REVIEWSrnCatholic Momentsrnby Paul GottfriedrnCatholic Intellectuals andrnConservative Politics in America,rn1950-1985rnby Patrick AllittrnIthaca: Cornell LMversity Press;rn328 pp., $29.95rnPatrick Allitt’s study of Catholic intellectualsrnand their relationship tornpostwar conservatism is clearly presentedrnand full of stimulating perceptions. Basicrnto this book is the contrast betweenrntwo generations of American Catholicrnthinkers with some connection to thernright: the generation of the 50’s as typifiedrnby the Catholic anticommunistsrngrouped around National Review and therngeneration of the 70’s and 80’s as representedrnby Michael Novak, Garry Wills,rnand—at least bv intention—ThomasrnMolnar and John Lukacs. Though thernreader may occasionally lose sight of thernmain theme through the superabundancernof biographical sketches, the author’srnargument holds together all thernsame. Allitt demonstrates to what extentrnanticommunism provided the ideologicalrnentry point into American nationalrnculture for devout Catholics in the postwarrnyears. He correctly points out thatrnwhat separated conservative and liberalrnCatholic intellectuals of the 50’s was thernintensity of their anticommunism, notrnthe question of who was or was not anticommunist.rnAllitt also suggests that thernpro-capitalist stance of many Catholicrnconservatives was derivative of their hatredrnof “godless communism” as the enemyrnof the West: since the anti-Christianrncommunists were socialists as well.rnCatholic anticommunists became freemarketeers,rnexaggerating the openingsrnto a market economy that they claimedrnto find in antisocialist papal encyclicalsrnlike Rerum hlovarum and QuadragesiynornAnno and reading papal defenses of privaternproperty and local political authorityrnand attacks upon atheist socialism asrnendorsements of laissez-faire economicsrnor as critiques of the New Deal.rnAllitt shows that such efforts at integratingrnCatholic social teachings into thernprograms of the American right wererngenerationally situated; thev representedrnattempts by first-generation educatedrnAmerican Catholics to ease the tensionsrnbetween their essentially medievalrnreligious culture and their recently discoveredrnAmerican identity. Anticommunismrnbecame the means towardrnthat end, particularfy in the McCarthyrnera. It then seemed possible to affirmrnone’s Catholic and American loyaltiesrnas a single commitment to protectingrnthe West against the communist Antichrist.rnThe more passionate their anticommunistrnstatements, as Allitt showsrnin the case of the repentant communistturned-rnCatholic Louis Budenz, therngreater the applause American Catholicsrncould expect from their coreligionistsrnand patriotic groups. The success of SenatorrnMcCarthy was obviously instructivernhere.rnThis Catholic anticommunist Americanrnidentity eventually wore thin, as Allittrnmakes clear. The National Reviewrncircle turned critical of papal authorityrnafter the death of the fiercely anticommunistrnPius Xll, and highly literaternCatholics, some on the right, beganrnto ridicule the “apocalyptic anticommunism”rnassociated with National Reviewrnand the McCarthy movement. Notrnonly contributors to Commonwealth andrnAmerica, but even nonliberal emigrernCatholic contributors to NR, ThomasrnMolnar and John Lukacs, expressed distasternfor what they saw as the crudelyrnAmerican rather than truly Catholic crusadernagainst a communist absolute enemy.rnMeanwhile, nonbelieving anticommunistsrnlike Max Eastman and AynrnRand rebelled against the “pontificatingrnand ecclesiastical” character of thernCatholic anticommunist right. By thernmid-60’s, the Catholic-capitalist-anticommunistrnsynthesis incarnated byrnNational Review was at risk. The withdrawalrnfrom that front of the triumphalistrnCatholics, led by Buckley’s brother-inlawrnL. Brent Bozell, who opposed thern”liberal foundations” of the AmericanrnRepublic, was an assault from the rightrnon the American Catholic conservatismrnthat arose in the late 40’s and whosernattempt to marry Catholic faith andrnAmerican patriotism through crusadingrnanticommunism turned out to be unmistakablyrntime-bound.rnAllitt focuses next on a second generationrnof American Catholic intellectualsrnexemplified by Carry Wills and MichaelrnNovak. The pairing is not haphazard.rnDespite the political differences betweenrnthese two men that became apparent byrnthe 80’s, the Catholic Marxist Wills andrnthe Catholic neoconservative Novak hadrnshared experiences: both opposed Americanrninvolvement in the Vietnam Warrnand expressed revulsion for the ProtestantrnAmerica that Catholic conservativesrnhad once hoped to embrace in a patrioticrnalliance. The relationship of these intellectualsrnto their Catholic heritage wasrnin any case more ambivalent than that ofrnAmerican Catholic conservatives of thern50’s. Novak and Wills were more openlyrncritical of the Catholic hierarchy, justrnas they minced no words in assailing thernmoral habits of the WASP majority. Allittrnobserves a sense of cultural alienationrnin these figures, which placed themrnat a painful distance from both theirrnCatholic roots and their American identity.rnBv evoking a pair of Central EuropeanrnCatholics, Molnar and Lukacs, hernidentifies two unexpected precursors ofrnthis second generation. Allitt is remarkablyrnperceptive in pointing up thernconnections between particular Catholicrnintellectuals as critics of the AmericanrnCatholic and American Protestant heritages,rnfinding experiential similaritiesrnbetween people who would gag at thernassociation. Repugnance for Puritanismrnand Yankee materialism is a persistentrntrait in all of the second-generationrnCatholics associated with the Americanrnright whom Allitt examines. ThoughrnMichael Novak has become a selfdescribedrndefender of “democratic capitalism”rnand seems to have distancedrnhimself from the rest of the group, Allittrnshows that even this exception provesrnthe rule, since Noak has denounced thernManchestrian liberalism that he attributesrnto Protestant society while praisingrnthe welfare-state capitalism he identifiesrnwith Catholic ethnics and Jews.rnAllitt also observes the attempts byrnNovak and Wills to define themselves asrn”conservatives,” regardless of their differencesrnwith McCarthyite Catholicsrnand their own changing political allegiances,rnand he shows how the mystiquernof the Catholic right of the 50’s cast arnspell even on some of its Catholic critics.rnMAY 1994/35rnrnrn