On Halloween of 1980 E. Michael Jones, then an assistant professor of American Literature at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, was informed that he had just been fired. The announcement came as a surprise at least in part because Jones had arrived at the college with the assurance that he had a six-year, tenure track contract just one year before. When he asked Elizabeth Noel, then department chairman, why he had been fired, Noel said it was because he was "an absolutist." In his first and only annual evaluation a few weeks before, Noel had told Jones that many of his colleagues were upset about his stand on abortion. When Jones protested that he was against abortion, that St. Mary’s was a Catholic college, and that his views should be protected by academic freedom, Noel shrugged off the response and said that she was telling him for his own good.
Rather than return to academic life, Jones started Fidelity Magazine in November of 1981, first as editor in collaboration with the Wanderer Forum Foundation, then, beginning in June of 1984, as editor and publisher. The founding of Fidelity Magazine took place during the third year of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II and the first year of Ronald Reagan’s first term in office. During the preceding fall, Reagan ran as the first antiabortion candidate in the history of the United States, and on his first visit to the United States Pope John Paul II denounced abortion both to the United States Supreme Court and in front of the largest crowd ever assembled in the history of Philadelphia. It was a time of unanimity of purpose for American Catholics, but the collaboration between pope and president reached its culmination, not on the abortion issue, which did not get resolved, but with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
With the fall of communism, many things fell apart. Along with the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, American conservatism fell apart as well, losing the common enemy that had held it together since the end of World War II. At around the same time that the Berlin Wall came down, Jones was named official biographer of John Cardinal Krol of Philadelphia, an assignment which gave him access to Krol’s papers at the archdiocesan archives. Poring over the 200 cubic feet of documentation in the Krol papers, Jones began to see that what he initially saw as an intra-Catholic struggle between "liberals" and "conservatives" was really a pancultural assault on the Catholic Church which began with Paul Blanshard’s anti-Catholic articles in The Nation in 1947 and culminated in the sexual revolution of the 1960s. The internal split in the Catholic Church, the one which led to Jones being fired from a Catholic college for opposing abortion, had its source in a struggle between the Catholics, whose political power rose during the post-World War II in the demographic surge known as the baby boom, and the demographically enfeebled WASP establishment, a group which was rapidly losing political power but still held on to the courts and the instruments of culture. The "liberal" faction in the Catholic Church was in effect the WASP funded fifth column whose purposed was to undermine the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception. The culmination of that collaboration came during the summer of 1965 when the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh arranged a private audience between Pope Paul VI and John D. Rockefeller, 3rd, during which meeting Rockefeller volunteered to help write the pope’s birth control encyclical for him.
After documenting the collaboration between Hesburgh and the Rockefellers in John Cardinal Krol and the Cultural Revolution, Jones began to feel that the "liberal/conservative" paradigm did not do justice to a cultural struggle whose boundaries went far beyond the Catholic Church in America. As a result, he began using the term "Kulturkampf," taken from Bismark’s anti-Catholic campaign of the 1870s, to describe the parameters of the struggle. Jones’s translation of "Kulturkampf" was "Culture Wars," and after 15 years, Fidelity evolved into Culture Wars.
The index of the archives of the 15-year-long career of Fidelity Magazine are now available on line. The articles in Fidelity Magazine chronicle the years which saw the successful culmination of the anti-Communist Crusade. They also chronicle the forces which brought about the dissolution of the Catholic half of that coalition, in particular, the rise of Medjugorje and other phony apparitions and cults. The articles show as well the intractable nature of the problems which the Church faced in the West while she triumphed in eastern Europe over communism: the corrupting effect sexual deviance had on Catholic education, the Church's failure to integrate new movements like the Charismatics, the connection between the moral life and the intellectual life as documented in the spate of biographies on seminal modern figures which appeared around this time, the rise of globalism, the inadequacies of "conservative" economics, the inadequacies of the traditionalist response to modernity in general and the postconciliar period in particular, the continuing failure to deal with the alienation of universities like Notre Dame and the ongoing struggle over Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the church's continuing failure to regain control over its own institutions. All of these topics are covered in a series of ongoing meditations free of deforming agendas by people who were galvanized into action during a unique moment of historical optimism, which like most moments in history both did and did not fulfill the expectations of the people who lived through it.