The Woman: Clare Boothe Luce and the Politics of Conversion

At a time when many, and perhaps most, American Protestants harbored suspicions about Catholics’ political loyalties, 'The Real Reason' told the story of a woman at the apex of American power for whom the Roman Catholic Church answered her deepest spiritual questions. Above all, it focused readers’ attention on the story of religious choice, of conversion as a journey through loss and doubt.

Lecture Description

By 1946 Clare Boothe Luce was already serving her second term in Congress (R-CT) and was the author of several well regarded plays, most famously, The Women. Her husband, Henry Luce, stood atop an ever-growing publishing empire. Clare Luce surprised everyone, however, when she converted to Roman Catholicism in 1946 under the tutelage of Monsignor (later Bishop) Fulton Sheen. She seized the attention her conversion generated to promote Catholicism as the solution to global communism. This talk explores the ironies and unintended consequences of Luce’s celebration of Catholic conversion in the late 1940s, arguing for her place among the most influential religious anti-Communists of the mid-20th century.

CATEGORIES

Religion Women

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