How to Go to Hell

February 8th, 2011

How to Go to Hell

March 1937, page 13

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At first glance, the title of this article would seem to confirm all of today’s stereotypes of Catholic life before Vatican II: a rule-bound people awash in fear of eternal damnation. If there was ever any truth to that stereotype, Fr. Paul Hanly Furfey put it to good use in a way you might not expect in this passionate, uncompromising condemnation of racism. This was another topic close to the heart of Catholic Digest. Articles against racism, lynching, and segregation, and in favor of integration and racial justice were regular features of the magazine in the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s. and ’60s.


Fr. Furfey, who would go on to a distinguished career as a professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America, was 30 years old when he wrote this article. It appeared at a time when integration and racial justice were not particularly popular topics in American Catholicism, and 18 years before Rosa Parks’s protest on a Birmingham bus sparked the modern civil rights movement.


Dan Connors



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