Patrick Joseph Ryan

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Sacred Heart Monastery, Kensington, New South Wales, where Ryan taught philosophy

Patrick Joseph "Paddy" Ryan (1904 – 1969), an Australian Catholic priest and anti-communist organiser, was born in Albury, New South Wales in 1904. He was ordained as a priest in the order of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in 1929. After gaining a doctorate in Rome, he returned to Australia and for many years taught philosophy at the order's seminary in Kensington, New South Wales.

Life and career[edit]

He was the principal founder and head in Sydney of the `Movement', the semi-secret Catholic anti-communist organisation that struggled with communism for control of the union movement in the late 1940s and early 1950s, thus being the counterpart of B.A. Santamaria in Melbourne. After the Split in the Labor movement in 1955, however, he, like the majority of Sydney Labor supporters, followed the A.L.P. instead of the new Democratic Labor Party.

Ryan's most prominent public activity was a debate in 1948 in Sydney with Edgar Ross of the Communist Party of Australia on `Whether Communism is the best interests of the Australian people'. An audience of 30,000 heard a vigorous debate. Ryan's many anti-Communist speeches in the next few years helped create the strong Australian Catholic tradition of anti-communism.

Ryan died in 1969.


Australian Dictionary of Biography article on Ryan

J. Franklin, Catholic Values and Australian Realities (Connor Court Publishing, 2006), ch. 2.