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160                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            solo article, “The Church, Mid-Century and the Negro,” my longtime
            straight friend, Frank E. Fortkamp, and I wrote about our civil rights
            experiences working together on the Chicago South Side in “Bringing
            Christ to Woodlawn: The Story of Last Summer’s Most Ambitious,
            Large-Scale, Parish Census Project in the United States” (TJR, October
            23, 1963). [This was the same neighborhood worked in the same way by
            Barack Obama in his own youth twenty-five years later: we shared the
            same mentor in the social organizer Saul Alinsky. — JF, 2008]
               In a lighter entertainment vein, my short fiction published in The
            Josephinum Review, beginning when I was a teenager, was only nominally
            Catholic, and rather cynical — even mocking as one could be in those
            innocent days, verging on camp — in holiday stories such as “Timo-
            thy and the Shamrocks” (3/12/58), “Juicy Fruit Was Down That Day”
            (11/12/58), the anti-Valentine’s story, “The Good-Timing Pinkhams of
            Chowder Lane” (2/13/63), and “It Came upon a Midnight, Dear” (ironi-
            cally published 12/25/63, ten days after my final exit from the Josephi-
               Because The Josephinum Review paid $5 per story and article, I much
            preferred other Catholic rags such as The Torch that paid $18 per story
            for my tales spun out of my torrid Catholic vision of social justice: the
            closeted “The Odyssey of Bobby Joad” (08/61), the filial “Father and Son”
            (08/63), the Latino “The Untimely Death of J. Cristobal” (02/64), and
            the racial “Nobody Knows What Sorrow” (12/64).
               As early as 1958, Leonard Fick connected me professionally to the
            publisher of his books, the Newman Press, in Westminster, MD. I loved
            the work, pretended I was in a Greenwich Village garret, and refused
            to consider that Newman Press was a sweat shop. For $50 per volume,
            I proofed, copy edited, rewrote, and re-translated several books written
            by German theologians such as the three-volume, 1500-page, The Law
            of Christ by Bernard Haring. I took my reward indirectly. When W. C.
            Fields was asked if he read the Bible, he responded he did — looking for
            loopholes. In a similar way, during the liberationist climate of Vatican II,
            I felt free in my editing and translating for Newman to loosen up some
            of the stringent German texts of moral theology to make life easier for
            real-life American Catholics.
               The Catholic press has always been as provocative a niche as any
            other subculture’s including the GLBT press.
               My career as a Catholic writer reached toward worldly glamour with
            my very closeted features, “James Dean: Magnificent Failure,” in Catholic
            Preview of Entertainment (06/62), and “Darling! What to Do at a Dirty
            Movie,” Today magazine (05/66).

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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