Title

Women, Catholicism and World War II

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

1992

Advisor

Martha Tomhave Blauvelt

Abstract

This thesis is an attempt to demonstrate the consistency in American Catholic ideology, particularly with regard to women and their role in the home. Catholicism has continuously emphasized that the proper sphere of a mother is in the home; this issue has been addressed over and over again in the Catholic teaching. During World War II there was an intense surge of propaganda attempting to lure women into the work force for the war effort. A dilemma arose within the Church as to how to balance wartime needs with their own stance on women. With little exception, the Catholic Church adamantly advocated that mothers with children remain in the home, regardless of wartime necessity. Looking at Catholicism in an historical context it is shown that, instead of being an unpatriotic, un-American gesture, the Catholic stance on women actually demonstrates a forceful patriotism which views the home as the foundation of a strong, stable nation; the mother is necessary to create a strong family which will, in turn, serve as the "bulwark of democracy," a very American goal. Furthermore, this would show that Catholics were,indeed, American and that Catholic ideals complemented American goals. Thus, Catholicism's consistency with regard to women, patriotism and war can be seen converging into a solid ideology by the end of World War II.

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