The Banishment of Mother Angelica
and EWTN’S Promotion of Modernism
Having been silenced by the Vatican since 1960, the year the Third Secret XE "Third Secret of Fatima:not fully revealed" of Fatima was to be revealed to the Church and the world, Sister Lucy XE "Sister Lucy of Fatima" of Fatima went to her eternal reward on February 13, 2005. On April 2, 2005 the long reign of John Paul II XE "John Paul II, Pope" ended with his own death, and Catholics now pray for the repose of his soul.
But the crisis in the Church rages on—just as predicted in the Third Secret XE "Third Secret of Fatima:predicts crisis in Church" . Millions of Catholics remain unconvinced that the Vatican’s disclosure of the obscure vision of a “bishop dressed in white” being executed outside a half-ruined city is all there ever was to the Secret that had been kept under lock and key in the Vatican for more than forty years. Speaking for members of the faithful all over the world, Mother Angelica XE "Mother Angelica:doubts Third Secret fully revealed" , the feisty and tradition-minded foundress of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), made the following declaration on her live television show of May 16, 2001:
As for the Secret, well I happen to be one of those individuals who thinks we didn’t get the whole thing. I told ya! I mean, you have the right to your own opinion, don’t you, Father? There, you know, that’s my opinion. Because I think it’s scary...
Some seven months later, following the first of two strokes (and a series of previously undetected mini-strokes), Mother Angelica XE "Mother Angelica:suffers strokes" left the airwaves as EWTN’s live television host. As noted in a biography of Mother Angelica by EWTN personality Raymond Arroyo XE "Arroyo, Raymond" , “By the end of 2001, Mother Angelica XE "Mother Angelica:becomes totally detached from EWTN" ’s detachment from EWTN was complete.” Mother XE "Mother Angelica:drastically reduced role of" ’s role at EWTN is now reduced to leading the Rosary XE "Rosary" in short pre-recorded segments and the broadcast of some of her old television shows—censored for “theological correctness” by EWTN’s current management, which, as we shall see, has become decidedly Modernist XE "Modernist" in its orientation.
One might say that Mother Angelica has been “Sister Lucy-ized”—but not on account of the strokes. While EWTN says the strokes have rendered Mother Angelica unable to appear on television, in truth she had already been driven from her position of control over the network she founded by an episcopal power play orchestrated with the assistance of a Vatican congregation.
It all began in November 1997 with Mother XE "Mother Angelica:conflict with Cardinal Mahony" ’s unforgettable televised denunciation of the infamous Cardinal Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card.:conflict with Mother Angelica" , that celebrity prelate who is the very embodiment of post-conciliar Modernism XE "Modernism" and decay in the Church. Mother rightly denounced Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card." ’s “pastoral letter” on the Holy Eucharist as a Modernist XE "Modernist:Card. Mahony’s pastoral letter as" obfuscation of the true doctrine of the Mass. Under pressure from Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card." ’s friends in the Vatican apparatus, Mother made an on-the-air apology; but the “apology” was even more defiant than the original commentary. For nearly an hour Mother “served up a point-by-point critique of the pastoral letter,” demonstrating that Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card." had slighted and thus undermined the doctrine of transubstantiation. An infuriated Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card." filed a canonical complaint in Rome. Arroyo XE "Arroyo, Raymond" quotes one elderly curial Cardinal as admitting that “Mother Angelica has the guts to tell him [Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card." ] what we do not.” Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card.:canonical complaint against Mother Angelica" ’s canonical complaint ultimately went nowhere, but he had already begun to agitate the Vatican apparatus to take action against Mother. Arroyo XE "Arroyo, Raymond" quotes Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card." ’s director of media relations as stating “The Cardinal XE "Mahony, Roger Card.:agitates Vatican against Mother Angelica" wants the Holy See to do something about Mother Angelica’s whole attitude that she is not responsible to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops or to any of the individual bishops.”
