The Catholic Church on the Radio, N.C.W.C. Review


Radio was a powerful tool for spreading religious and political ideas in the 1930s. A decade after the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) was established in 1919, its first general secretary, the Rev. John J. Burke, C.S.P., helped to establish a new weekly Catholic radio program called "The Catholic Hour." It began broadcasting in March 1930, and was soon carried by stations all over the country. Burke hoped that this program would help to educate the non-Catholic American public about the Church's beliefs and points of view, and also help Catholics themselves gain a greater understanding of their faith. The document here is an article by Fr. Burke from the N.C.W.C. Review in which he analyzes the effectiveness of radio as a vehicle for presenting the doctrines of the Catholic Church.



As you read the document, reflect on the following questions:

  • How does Burke characterize the potential impact of Catholic radio on Catholics? Non-Catholics?
  • Does Burke's article, written in 1930, anticipate the uses to which Ryan and Coughlin would put radio over the next several years? Why or why not?