White Picket Fences: Fulton Sheen’s Influence on the Social Role of Catholicism in the 1950s

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Victoria Romanik
Marina Bartlett

Abstract

“Life is Worth Living” was a well-received Catholic show that aired in 1950s America and was hosted by the venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen. The popularity of the show can be easily tied back to Sheen’s on-screen charisma and dramatic delivery of American Christian concepts. The show aired Tuesday nights at eight opposite the popular Milton Berle show and Fulton Sheen even won an Emmy for the Most Outstanding Television Personality for his performance in 1952. However, the show is representative of a brief era of normalcy before the change of the 1960s. The unification of Catholic morals and cultural values presented by Sheen in the show helped renew public interest in Catholicism through appealing to a common national identity during an era of an expanding religious marketplace. So through examining “Life is Worth Living,” the social values of faith and the changing religious views can be illuminated upon.

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