Then Mother Angelica XE "Mother Angelica:conflict with Bishop Foley" tangled with another liberal prelate, Bishop David Foley XE "Foley, Bishop David:conflict with Mother Angelica" , the ordinary of her diocese in Alabama. Foley had no real authority over Mother’s apostolate, the Poor Clares of the Perpetual Adoration. Nevertheless, he insisted that in the new Shrine to the Blessed Sacrament Mother was building in Hanceville, Alabama, no Masses were to be said in the traditional “ad orientem” manner—that is, facing the altar and God in an eastward direction, rather than facing the people. When Mother refused to knuckle under to this illegal demand, in October 1999 Foley XE "Foley, Bishop David:decree banning Mass facing altar" issued a preposterous decree stating that Mass facing the altar—an unbroken tradition of the Church from her earliest days—was an “illicit innovation or sacrilege” and that anyone “guilty” of this “sacrilege” would be subject to “suspension or removal of faculties.” All Masses in his diocese, Foley declared, would “henceforth be celebrated at a freestanding altar and… the priest would face the people.”
In a courageous act of resistance to this abuse of power, Mother Angelica XE "Mother Angelica:snubs Bishop Foley at Shrine dedication" boycotted the dedication of the new Shrine in December 1999, presided over by none other than Foley himself, who celebrated Mass facing the people. Arroyo XE "Arroyo, Raymond" reports that a clearly humiliated Foley called Mother to the podium to say a few words, but “in silent protest” she remained with her nuns in the cloistered area behind the altar, refusing to serve as Foley’s prop. Clearly determined to get revenge, Foley went to the Vatican as the representative of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to demand action against Mother Angelica (no doubt with Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card." ’s blessing). Foley XE "Foley, Bishop David:decree banning televised Masses facing east" , with the advice of Cardinal Medina, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, promulgated “norms” that banned any televised Mass facing East (i.e. the altar) in his diocese and requiring Mass facing the people. EWTN complied with these “norms,” even though they were as preposterous and illegal as Foley’s earlier decree, for Foley had no authority to ban the Church’s immemorial practice, on television or otherwise.
But the matter did not end there. Foley XE "Foley, Bishop David:instigates Vatican invesitgation of Mother Angelica" also induced the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life to send an Apostolic Visitor, Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Alabama to investigate the entire EWTN operation. It quickly became apparent that the aim of the visitation (which took place in February-March 2000) was to establish that Mother Angelica’s order, the Poor Clares, owned EWTN’s assets, including the new Shrine, and not EWTN’s civil corporation board of directors, of which Mother was CEO with full veto power over the board’s decisions. If it could be established that Mother’s order owned the assets, then the whole EWTN enterprise could be subjected to ecclesiastical control, including the possible appointment of a “progressive” replacement for Mother Angelica herself.
In desperation, Mother XE "Mother Angelica:surrenders control over EWTN to lay board" made a prudential decision that in retrospect was a huge mistake: Fearing that Archbishop Gonzalez’s report to the Vatican would recommend an ecclesiastical takeover of her apostolate, Mother XE "Mother Angelica:resigns as CEO of EWTN" surrendered all control over EWTN to the lay people who run it today. At an emergency board meeting in March of 2000, she resigned as CEO of EWTN, relinquishing her veto power, and with it her control over EWTN’s affairs. At the same meeting EWTN’s board amended the corporate by-laws to insure lay control and preclude any control in the future by a bishop, priest or religious. Thus, instead of continuing her direct resistance to liberal prelates, Mother Angelica thought she could defeat them by a strategic retreat.
One reviewer of Arroyo XE "Arroyo, Raymond" ’s biography opines that “by resigning, Mother Angelica had defeated her enemies within the Church and entrusted her network to lay people who shared her orthodox views….”As we will see, however, Mother’s retreat was actually a complete rout. For it was precisely Mother’s “enemies within the Church” who had gained the victory by driving her from her position of control over EWTN, leaving the network entirely in the hands of lay people, many of them ex-Protestants, who did not have her traditional pre-Vatican II spiritual formation and old-fashioned Catholic militancy. The nun Arroyo XE "Arroyo, Raymond" calls “the undisputed matriarch of Catholic communications” had been neutralized.
