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The congregation of St. Anthony's parish in Bellevue, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati, was stunned on Sunday, December 7, 1902, when Father Thomas McGrady, its beloved pastor, announced his resignation. According to the fullest newspaper account, "there was bowing of heads, women and children wept." With great affection, the account continued, "almost all of the congregation lingered and crowded around their beloved pastor, weeping and pleading with him not to leave them." He told them he would remain in the community, "only not as their priest."

This account examines McGrady's decision to become a socialist, his experience trying to combine priesthood of a parish with socialist activity, the conflicts this combination brought with his bishop, and consequences in his personal life. It enlarges understanding of both American religious history and the important history of American socialism in its heyday before World War I.

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