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Throwback Thursday Catholic Position Radio Show

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Archbishop McNicholas and Bishop Vehr
Archbishop McNicholas and Bishop Vehr

In late 1945 Abp. John T. McNicholas opened a weekly radio program entitled, “The Catholic Position.” This six-week program was structured to have selected priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati explain the Catholic position on many questions of the day, especially as the world had just experienced a massive and devastating war. Abp. McNicholas gave the first talk and focused on the idea of a totalitarian government and why it is wrong in principle. With the Cold War about to begin, the Church and the whole United States was very eager to fight against communism.  “The Catholic Position” was initially broadcast on WKRC on Sunday afternoons beginning in November 1945. The Archbishop invited the public to submit questions resulting from the broadcasts, and they would be answered as time allowed. Abp. McNicholas stated, “The addresses of the priests are intended to promote peace, harmony, good will, and inquiring spirit, and above all, a love of the truths of Christ which will enable earnest souls to tread the way of Christ and to live after the manner of Christ.”

Archbishop McNicholas on WSAI Radio
Archbishop McNicholas on WSAI Radio

Trouble came quickly by the time of the fourth broadcast scheduled for December 2. Written and to be given as a general dialogue between Revs. Francis J. Flanagan and Stanley J. Bertke, the Catholic Church’s position on “The Rights of Labor” prompted the station to cancel the program and the two remaining scheduled programs. A heated strike at General Motors in Norwood was currently happening and made the station feel that they were not the appropriate vehicle for the expression of Catholic views on labor. Instead, the station indicated that they had asked only to have topics that were inspirational, religious meditations, and the Christian motive to show how to live in harmony with God. A statement from WKRC director of religious programs, Judson McKim, reads, “I pointed out that the station had no desire to challenge this script in any particular, but that we were in a difficult situation in as much as we had just refused to accept a GM script to run at our regular rates on the ground that it was too controversial at this particular time. To present the opposing view under a religious classification, therefore, would be embarrassing to us.”

Read the full story, including how Archbishop John T. McNicholas had to deal with free speech issues, and the expansion of this radio show. Laboring on the Mission, a blog of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Archives.

Read the Full Story Here

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, an online feature wherein users of social media share an old photo or anecdote about times gone by. The Catholic Telegraph partners with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Chancery Archives’ blog Laboring on the Mission to bring you a bit of local history each week.

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