Mother would hang on as EWTN’s live television host until December 2001, but the process by which EWTN XE "EWTN:loses militancy after Mother's departure" would be fatally compromised in its mission of presenting the integral Catholic Faith was already in motion. With Mother Angelica’s departure as the network’s signature personality by the end of 2001, the original vision of the network as a counter-Modernist XE "Modernist" force for a Catholic restoration was quickly lost and has never been recovered. Mother’s vision has been replaced by an “ecumenical,” watered-down blandness, delivered largely by ex-Protestant ministers, combined with lame attempts at “cool” Catholicism with a heavy emphasis on rock music.
The new and “slicker” EWTN appears to be in large part the work of its vice president for production, Doug Keck XE "Keck, Doug:transforms content of EWTN" , who had for twenty years headed operations at a cable TV conglomerate whose programming included The Playboy Channel. It was Keck who, as Arroyo XE "Arroyo, Raymond" writes, was responsible for “transforming the on-air look and content of the network.” And it was Keck who offered the opinion that “proved to be decisive” in Mother’s decision to turn over control of the network to Keck XE "Keck, Doug:urges Mother Angelica to resign" and the other lay board members: “Mother, I think you’re right. I think you need to step back to protect the network,” said Keck at the fateful board meeting. And so she did.
Less than six years later, EWTN XE "EWTN:liberalization after Mother Angelica's departure" ’s programming now exhibits the same emasculation and liberalization of the Church militant that we see everywhere today in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. The robust Roman Catholicism the fiery Italian nun (formerly Rita Rizzo) exemplified is almost entirely gone from the network. As we will see, EWTN has even gone so far as to promote the Judaization of Catholic worship by a movement whose members insist upon calling themselves “Hebrew Catholics XE "Hebrew Catholics" .”
No longer, then, does EWTN exhibit the kind of anti-Modernist XE "Modernist" fervor we witnessed when Mother blasted not only Cardinal Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card." , but all the American bishops for allowing a woman to perform the role of Christ during the Stations of the Cross at World Youth Day XE "World Youth Day" in Denver in 1993. “This is it. I’ve had all I’m going to take,” she said in disgust. A few days later she blasted the bishops on her live television show. Arroyo XE "Arroyo, Raymond" recounts that after reciting a long train of abuses arising from the governance of liberal prelates, including disrespect for the Blessed Sacrament and mandatory sex education in Catholic schools, she continued:
It’s blasphemous that you dare to portray Jesus as a woman. You know, as Catholics we’ve been quiet all these years…. I’m tired, tired of being pushed in the corners. I’m tired of your inclusive language that refuses to admit that the Son of God is a man. I’m tired of your tricks. I’m tired of you making a crack, and the first thing you know there’s a hole, and all of us fall in. No, this was deliberate… you made a statement that was not accidental. I am so tired of you, liberal Church in America. You’re sick…. You have nothing to offer. You do nothing but destroy. You don’t have vocations, and you don’t even care—your whole purpose is to destroy… You can’t stand Catholicism at its height, so you try to spoil it, as you’ve spoiled so many things in these thirty years….
