Today in Catholic History – Our Sunday Visitor offers $10,000 reward

On 30 March 1913, The Our Sunday Visitor newspaper offered a reward of $10,000 to anyone who could successfully provide evidence of the proof for the many anti-Catholic accusations which were then being expressed.

Indeed, one of the reasons Father John Francis Noll had begun the newspaper on 5 May 1912 was precisely to respond to the large amount of anti-Catholic literature published at this time including a particularly vitriolic socialist newspaper called “The Menace”. While Father Noll was especially concerned with “The Menace”, he also wanted to respond to attacks against the Catholic Church contained in other papers such as “The Guardian”, “The Liberator”, “The Sentinel of Liberty”, “The Peril”, “The American Defender”, “The Converted Catholic Evangelist”, and “The Good Citizen”.

The accusations made against the Catholic Church included such things as charges that Catholics could not be loyal to the US Government, the Catholic Church sought to control American politics, Catholics were forbidden to read the Bible, that Catholics worshiped statues, that monasteries and convents were full of immorality, that the Jesuits taught the principle “the end justifies the means”, that the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus required its members to exterminate Protestants and that the Jesuits promised to do the same, that women were forced into convents against their will and that Catholics wanted to destroy public education.

Our Sunday Visitor would again offer this reward over the following decades but it was never claimed.

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