Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Charles Coughlin

This individual is not a direct affiliate of the Berkley Center.

Fr. Charles Coughlin (1891-1979) was a Roman Catholic priest and American radio broadcaster. During the 1930s, Fr. Coughlin's radio shows reached an audience of over thirty million people. Originally a supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fr. Coughlin later turned his budding populist movement against the president, leading efforts for monetary reform, industrial nationalization, and labor protection. His pro-fascist and anti-Semitic sentiments brought him into conflict with both Catholic and American leaders, which led to attempts to cancel his radio show, including a very public visit by Eugene Cardinal Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII). Government restrictions on Fr. Coughlin's ability to use both radio frequencies and the United States postal service significantly hindered his resources, and changing American sentiments following Pearl Harbor effectively ended his movement. He remains one of the most well-known and effective political Catholic clergy members in American history.
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