I saw that broadcast, and I will never forget the sight of Mother XE "Mother Angelica:denounces liberal Bishops, female Christ at Stations" shaking with righteous anger before the cameras as she uttered these and so many other words that reflected the suffering of Catholics throughout the entire nation. In that very broadcast Mother XE "Mother Angelica:returns to traditional nun's habit" vowed that in reaction to the increasingly dissolute state of the Church in America, she and her fellow Poor Clare Sisters would return to the wearing of full habits, which they did immediately. In March of 1994 one of the most staunchly Catholic newspapers in America, The Remnant XE "The Remnant: praises Mother Angelica" (for which I am privileged to be a columnist), expressed its admiration for Mother XE "Mother Angelica:praised by Remnant Newspaper" ’s decision to return to the full habit, taking it as a sign that
the restoration (or perhaps we should say Catholic revival) is beginning to take place in the Church today. It is no longer only the ‘traditionalists’ who have come to the sad and desperate realization that we must go back to our Catholic past in order to see the path of our Catholic future…. Mother Angelica and her wonderful sisters are to be congratulated for their courage and fortitude, but also we should pray that they go even a step further…. It is our hope that along with all her other courageous work, Mother Angelica will one day consider calling for the unconditional return of the historical Latin Mass XE "Latin Mass" and strike the ultimate blow against the modernist onslaught of the Catholic Church.
In another hard-hitting commentary, Mother XE "Mother Angelica:likens new Mass to Protestant Liturgy" seemed to be moving in precisely the direction hoped for by The Remnant XE "The Remnant" when she drew a long and quite ironic comparison between the actions of the Protestant “reformers” in destroying the Catholic liturgy in the sixteenth century and what the post-conciliar “reformers” did to the traditional Latin Mass XE "Latin Mass" after Vatican II.
But that was all before the sacking of Mother Angelica, her departure from the airwaves, and EWTN’s subsequent change of direction. As this book will make clear, post-Mother Angelica EWTN has not only accommodated itself to the Modernist XE "Modernist" revolution in the Church after Vatican II, abandoning all opposition to its excesses for the sake of maintaining “good standing” with the powers that be (the likes of Foley and Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card." ), but has also become a positive promoter of that same revolution. And it has done so under the guise of being traditionally Roman Catholic, continuing to capitalize on Mother Angelica’s name while providing none of her militantly Catholic spirit or her common-sense Catholicism.
Worse, owing to the very nature of the television medium EWTN XE "EWTN:more insidious than overt liberalism" has evolved into something much more insidious than the overtly liberal organs of the revolution, such as the National Catholic Reporter. As Bishop Foley had correctly perceived in the controversy over the eastward-facing altar in the Shrine, Mother Angelica was wielding “an instrument that is more powerful than anything else in the world [humanly speaking]. I mean, it’s television…” It is television indeed. The sad story to be told by this book is that Foley, Mahony XE "Mahony, Roger Card." and their collaborators in the “Modernist XE "Modernist" Mafia,” from the Vatican on down, have insured that this same powerful instrument would henceforth broadcast and thus inculcate, via EWTN, not only the liturgical revolution which turned the altar around, but all the other basic elements of the post-Vatican II revolution as a whole.
It must be stipulated at the outset that even after the victory of Modernist XE "Modernist" prelates over Mother Angelica, EWTN XE "EWTN:good elements of" still retains certain elements of good Catholic programming. Yet it is the very presence of these good elements that poses a spiritual hazard for EWTN “fans,” who are induced by what is good in the content to expose themselves to numerous elements that undermine the Faith.
Here it is necessary to address a threshold objection that will certainly be raised to any suggestion that EWTN is less than the “gold standard” of Roman Catholicism today. The objection goes something like this: “Why criticize EWTN, when EWTN is the most Catholic thing out there?” Let me reply immediately that Catholics, as confirmed soldiers of Christ, have a duty before God not to settle for “the most Catholic thing out there,” but rather to demand the Catholic Faith in all its integrity from anyone who undertakes to present the Faith to the public. If “the most Catholic thing out there” turns out, upon close examination, to be a mixture of truth and error, orthodoxy and heresy, Tradition and appalling novelty, the sacred and the profane—and I will show here that this is exactly what EWTN has become—then one must avoid “the most Catholic thing out there” like the plague, because one’s faith will tend inevitably to be undermined by exposure to this heterodox mixture. It is just such a mixture that has provoked chaos and defection from the Faith since the clearly disastrous and totally unprecedented “updating” of the Church that began at Vatican II.
