Last week I wrote about censorship, and how “discerning readers need to find their own trusted sources of news.” This week I’ll be a bit more specific, and say that Catholic readers (or non-Catholics interested in developments within the Church) need to find their own trusted sources for Catholic news.
To present my case, let me introduce Exhibit A: our headline story from yesterday: Pope rips EWTN ‘work of the devil’. That story is unique, in several different ways.
As I write, on Wednesday afternoon, that headline—posted a bit more than 24 hours ago—has been downloaded from our site almost 65,000 times. To put that figure in context, it is highly unusual for any of our news stories to attract more than 5,000 readers, and only a handful of our stories have ever reached the 10,000 mark. The 65,000 figure is unprecedented, and since the story is still attracting readers at a dizzying rate (35 more since I started this paragraph), it is headed much higher.
Why so much interest in this headline? First because it is an important story; more about that later. Second because nobody else is telling the story.
Pope Francis made an extraordinary charge against an important American Catholic media outlet. The secular media aren’t particularly excited about it, because they see this as “inside ball,” of interest only to Catholics. But most Catholic media outlets are also studiously downplaying the story — or handling it ever-so gently, diplomatically downplaying the clear implications of the Pope’s remarks — because they are anxious to avoid controversy. With a few exceptions, the important Catholic outlets are controlled by bishops, by major donors, or both; they are leery of any story that might upset their patrons. So the stories go uncovered.
Among the outlets that handle Catholic news, then, only a few are willing to plunge into a controversial story. EWTN is one of them. And — forgive me for tooting my own horn — Catholic World News is another. We avoid sensationalism, but when the story itself is sensational, we won’t shrink from it.
And this story is sensational. Has any other Roman Pontiff ever complained about negative media coverage? A politician might fret over unfriendly editorials; the Vicar of Christ should not. During his exchange with Jesuits in Slovakia the Pope not only showed an extraordinary sensitivity to criticism, but picked a fight with what is probably the most powerful and influential Catholic media presence in the world.
EWTN owes its spectacular success to the evangelical zeal of its founder, Mother Angelica, but also to her independent spirit. Under her guidance, EWTN flourished because it gave viewers and listeners what they wanted: not prepackaged “safe” news and views, but lively reporting and commentary.
Pope Francis charged that the “large Catholic television channel” (which he does not name) “has no hesitation in continually speaking ill of the Pope.” It is true that many analysts appearing on the network — myself among them — have criticized the Pope’s actions and statements. But I have always done my best to express my concerns respectfully, showing due deference both to the man and to his Petrine office. I have no doubt that every regular ETWN host and guest would say the same thing.
It should be possible to express disagreement with the words of a Roman Pontiff—especially one as talkative as Francis — without being charged with doing the work of the devil. There is a particular irony when that charge comes from a Pontiff who has said that he encourages free debate, who has encouraged young Catholics to hagan lio, who urges creative thought and the decentralization of authority.
To compound the irony, as he expanded his focus to encompass unnamed clerics as well as the unnamed television channel, Pope Francis lamented that his critics “make judgments without entering into a real dialogue.” Has Pope Francis entered into dialogue with Cardinal Burke about the dubia? Did he engage in dialogue with Cardinal Müller before unceremoniously dumping him from the prefecture of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? Did he invite dialogue with traditionalist Catholics before condemning what he, in this same exchange in Slovakia—characterized as “the automatism of the ancient rite?”
A Roman Pontiff should not fear honest critiques from loyal Catholics. And Catholic media outlets should not fear exploring controversy. “The truth is like a lion,” St. Augustine said. “You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.”
The above comes from a Sept. 22 article by Phil Lawler on the site of Catholic Culture.org.
This pontiff can’t stand anything but 100% approval, it just makes him crazy. EWTN isn’t the enemy, far from it, but his pride is wounded so he lashed out in a papal tantrum.
Watch for a Vatican move on EWTN, and for the American hierarchy to remain silent.
Well, since the pope did not say that “EWTN was the work of the devil”, which is acknowledged in the linked article, Phil Lawler and his website cannot be trusted.
You gotta have more than one source of information.
I noticed EWTN going south a long time ago. Catholic and celebrity just do not go together. There are always falls. Fame is not what God tells us to do.
Even Popes blow it sometimes.
Well Phil, it seems like the only figure on EWTN’s United States English speaking feed to criticize Pope Francis with any regularity is Raymond Arroyo. Does anybody on here watch the Spanish feed with any regularity who could tell me otherwise? I was sad to see EWTN get rid of Gloria Purvis early this year. The things she said often made me feel very uncomfortable, but they almost always turned out to be a necessary challenge in me to truly follow Christ. Thank God for her podcast. Ray has had some really great guests, I’ll give him that. But there’s still too many shows made just for the grannies to dig and their true moral life is often ignored. Tim Conway? Pat Boone? Carroll O’Connor? Kathy Lee Gifford? Mel Gibson? As one Benediction monk friend remarked: Exclusively White Television Network.
