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430 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

In the beginning, his mind was focused on people outside the

Church—those whom he wished to convert to Catholicism and those who

specialized in anti-Catholic bigotry and propaganda. His first venture for

converting non-Catholics was the booklet

Kind Words from Your Pastor

. He

chose a welcoming title to disarm suspicious readers and offer them an

inviting look at Catholic teaching.

In 1913, he wrote

Father Smith Instructs Jackson

, an imaginary dia-

logue between a priest and a potential convert. A bestseller for over sixty

years, it was a huge publishing success as well as a remarkable evange-

lizing tool that brought countless numbers of people into the Church.

When it came to defending the Church against the various anti-

Catholic attacks, Fr. Noll began to publish a four-page newspaper,


Sunday Visitor

. In the years that followed, this project became a general-

interest Catholic newspaper with a national circulation that continues to

serve the cause of Catholic truth to this day.

In 1925, Fr. Noll founded the magazine


, which in 1945



, a publication that continues to support and serve the

needs of clergy. Eventually, these efforts were organized into Our Sunday

Visitor Publishing Company, to which was added a full-scale book

publishing section.

In 1925, Fr. Noll became the bishop of Fort Wayne. During his thirty-

one–year tenure, he helped to make the Church’s influence on society

more visible. He was one of the original members of the bishops’ commit-

tee that formed the Legion of Decency to combat immorality in the mov-

ies by evaluating films and rating their suitability or absence thereof for

public viewing. Fr. Noll was the first chairman of the National Organization

for Decent Literature. Ever the evangelizer, he served on the Board of

Catholic Missions for twenty-five years. Pope Pius XII gave him the honor-

ary title of “Personal Archbishop” in 1953. Bishop Noll died in 1956.

As priest and as bishop, John Francis Noll understood the implica-

tions of the Eighth Commandment. Not only should each person avoid

lying and tell the truth, but individuals and the Church herself must

publicly proclaim the truth and expose the deceit of those who willfully

undermine the Church. He knew the value of presenting the truths of the

Church in a clear manner and was unafraid to defend the Church against

her detractors.