When the rabble-rousing Fr. Charles Coughlin began getting his comeuppance in 1938 for the anti-Semitism he preached to a huge audience on national radio, he was quick to invoke a respected Irish theologian as the source for his claims. More than eighty years later, the writings of Fr. Denis Fahey are back in print, and his claim that communism is a plot to create “a world-state in which the Jewish race will be supreme” and “have control of the wealth of the nations” is finding a new audience, this time on well-trafficked websites catering to conservative Catholics.
Coughlin introduced Fahey’s writings to his vast American audience as he tried to explain away his own rationalizations for the Nazi Kristallnacht pogrom against German Jews on the night of November 9–10, 1938. “Nazism was conceived as a political defense mechanism against Communism,” he contended in his weekly Sunday afternoon radio address on November 20, shocking many people by blaming the victims for the attack. Proceeding “in a scientific spirit” but twisting the facts, he falsely claimed that almost all the Communist inner circle in Russia consisted of “atheistic Jews.” Thus, according to the radio priest, the solution to ending Nazi persecution of German Jews was for Jewish leaders in finance, synagogues, and the media to stand up to the “atheistic” Jews and to “attack the cause; attack forthright the errors and the spread of Communism together with their co-nationals who support it.”
After an uproar led the New York radio station WMCA to insist on reviewing his scripts before broadcast, Coughlin announced the following Sunday that “since I am forced to defend myself, not for myself, but for the cause I uphold, let me introduce into court as my witness the scholarly Professor Denis Fahey.” Coughlin declared that the Dublin priest had provided the detailed “proof” for his claims about Jews and communism in his 1935 book, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World. In that book, Fahey claimed that Jews were
opposed to the whole order of the world, built on the Divinity of Jesus, and their influence in every sphere, in Freemasonry and in Communist movements, in Finance, in the Press and the Film-world, will favour the naturalistic aims of Masonry and of revolutionary societies, while at the same time impelling them in the direction of a world-state in which the Jewish race will be supreme.
This book and thirteen other Fahey works have been published in recent years by a company with apparent ties to the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of St. Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire, a traditionalist group that Church authorities have determined should no longer be considered Catholic. Loreto Publications reissued the books—the one Coughlin quoted was republished in 2018—with the call, “Arm yourselves for battle!” Catholicism.org, the online journal of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Saint Benedict Center, promotes the books, calling Fahey “such a great man.” The site received 242,300 visits from May through July, according to Similarweb analytics.