I am not denying that many Catholics have managed to preserve their faith and to practice it with great piety even in the midst of the changes. That individual Catholics have kept the Faith, however, is not the point in contention here. The point of this discussion is to demonstrate that, in both theory and practice, what now passes for “the most Catholic thing out there”—or what is called a “conservative implementation” of Vatican II—is, objectively speaking, a massive departure from the perennial Faith. The unprecedented and supposedly “officially approved” innovations stemming from the Council, all of which EWTN promotes and defends today, have (as I discuss further below) provoked enormous damage to the life of the Church as a whole. This is seen in the sudden post-conciliar decline in baptisms, conversions, marriages, vocations and Mass attendance, and in the growing lack of adherence to Catholic doctrine, dogma XE "dogma" , liturgical tradition and morals on the part of those who still call themselves Catholic. It is right to speak of a veritable apostasy XE "apostasy:since Vatican II" in the Church since the Council, and both the late Pope John Paul II XE "John Paul II, Pope" and his personal theologian, Cardinal Luigi Ciappi XE "Ciappi, Luigi Cardinal" (also now deceased), have used that very word to describe the state of the Church today, as will be shown presently.
Indeed, the idea that Catholics ought to be content with “the most Catholic thing out there” instead of the unaltered and unalterable Faith of our fathers is the very thing that has prolonged the crisis in the Church and led to a widening apostasy XE "apostasy" among her members. The process at work in the Church since Vatican II XE "Vatican Council II:dilution of meaning of \"conservative\" Catholicism since" is very much akin to the drastic dilution of the meaning of the word “conservative” in politics. Just as today’s political “conservative” would have been considered a raving liberal only fifty years ago, so also today’s “conservative” Catholic would have been viewed as a heretic, or at least suspect of heresy, by the great Popes of the Catholic Church of all time. Just as in politics we are expected to settle for less and less conservative “conservatives,” so too in the Church we are expected to settle for a less and less Catholic version of our holy religion. The only difference is that in politics the “sliding scale” of what it means to be “conservative” has temporal consequences, whereas in the Church the consequences are both temporal and eternal. Our very souls are at risk.
What we need to remember is that there is an objective and unchanging standard of Roman Catholicism, and that for the first time in Church history—and this is the essence of the crisis that afflicts us now—the faithful are losing sight of that standard. But it is easy to recall this objective standard if one thinks for a moment about what the Church has always taught and practiced. Just imagine, for example, Saint Pius X XE "Pius X, Pope St.:would be horrified by New Mass" attending the New Mass XE "New Mass (Novus Ordo Missae)" in a so-called “conservative” parish of today. The sainted Pontiff would probably scream in horror and demand that the spectacle be stopped. Never before have we seen such a situation in the Church.
Speaking of the new liturgy alone—and the crisis involves far more than that—the renowned liturgical scholar Msgr. Klaus Gamber XE "Gamber, Msgr. Klaus:on Protestantization of Catholic worhip" has rightly observed:
A Catholic who ceased to be an active member of the Church for the past generation and who, having decided to return to the Church, wants to become religiously active again, probably would not recognize today’s Church as the one he had left. Simply by entering a Catholic church, particularly if it happens to be one of ultra-modern design, he would feel as if he had entered a strange, foreign place. He will think that he must have come to the wrong address and that he accidentally ended up in some other Christian religious community.
After forty years of ecclesial confusion and decline, therefore, we should be mindful that it is a treacherous business indeed to settle for “the most Catholic thing out there.” For today, the “most Catholic thing out there” may not be very Catholic at all. As I will demonstrate, EWTN purveys a version of Catholicism that is inimical to the Faith, a danger to souls and destructive of the good order of the Church.
