Lessons from Father Charles Coughlin: America’s first mass-media demagogue priest
A charismatic demagogue with millions of devoted followers. A novel means of communication with little government regulation and few guardrails. The threat of violence in the streets and a country in crisis.
No, we’re not talking about the 45th president but America’s first radio priest, Father Charles Coughlin. On “Radioactive,” a new podcast series from Tablet Studios, Andrew Lapin takes listeners through the history of Father Coughlin, who through a mixture of Catholic piety, anti-Semitism and raw political ambition became the most popular voice on the U.S. airwaves during the Great Depression and the lead up to World War II.
We ask Andrew what Father Coughlin’s story can tell us about the connection between religious demagoguery and authoritarianism; the Wild West of new media platforms; and the failure of the church to rein in Catholics who exploit these toxic forces.
In Signs of the Times, Zac and Ashley share some Pope Francis-inspired New Year’s resolutions and give their predictions for Catholic stories coming in 2022.
Links from the show:
- Volunteer, stop judging and get off Twitter: 8 New Year’s Resolutions Inspired by Pope Francis
- Pope Francis’ action-packed agenda for 2022
- Potentially explosive report will document handling of sex abuse in Pope Benedict’s former diocese
- Who will be the first Black Catholic saint from the United States?
- Join our Patreon community
- Come to Italy with Jesuitical!
What’s on tap?
Bringing in the New Year with some Bubbly