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August 03, 1973 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1973-08-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Claims to 'Coughlin Firsts' Made by Biographer Sheldon Marcus

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Prof. Sheldon Marcus of
Fordham University, author
of "Father Coughlin: The
Tumultous Life of the Priest
of the Little Flower," which
was reviewed critically in
The Jewish News, June 9,
insists that he had revealed
many facts about the anti-
Semitism of the Royal Oak
priest which were not pre-
viously recorded. He submits
to The Jewish News a re-
lease from the publishers,
Little, Brown & Co., which
listed as "newsworthy" some
items from the Marcus bi-
ography, which include the
following:
In 1926, Babe Ruth and sev-
eral other members of the
New York Yankees assisted
Father Coughlin in raising

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$10,000 to help defray con-
struction costs of his new
church. 1
Father Coughlin claims
that he was a major author
of Roosevelt's famous 1932
inaugural address.
Father Coughlin claims
that President Roosevelt ap-
pointed Frank Murphy Gov-
ernor-General of the Philip-
phines in order to repay the
priest for his support in the
1932 Presidential election.
After a number of at-
tempted physical attacks on
him in the mid-1930s, Father
Coughlin purchased a revol-
ver which he carried with
him under his clerical garb.
In 1937 the Vatican, believ-
ing that Father Coughlin was
effective in combating the
spread of communism in the
United States, intervened on
his behalf when Archbishop
Mooney attempted to silence
him and thus enabled Cough-
lin to embark on the most
vitriolic and controversial
phase of his public life.
This action in 1937 was di-
rectly contrary to actions
undertaken by the Vatican in
the fall 1936 aimed at dimin-
ishing Father Coughlin's pub-
lic activities. During the 1936
Presidential campaign, Fath-
er Coughlin had labelled
President Roosevelt a "liar"
and "Franklin Doublecross-
ing Roosevelt." The negative
reaction to such outbursts by
segments of the American
public caused an embar-
rassed Vatican to instruct its
Apostolic Delegate to the
United States, Amleto Cicog-
nani, to inform Father Cough-
lin to tone down his criti-
cisms of the President. But
Coughlin's failure to heed
these instructions resulted in
the Vatican dispatching its
Secretiry of State, Cardinal
Eugenio Pacelli, later to be-

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come Pope Pius XII, to the
United States. Pacelli in-
formed Coughlin that he
would be forbidden to spon-
sor his own political party
and political candidates once
the 1936 elections were con-
cluded.
Father Coughlin accuses
Pope Pius XII (Pacelli) of
siding with the communists
in World War II and of sup-
porting the Allied powers
against Germany and Italy.
Such actions, Coughlin says,
vialated the neutrality that
the Vatican should have
maintained.
Father Edward Flanagan,
the head of Boys Town, was
a financial supporter of Fath-
er Coughlin in the late 1930's,
a time when the priest was
in the most controversial
phase of his public life.
Philip Johnson, one of the
world's foremost architects,
who is presently involved in
the redesigning of Jerusalem,
was an associate of Father
Coughlin and shared his
views. Johnson organized po-
litical rallies for the priest;
saw that Coughlin's weekly
journal Social Justice was
published on time; and later
became that newspaper's
foreign correspondent accom-
panying the German army
into Poland. William Shirer,
in Berlin Diary, referred to
Johnson as an "American
Fascist . . . spying on us for
the Nazis."
Father Coughlin's public
career was ended as a result
of a deal between the Church
and the Roosevelt adminis-
tration. The government
agreed not to prosecute Fa-
ther Coughlin for sedition in
return for the Church's silen-
ing the priest. Father \Cough
lin was informed by Arch-
bishop Mooney that he was
to terminate his public life or
face defrockment. He chose
silence.
Jewish News Reviewer's
Comment: While many ad-
ditional details to the Cough-
lin story have been added in
the Marcus account, there is
much that still is missing
from the story. An added
example to the criticisms in
our June 8 review is the
flippant reference to the role
of Wendell Willkie in _Marcus'
book. Coughlin's Social Jas.
tice, Sept. 9, 1840, carried a
three-line 48-point headline:
"Jews Put Pressure on Will-
kie to Hit at Father Cough-
lin." It was not "Jewish pres-
sure" but a comment by Will-
kie on the support offered his
candidacy against Franklin
D. Roosevelt by Father

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The spirit of our people
demands liberty and freedom
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preserve it from moral de-
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in order to enable it to un-
dergo its sufferings to the
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what it is suffering for—and
that it is worthwhile suffer-
ing. — Ahad Ha'am, "At the
Crossroads," (1902).

Coughlin.
Willkie,
asked
about Coughlin being in his
corner, said in reference to
the priest's :.anti-Semitism:
"There is no place in my
philosophy for such beliefs.
I don't have to be President
of the United States, but I do
have to keep my beliefs clear
in order to live with myself."
In Marcus' book, there is a
single sentence about this in-
teresting incident in the
Coughlin career. The Jewish
News reviewer's view is that
many such items are incom-
pletely covered in the new
Coughlin book and that many
more are missing.—P. S.).

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, August 3, 1973-19

Return Engagement

Comic Milt Moss, known
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can't believe I ate the whole
thing," has been booked for
three return dates during
August and September at the
Nevele Country Club in El-
lenville, N.Y.

LOUIS WERNICK has
been appointed director of
the American Israel Fund of
the Zionist Organization of
America, Leon Ilutovich,
ZOA executive director, an-
nounced.

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by Brandeis President Mar-
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