Christopher Closeup with Betty Hutton - full episode from 1984

The Christophers are a Christian inspirational group that was founded in 1945 by Father James Keller. The name of the group is derived from the Greek word christophoros, which means "Christ-bearer". Although the founders were Maryknoll priests, and the Roman Catholic orientation is overt, The Christophers preach a doctrine of religious tolerance[1] and intend their publications to be generally relevant to those of all faiths.


The early hints of the Cold war revived historical suspicion of Roman Catholic loyalty to the United States. In 1949, Time printed a debate between a Jesuit priest and Professor Walter Bowie of New York's Union Theological Seminary. Bowie stated that there was "a clearly stated Roman Catholic purpose to make America Catholic" and to jeopardize "the religious and civil liberties which have been the glory of Protestant countries . . . ."[2]

In response, a number of Roman Catholics began to find new ways of commending the Church and its ideal to the public, including the new medium of television. Perhaps the most notable of these men was Bishop Fulton Sheen. The most popular and influential television presentation, however, was The Christophers, a weekly half-hour program aired on ABC beginning in 1945. Keller avoided theology and philosophy, going "straight for the watcher's heart."[3]

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