The making of the Catholic labour activist: The Catholic Social Guild and Catholic Workers' College, 1909-1939

Keating, Joan
December 1994
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Winter94, Vol. 59 Issue 3, p44
Academic Journal
The article focuses on the Catholic labour activism in Great Britain. There is an absence of any serious consideration by labour historians of the role of Roman Catholics in the British labour movement. While a Catholic factor is often blithely cited as of relevance at various periods and localities, this is often done with little substantiation. Much is made of perceived Catholic dissent on issues such as denominational schools, contraception and the Spanish Civil War. For some, notably those on the anti-clerical left, the idea that the Catholic Church showed an interest in the political activities of its members is and was unpalatable. Attention was drawn to organisations, initiated by prominent members of the Church, which sought to educate the faithful in civic activity. Among historians there has been a failure to look at what these Catholic organisations actually taught and how they operated; reflecting a general unwillingness to believe that anything good could come out of them. They are represented as sinister pressure groups concerned exclusively with securing advancement for controversial Catholic ideas.


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