Catholic Action

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Catholic Action


a general term for the Catholic aposto-late—organizations of laymen functioning under the direct administration of the church hierarchy.

Secular Catholic organizations first originated in Europe in the mid-19th century. Catholic Action organizations operate in Europe (they are especially active in Italy, Spain, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany), Asia, Africa, and North and South America. Catholic Action is a mass, multimillion-member organization that permits the church to effect a penetration into various segments of the population and to subordinate them to its influence owing to the establishment of an extensive network of various types of associations. These latter are at the level of the parish and bishopric and on the national and international level, and they are specialized according to age, sex, and occupation. The largest international associations are the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, the International Federation of Catholic Young Women and Girls, and the World Federation of Catholic Youth.

After World War I (1914–18), despite the church’s constant declarations concerning the apolitical nature of Catholic Action, it became a part of the political struggle. The purpose of Catholic Action is the propagation and dissemination of Catholicism, especially in the developing countries, and the struggle against ideologies and forces that are hostile to Catholicism—above all, communism—as well as against workers’ and democratic movements. Their methods of influence are participation in the process of electoral struggle and the support of Catholic parties; publication of periodicals; engaging in public education and entertainment; training of staffs of activists; missionary work; charities; and individual influence upon believers.

During the 1960’s changes in the church’s position, brought about by the strengthening of the forces of peace, socialism, and democracy, caused the strengthening within Catholic Action of progressive elements that have been advocating a rapprochement with left-wing organizations.


Koval’skii, N. A. Mezhdunarodnye katolicheskie organizatsii. Moscow, 1962.
Falconi, C. La Chiesa e le organizzazioni cattoliche in Europa. Milan, 1960.
Mohr, H. Das Katholische Apostolat: Zur Strategie und Taktik des poli-tischen Katholizismus. Berlin, 1962.


References in periodicals archive ?
s history examines a century and a half in the evolution of the Church's relationship with the modern world: the late 19th-century rise of a defensive "Catholic movement" confronting new liberal European states; the "mass mobilization" of Catholic Action between the two world wars as a response to both Fascism and Communism; and the brief flowering after Vatican II of "progressive" movements seeking greater cooperation with contemporary Western society.
9) Sailors involved in Catholic Action aimed to effect change in their environment, working to make conditions more hospitable and just for living and working.
Shouts must also go to Catholic Action, pictured, and Hector Bizerk ,two Glaswegian bands that supported and smashed it.
Yes, we do need to see a return to Catholic Action if we want to make a difference.
So the Irish Secret Service (bet you didn't know we had one) became engaged in a hush-hush mission to deliver the cash to a shadowy group called Catholic Action in Italy.
They were both involved in the organization Catholic Action and embraced the three pillars of its spirituality: prayer, action, sacrifice.
Yes, yet another anniversary, this time an 80th recalling 1934 when Archbishop Mostyn returned from Rome to found the Cardiff Board of Catholic Action, the world's first organisation to declare total war on those "immoral" films.
Empowering the People of God: Catholic Action Before and After Vatican II
In Italy he observed the growth of Catholic Action and probably had contact with the political wing of Italian Catholic Action.
Moran, chairman of a recently-formed Catholic Lay Council, (27) in which he referred to "our struggle to obtain educational facilities for our children," Moran urged readers, as part of Catholic Action, to exercise their franchise but did not specify how to vote.
Afterwards, they gathered together at the Catholic Action Club where they were treated to a show.