted Territory chronicles the groundbreaking attempt by the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) to mold the United Nations in the image of a Catholic world order through the NCWC Office for UN Affairs. In 1945 the once-isolationist American Catholic Church appointed "consultants" to the United States delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco. In their crusade to "Catholicize" the UN Charter these Catholic international affairs specialists realized only partial success. Nevertheless, this limited accomplishment was sufficient impetus for the American hierarchy to monitor and lobby the new world organization. With the advent of the cold war the bishops of the United States, through their UN Office, moved in the direction of international activism, bringing to the fore the social theories and objectives of several twentieth-century popes, in order to thwart world communism and advance the objectives of Catholic social and political thought. Utilizing the archives of the NCWC Social Action Department, its General Secretary Files, and the papers of Catherine Schaefer, director of the UN Office, among others, Joseph S. Rossi examines this bold and unprecedented experiment from its inauguration in 1946 to its cessation in May of 1972. He highlights Schaefer's leadership in the development of a "conference" of Catholic organizations (NGOs) whose representatives would be accredited by the UN. This new study culminates with a detailed inquiry into the dissolution of the UN Office and the termination of an official American Catholic presence at the United Nations. Ultimately, the controversy surrounding this landmark decision envelopednot only the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference, and American Catholic leaders, such as then-Archbishop Joseph Bernardin, but extended beyond that, to international Catholic circles and even to the Roman Curia and the privy office of the pope.