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By T. Villis

Drawing considerably at the strategies and phrases of Catholic writers and cultural commentators, Villis sheds new mild on non secular identification and political extremism in early twentieth-century Britain. The booklet constitutes a complete learn of ways within which British Catholic groups reacted to fascism either at domestic and in a foreign country.

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Extra info for British Catholics and Fascism: Religious Identity and Political Extremism Between the Wars

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6 Martin J. 7 For all that this fund was intended to be politically neutral, few believed it. Catholics who urged less partisan campaigning or who sympathised with the left were dealt with curtly by Hinsley’s office. 8 The Hierarchy 29 Hinsley also showed scant sympathy with the Basque cause. José I. de Lizaso from the London Delegation of the Spanish Embassy complained to Hinsley about the treatment of Basques after the bombardment of Bilbao. ’9 This suggests that Hinsley was uncritically accepting the Nationalist versions of events.

Similarly, it is fraught with methodological difficulties to suggest that a changing editorial line represented shifts of opinion within the readership. The perils of reading the correspondence columns as evidence of the views of the readership are also well known: this is hardly the voice of the silent majority. However, these newspapers often helped introduced their readers to the rise of fascism and provided a number of nominally ‘Catholic’ interpretations of its relevance. As such they could play a role in framing and leading the debate for their readership.

Hinsley claimed this was a ‘violent attack’ which showed ‘both lack of discrimination and judgement and lack of loyalty’, and he bemoaned the ‘credulity given to Red propaganda’. 12 Such evidence suggests that Hinsley was virtually a propagandist for the Nationalist cause. However, he also self-aware enough to realise that such overt politicisation of his Church was neither popular nor desirable. As such, his public duty in many cases triumphed over his private prejudices. 14 He was also careful to recommend that organisations such as the Catholic Evidence Guild limited themselves to religious questions, despite calls from some of their members to engage with more overtly political questions.

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