March 6, 2012

Father Coughlin - crossing the line one too many times.

With the current storm of controversy regarding abuse of the otherwise public airwaves and crossing the line one too many times, it's not without precedent.

In December 1938, having broadcast yet another in a stinging series of anti-Semitic tirades, the Vatican finally had enough. As someone who was supposed to represent the Catholic Church, Father Charles Coughlin repeatedly missed the marked many times over the years. Since he began broadcasting in 1926 he was known for his rants against Communism, immigration, the New Deal, just about anything that played on the fears of the public. His popularity was vast and his audience was largely uninformed.

So on December 12, 1938 Cardinal Mundelein, the Archbishop of Chicago and second-in-line to the Papacy issued a censure of Coughlin and his statement was read over the air so listeners would understand, on no uncertain terms, where the Catholic Church stood with reference to Coughlin.

The eventual result was losing his network affiliation (CBS), but he still continued to broadcast for a few years after by way of independent stations, supported by like-minded sponsors and contributors, before his popularity whittled down to almost nothing and he abandoned his once thriving radio empire.

Here is that statement, as broadcast to the country on December 12, 1938. It's short, but it gets its point across.

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