What will become crystal clear in the succeeding chapters is that with Mother Angelica gone from the scene and the network in the hands of lay people, most of whom have no memory of the Catholic Church before Vatican II, EWTN XE "EWTN:liberalization after Mother Angelica's departure" now actively supports and defends against all criticism every element of the “new” Catholicism that supposedly arose during and after the Council: the new Mass, the new ecumenism XE "ecumenism" , the new “dialogue XE "dialogue" ” and “interreligious dialogue XE "interreligious dialogue" ,” the new “opening to the world,” the new attitude toward the conversion of the Jewish people, and even a new version of the Message of Fatima XE "Message of Fatima:revised by New Church" . The result of all the changes is what some have called “New Church”—a pseudo-Church existing within the official structure of the Roman Catholic Church in a kind of parasitical relationship to the host organism. As we shall see, not a single one of these novelties has ever been imposed upon Catholics as a duty of their religion. Yet EWTN promotes them all as if they were obligations of the Faith.
I will employ the term “New Church XE "New Church:distinguished from authentic Roman Catholicism" ” throughout this book in order to distinguish its features and its proponents from authentic Roman Catholicism, which was not and could not be replaced by any “reformed” version at Vatican II. Authentic Roman Catholicism is commonly referred to by the collective term “Tradition.” A few words about the meaning of this crucial term are in order.
By “Tradition XE "Tradition:defined" ” is meant the totality of the perennial doctrine, dogma XE "dogma" , liturgy, spirituality and practice of the Catholic Faith as handed down from century to century with unbroken continuity before the start of the Second Vatican Council. Stated more simply, it means what Catholics have always believed and the way they have always worshipped. It is to Tradition that a Catholic looks to determine whether all is right with the Church. The ancient Church Father St. John Chrysostom expressed this principle most succinctly: “Is it tradition? Ask no more!” The word “tradition” is derived from the Latin verb tradere, meaning to “hand over, deliver, entrust.” The function of the leaders of the Church is not to change what has been handed over, delivered and entrusted to them, but rather to hand over, deliver and entrust to their successors exactly what they received. “Therefore, brethren” says St. Paul XE "Paul, St." , “stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle.” (2 Thess. 2:14) As one of the great early Church Fathers, St. Vincent of Lerins XE "Vincent, St. of Lerins:on duty to cling to Tradition during Church crises" explained, Tradition XE "Tradition:St. Vincent of Lerins on" is our only refuge at a time of confusion in the Church, as it was during the Arian heresy, which in St. Vincent’s day was an event of the rather recent past. As St. Vincent declared:
And if some new contagion should seek to poison, not only a little part of the Church, but the whole Church at once then his [the Catholic’s] greatest care should once again be to adhere to antiquity, which obviously cannot be seduced by any deceitful novelty.
As the very nature of Tradition would imply, the only object of true reform in the Church is the restoration of Tradition. The Church underwent this true reform in the great Catholic Counter-Reformation following the Council of Trent XE "Council of Trent" , when Catholic dogma XE "dogma" , doctrine, morals, spiritual life, and the traditional Latin liturgy were strongly reaffirmed against the Protestant rebels, local liturgical abuses were curbed, and the strict discipline of the priesthood was reestablished wherever it had fallen into neglect. This true reform is even more urgently needed in the Church today.
In this discussion I will not employ such terms as “traditionalist,” “conservative” or “neo-Catholic” to distinguish different “strains” of Catholicism in the post-conciliar Church. As useful as such terms may have been in the past, the ecclesial crisis has advanced to the point where one must speak frankly of who is, and who is not, adhering to the Roman Catholic religion in its integrity. This is also necessary because the proponents of New Church have not hesitated to render judgments on the Catholicity of those who have held fast to Tradition during this crisis, denouncing these faithful Catholics simply because they will not embrace the unheard-of novelties of the past forty years.
