John Francis Cronin

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Father John Francis Cronin, S.S. (1908-1994) was a Catholic priest of the Society of St Sulpice (Sulpicians), and a vocal opponent of Communism during the McCarthy era.

Cronin was born in Glens Falls, New York. He attended college at College of the Holy Cross and seminary at the Sulpician seminary of The Catholic University of America.

He taught economics at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland. He was also Assistant Director of the Department of Social Action for the National Catholic Welfare Conference. Toward the end of the Second World War, Cronin wrote a report for the bishops on the Communist Party of the United States. He had the assistance of FBI officials, who unofficially provided some of the background material for him. When Richard Nixon was elected to Congress in 1946, he sought out information on Communism, and he was introduced to Cronin by Rep. Charles J. Kersten (R.WI).

Documented in a paper titled "The Problem Of American Communism In 1945" Cronin wrote, "In the State Department, the most influential Communist has been Alger Hiss.[1] When Whittaker Chambers testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in August 1948 and said that Hiss was a Communist, Nixon already knew about the charge from his conversations with Cronin. After Nixon was elected Vice President, he asked Cronin for help in writing speeches, and Cronin became an unpaid assistant to the vice president.

He authored the book Communism: A World Menace. However, despite his strong opposition to Communism, Cronin criticized Joseph McCarthy and other anticommunist extremists in the United States, whom he accused of fostering national disunity.

In the 1950s-1960s, he advocated increased civil rights for all Americans. He wrote two of the bishops' statements on race relations and lobbied them to see that they accepted the drafts.



  • Brugger, Robert (1996). Maryland: A Middle Temperament. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Callcott, George (1985). Maryland and America, 1940-1980. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Donovan, John T. (2005) Crusader in the Cold War: A Biography of Fr. John F. Cronin, S.S. (1908-1994). New York: Peter Lang
  • Rosswurm, Steve (2010). The FBI and the Catholic Church, 1935-1962
  • Saxon, Wolfgang (1994). "John F. Cronin, 85: Priest and an Expert on Race Relations." New York Times. January 5.


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