Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Avella, Stephen M.


The primary aim of this dissertation is to show, through the genre of episcopal biography, that the Roman Catholic church in America played a pivotal role in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy prior to and during the World War II and Cold War era. The dissertation will also point out that U.S. Catholic influence was involved in the initial formulation of America's Cold War policy in the former Yugoslavia. A secondary focus of the dissertation is to provide a discussion of the role of Catholicism in Florida during the post-World War II era. Intimately linked to these seemingly disparate themes is the prominent figure of the Vatican diplomat and Florida Archbishop, Joseph Patrick Hurley (1894-1967). Hurley's career has been largely unexplored in terms of its relation to Vatican and American foreign policy because his papers have been previously inaccessible to academic researchers. With the opening of the Hurley papers, American Catholic historians and historians of American foreign relations are now able to judge accurately some of the principal decisions concerning America, the Vatican, and the American Catholic relationship to World War II and the Cold War. The diplomacy of the Holy See, particularly during the years from 1930 to 1950, has been the subject of much debate, controversy, and scholarly consideration. Such deeply significant historiographical concerns as the Holocaust, Vatican relations vis-a-vis Nazism, and the Holy See's post war Eastern European policy (Ostpolitik), have been examined by many excellent historians with an eye toward seeking the truth concerning topics which have become veiled in the secrecy of state-level international politics. Joseph P. Hurley was involved intimately in many of the principal decisions concerning all three of the aforementioned international issues. It is only through a detailed examination of his life and work that historians may more deeply understand many of the motivations, considerations, and even prejudices which shaped both Vatican and American foreign policy during the era. Thematically, the dissertation will argue that while Hurley, as a patriot bishop, consistently exhibited a unique brand of principled diplomacy based in ideas of American religious liberty, the reception of these professed ideas by both the United States and even the Vatican, at various times, failed to remain constant. The study concludes that both the Holy See and the United States failed, for geopolitical and strategic reasons, to live up to their specific moral and democratic promises. Because he was intimately tied to the affairs of both church and state in the twentieth century, the life of Archbishop Hurley offers an uncomplicated medium through which to grasp these understandable yet lamentable realities...



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