The Social and Religious Context That Made Billy Graham Possible, and a Future Billy Graham Impossible

I found this article to be a fascinating summation of the sociological and religious/theological contexts of Post-WWII and the rise of Billy Graham. Of course, it got me to wondering if another Fulton Sheen is possible any more, or are figures like Bishop Robert Barron or Fr. James Martin, SJ filling similar roles?

Of course, Roman Catholicism in the U.S. never had the structural realities of Evangelical Protestantism (the use of a stadium or arena for regular liturgical-style events) to facilitate a similar phenomenon. But there are parallels (the rise of TV certainly boosted Fulton Sheen’s profile, as it did Graham’s).

The author writes that “the Christian church in America isn’t immune to the forces shaping the rest of public life.” It could be observed that the Roman Catholic church isn’t immune to these forces, either – or to the forces that are currently shaping/re-shaping other Christian denominations or religion in general.


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