Hardback
September 17, 1998
9780813120676
English
216
illus
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.3 Pounds (US)
$70.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

Selling Catholicism

Bishop Sheen and the Power of Television

When the popularity of Milton Berle's television show began to slip, Berle quipped, "At least I'm losing my ratings to God!" He was referring to the popularity of "Life Is Worth Living" and its host, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. The show aired from 1952 to 1957, and Sheen won an Emmy, beating competition that included Lucille Ball, Jimmy Durante, and Edward R. Murrow.

What was the secret to Sheen's on-air success? Christopher Lynch examines how he reached a diverse audience by using television to synthesize traditional American Protestantism with a reassuring vision of Catholicism as patriotic and traditional. Sheen provided his viewers with a sense of stability by sentimentalizing the medieval world and holding it out as a model for contemporary society. Offering clear-cut moral direction in order to eliminate the anxiety of cultural change, he discussed topics ranging from the role of women to the perils of Communism.

Sheen's rhetoric united both Protestant and Catholic audiences, reflecting—and forming—a vision of mainstream, postwar America. Lynch argues that Sheen's persuasive television presentations helped Catholics gain social acceptance and paved the way for religious ecumenism in America. Yet, Sheen's work also sowed the seeds for the crisis of competing ideologies in the modern American Catholic Church.

About the Author

Christopher Lynch is an assistant professor and freshman seminar director in the Department of Communication and Theatre at Kean University, New Jersey.

Reviews

"Not only was Fulton Sheen the only ostensibly religious broadcaster to ever be commercially viable on television, but he enjoys residual popularity today."—John P. Ferre, University of Louisville

"Named the 1999 Book of the Year by the Religious Communication Association."—

"About the power of television and how one man used it so effectively. [UNVERIFIED—GARBLED IN TRANSITION TO NEW DATABASE]"—Journal of American History

9780813120676 : selling-catholicism-lynch
Hardback
216 Pages
$70.00 USD

Other Titles in RELIGION / Christianity / Catholic

The Aesthetics of Solidarity

Nichole M. Flores
Jul 2021 - Georgetown University Press
$149.95 USD - book
$49.95 USD - book
$49.95 USD - ebook

Voices of the Border

edited by Tobin Hansen, Engracia Robles Robles, foreword by Sean Carroll
Jul 2021 - Georgetown University Press
$29.95 USD - book
$29.95 USD - ebook

Georgetown's Second Founder

Antonio Grassi, translated by Roberto Severino
Apr 2021 - Georgetown University Press
$24.95 USD - book
$24.95 USD - ebook