“Benedictine” I meant.
Gloria Purvis was dismissive, insulting and cruel to wounded individuals with gender dysphoria on the air. Her co-host Cy Kellet was flustered and struggled to recover the broadcast. Really showed her colors. Glad to see her go.
As to the racist Exclusively White Television Network crack, typical ignorant privileged American progressive bias. There is a world outside of the woke elite class of the United States.
Ever hear of EWTN Africa? EWTN’s El Canal Catolicó? EWTN Asia Pacific?
Mark, where can I hear this supposed episode with her and Cy Kellett? Give me better evidence, or I don’t believe it happened. Yes, I am well aware of EWTN’s different broadcast feeds to the other parts of the world. That’s why I mentioned the US English one specifically at the beginning of my post. From her biography written by Raymond Arroyo: “ A year ago when the doctors were doubtful that I would walk again, I turned to our Lord and promised that if he would grant me the grace to walk, I would do all in my power to promote a cloistered community among the Negroes. It would be dedicated to the Negro Apostolate by prayer, adoration, sacrifice, and union with God. It would ceaselessly make reparation for all the insults and persecutions the Negro race suffers and implore God’s blessings and graces upon a people dear to the Heart of God”
This coming from a Pope who refuses to live in Papal apartments, refuses to be addressed as Vicar of Christ, refuses to answer any questions regarding his proclamations and edicts which he has no power to give, and brings pagan idols inside St Peter’s Basilica.
Pope who abandoned Church in China to communist government, closed churches for over a year, and spends his time on pushing New World Order agenda.
Pope who meets with movie stars and abortion advocates and attack all everyone who defends the church teaching and the faith passed down from Apostles.
Everyone should just ignore him.
EWTN has had a problem with church authority ever since the beginning when Mother Angelica defamed Cardinal Mahony. He sued her in church court and won. Mother Angelica had to apologize for inciting the faithful to disobey Mahony. EWTN should apologize to Pope Francis. He could place the TV station under interdict.
“don’t”: EWTN first started broadcasting in 1997. The incident with Cardinal Mahoney happened 16 years later in 1997.
But it shows EWTN gets uppity with the hierarchy.
Hey ‘don’t’….I’ll see your EWTN under “interdict” and raise you the German bishops, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Andrew Cuomo…can we get serious now?
Your choice to tell a morality tale where Cardinal Mahony is the hero and Mother Angelica is the villain says a lot about your disposition.
Seriously how do you defame the mahony ? look at the the list of outrages ,obfuscations , insults and spiritual abuse that has damaged this archdiocese for decades . Look at Mother Angelicas apology to the mahony , she was right , her legacy is one of a saint , her orthodoxy and life are an inspiration to the faithful. The mahony , when he passes will he be lauded as already being in heaven , Mothers pious life and leadership are remembered as what a Catholic leader should be , mahony legacy and name will be scandal and disgrace . Interdict ? sure lets see them enforce it , maybe mccarrick could broker it like he did for him with the CCP, if he tries anything he may find he has made more enemies then friends.
EWTN has been very unfair in it’s inaccurate reporting and commentary with regards to Pope Francis. Remember, EWTN brought us the popular yet fraudulent evangelist priest Fr. Corapi who left his order after it became evident he was living a life of luxury, using drugs and consorting with prostitutes.
And pope f brought us mccarrick, mahony, the pacamama, earth mother coin, some hideous nativity displays, the crucifix on the hammer and sickle, jimmy martin , Bishop Juan Barros, Fr. Karadima.
Wilma, could you kindly provide examples, especially examples from the Papal posse, since that is the segment most likely to concern itself with the Vatican, and thanks in advance.
Wasn’t Mother Angelica the Church’s first woman pontiff? I used to find her pronouncements and admonitions very much in the style of pontification.
Only old people watch EWTN
Why Young, I didn’t know that. And what, may I ask, do you watch, if I may be so bold to ask? And thanks in advance for your reply.
Perhaps the young people watch pornography.
Perhaps you missed how the pontiff also had Orange county on his mind.
>> A cardinal told me that two newly ordained priests came to him asking him for permission to study Latin so as to celebrate well.
>> With a sense of humor he replied: “But there are many Hispanics in the diocese! Study Spanish to be able to preach.
>> Then, when you have studied Spanish, come back to me and I’ll tell you how many Vietnamese there are in the diocese,
>> and I’ll ask you to study Vietnamese. Then, when you have learned Vietnamese, I will give you permission to study Latin.”
So, we need a cardinal, serving an area that has a strong need for Spanish speaking as well as Vietnamese speaking clergy. San Jose could be a good candidate but there is not a resident Cardinal there. That leaves Orange county which is under Mahony’s close knowledge and purview.
So, dear Orange county supporters of the latin mass – your fidelity is noted at the highest levels of the church! Pray and fast more than ever for your holiness is important support against this present darkness. You are supporting the Church.