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Catholic Studies | Journalism Studies | Publishing | Sociology of Religion | United States History


This chapter deals with Msgr. Bosler’s relations with two archbishops-publishers with very different approaches with regard to their editor’s independence. Bosler held that a diocesan paper ought not be a company newsletter filled with nothing but what is of “good report” of the Church, but rather deal with the pressing public foreign and domestic issues. Under Bosler’s editorial hand, that meant the Cold War, NATO, the United Nations, immigration, medical care for the aged and disabled, right to work laws, race, housing, McCarthyism, the John Birch Society, Vietnam, the women’s rights movement, and more.

In conducting the “Question Box” for so many years, Bosler dealt with the laity’s concerns he judged both trivial (the proper disposal of religious articles) and substantive (no salvation outside the Catholic Church). During and after the ‘50s and ‘60s, thanks in part to Alfred Kinsey, frank discussion of sex made its way onto the public agenda and into newspaper pages as never before. Abortion, birth control, homosexuality, AIDS—all now grist to the journalist’s mill--found their way into Bosler’s Criterion.

A second chapter on Bosler’s life and career, beginning with his dispatches on the four sessions of the Second Vatican Council, 1962-1965, is also available. As with his liberal views on other matters that had attracted charges of “socialism,” his championing of the council’s progressivism found him out of step with conservative readers and later Archbishop George Biskup, not least in regard to his views on moral theology.


Copyright 2017 William Doherty.


William Doherty is Professor Emeritus within the Department of History and Social Sciences, teaching from the Fall of 1963 to December 2000.