JFK's tense relationship with the Catholic church


John F Kennedy was America’s first – and only – Catholic president. When he was elected in 1960, the religious beliefs of this liberal Democratic senator from Massachusetts were a hot button.

In his famous Houston speech of 1960, he had to work overtime to persuade voters of his independence from the church. On the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination in Dallas, Texas, it’s fascinating to examine the tense relationship the Kennedy clan had with their church.

David Nasaw, Arthur M. Schlesinger Professor of History at the City University of New York and author of The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy, explains how Joseph Kennedy tried to help his son overcome the religious challenges on his journey to the White House, and how JFK tried to distance himself from the Catholic Church.

The Religion and Ethics Report: ABC Radio National.

This program has been broadcast but is available for download and podcast from the ABC website.


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