70 years ago today - Oct 12, 1949

[David O. McKay]
Mark Petersen called'Said Junius Jackson could tell me about Bishop Hunt's talk (I believe in Chicago) during which Bishop Hunt made the statement that the Catholics here are having such a time with the Mormons because we are 'running everything', and that missionary work is extremely difficult and that it is the reason they are appealing for funds. Bro. Petersen said he would call Brother Jackson and have him come in and give me the facts. Said that Bro. Benson on two or three occasions has had incidents regarding Bishop Hunt called to his attention. ...

Report on visit with Bishop Duane G. Hunt of the Catholic church October 12, 1949:

President McKay reported that yesterday he accepted an invitation from Bishop Hunt of the Catholic Church to meet him at the Holy Cross Hospital this morning at 10 o'clock. President McKay said that Bishop Hunt greeted him courteously and invited him into his private office at the hospital. President McKay summarized the conference as follows:

Bishop Hunt said, 'I am very much perturbed over this pamphlet, for the publication of which I will take the blame. I did not prepare it, but in a thoughtless moment I did approve it.' 'I was caught off guard and I am to blame,''he repeated that. ... Bishop Hunt continued, 'when we found out that our own people objected to it, and that your people especially had objected to it, we discontinued the distribution of the pamphlet.' ...

Now, said Bishop Hunt. 'I would explain that Mission means something different from the meaning you give to it. The term mission, explained Bishop Hunt, 'is used by Catholics in two senses: one for propaganda in non-Christian countries; another in the sense of a mission in a parish, in which the Priest has insufficient funds to carry on his work. We have such a mission in Richfield; we have such a mission in Davis County. When, for example, the Priest down in Richfield is unable to support himself.' (I interrupted and said, 'You mean from the Catholic membership in that Parish, and Bishop Hunt said, Yes) 'Then,' he continued, 'he must call on me for additional funds. It is in this latter sense that we use this term mission in the pamphlet.'

President McKay said: 'I rather think, Bishop, that the people of the United States would not have that distinction in mind, because it says on the pamphlet, 'A Foreign Mission Close to Home.''

Bishop Hunt replied 'I realize that it would be hard for me to make you believe otherwise.' ...

President McKay said, 'Well, now to us that meant that you are doing missionary work here.'

'I can understand that,' said Bishop Hunt, 'but believe me, we are not carrying on missionary work in the sense of propaganda here in these Western States.'

President McKay told Bishop Hunt that he would so report to his associates in the Presidency. ...

'Furthermore,' said Bishop Hunt, 'I have been attacked recently by our Priests because the report has gone out that the Mormons are attacking the Catholics in Utah, and that I, as the Bishop, am doing nothing in retaliation, and,' said Bishop Hunt, 'I am not doing anything, and I do not propose to do anything. Whenever an article was about to appear, I have telephoned them to stop it, if I have known about it.' Bishop Hunt gave me special instances. He said 'Our paper out in Denver will probably print something; I am not sure whether I can stop that or not. There is a feeling throughout the United States (this is from our side now) that the Latter-day Saints are persecuting the Catholics and are going to drive them out of the city, and they blame me for doing nothing about it.'

Bishop Hunt said, 'We are not circulating any of these pamphlets.'

President McKay said, 'We are; we are putting a copy of it in the hands of every one of our Priesthood throughout the Church.'

Bishop Hunt made no comment.

President McKay said''Have you seen our answer to it?'

Bishop Hunt said 'No.'

President McKay said, 'I will send you one. We cannot stop that, because it has already been distributed.'

Bishop Hunt said, 'I am truly sorry; undoubtedly that will fall into hands of the Catholics.' ...

In corroboration of what Bishop Hunt said about his efforts to keep peace between the two churches, he cited some accusations that had been made by members of our Church, including one apostate'

1. The answer of the Deseret News to an attack made by the 'Catholic Register' was very caustic, and the Catholics insisted that Bishop Hunt 'come back at us' but Bishop Hunt said: 'No, we started this thing, and we will stop it.'

2. Remark made by Joseph F. Smith when he was Patriarch to the effect that if the Catholic religion were combed with a fine tooth comb, you would be unable to find one of them who believes in the resurrection of the body from the grave. Bishop Hunt said: 'Members of our Church insisted that we publicize this as a most erroneous statement, but I said: 'No, we shall pay no attention to it.'' Bishop Hunt then said: 'That remark is just as ridiculous as I should say that you could comb the Mormon Church with a fine tooth comb and not find one of them who believes in baptism.'

[David O. McKay Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010]

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