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The Coughlin-Fahey Connection

Father Charles E. Coughlin, Father Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp., and Religious Anti-Semitism in the United States, 1938-1954

Mary Christine Athans

This study of the theological roots of the anti-Semitism of Father Charles E. Coughlin, famous 'radio priest' in the United States between the World Wars, discovers in the writings of the Irish theologian, Father Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp., a theological rationale which Coughlin used to justify his anti-Semitic utterances after 1938. Fahey, who studied in France and Rome during the anti-Modernist era, imbibed the conservative ideas prominent in the Roman Catholic Church in that period and translated them into English in Ireland thereby making them available to Coughlin, the Protestant leader Gerald L.K. Smith, and others with an anti-Semitic orientation in the United States. The discovery of Fahey's papers in a seminary basement in Ireland (including letters of Coughlin's after he was 'silenced'), sheds new light on Coughlin's theology.