For the good of the Church, this absurd situation must be corrected. As Holy Scripture warns us: “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” For too long EWTN XE "EWTN:Modernism of" and other “mainstream” aiders and abettors of the post-conciliar revolution have been allowed to adorn themselves with the cloak of respectability, while they impugn faithful Catholics who defend Tradition XE "Tradition:defenders of impugned by New Church" and refuse to follow them down the path of compromise. The cloak must come off so that the truth about these people can be revealed—not for their disgrace, but for their own good and, above all else, for the good of the Church. For as I will demonstrate here, whether or not they understand subjectively that they are Modernists, this is what EWTN and the other post-conciliar purveyors of novelty are, objectively speaking. It is, therefore, they, not traditional Roman Catholics, who are theologically suspect. It is they, as the evidence to be presented here will prove, who are advancing novelties that are objectively contrary to the Faith, sacrilegious, scandalous and even offensive to good morals. It is their “new” version of Catholicism, not the perennial practice of the Faith, that ought to be condemned. It is the proponents of New Church, not the adherents of the Catholic Church of all time, who should be examined for their views.
Let me emphasize at the outset that this entire discussion presumes, for the sake of charity, that those responsible for EWTN’s Modernist XE "Modernist" content do not subjectively intend to depart from the Faith. They may even think in their distorted view of the situation—a view which leads them to condemn faithful Roman Catholics as “extreme traditionalists”—that they are actually defending the Faith. Some may even possess that state of mind Our Lord warned His disciples would be that of the Pharisees XE "Pharisees" : “yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth a service to God.” (John 16:2) But if they are acting in good faith or out of blindness at present, they will have no excuse for continuing in their course of conduct once they consider (or if they refuse to consider) with an open mind the evidence presented here in this book; and they will no longer be entitled to the presumption that they do not understand that they are promoting Modernism XE "Modernism" .
In any case, justice, the good of the Church and the good of souls demand that Catholics who are only endeavoring to practice the Faith without alteration not allow themselves to be framed by the accusation, so often leveled by EWTN and other New Church organs, that they are “extreme traditionalists,” “disobedient” and even “schismatic XE "schismatic: Catholics falsely accused of being" .” It is time for the accusers, not the accused, to stand trial. For as the evidence will show, it is the accusers, not the accused, who are implicated in the collapse of faith and discipline in the Church since Vatican II.
This book is divided into three parts. In Part I, I lay the groundwork for an understanding of the current crisis in the Church, which the late John Paul II XE "John Paul II, Pope" described as “a silent apostasy XE "apostasy:as resurgence of Modernist heresy" .” I show that this crisis is essentially a resurgence of the Modernist XE "Modernist" heresy condemned by Pope St. Pius X XE "Pius X, Pope St." early in the twentieth century—a heresy that seeks to alter the very meaning of Catholic doctrine and dogma XE "dogma" according to a process of “evolution,” to overturn the Church’s dogmatic faith and liturgical tradition, to attack the very identity of the Church, and indeed to destroy the very concept of objective truth itself. Others have referred to this process as a “creeping apostasy,” which by slow degrees induces Catholics to accept corruptions of the true Faith under the pretense of authentic Catholic teaching “updated” for the times. This, we will see, is the dominant tendency of EWTN’s content.
In Part II, I discuss in considerable detail EWTN’s role in contributing to this Modernist XE "Modernist" crisis since Mother Angelica’s coerced departure. The evidence will show:
First, that EWTN promotes, defends and advances the “New Mass XE "New Mass (Novus Ordo Missae)" ” and all the other “officially” approved “reforms” of the liturgy which have broken with Tradition in precisely the ways demanded by the Protestant rebels of the sixteenth century, and practically destroyed Catholic worship and Eucharistic faith over the past forty years, as even high-ranking Cardinals have admitted;
Second, that EWTN has, under the guise of a “new understanding” of Catholic dogma XE "dogma" since Vatican II, helped to undermine Catholic adherence to (a) the infallibly defined dogma that outside the Roman Catholic Church no one can be saved; (b) the closely related constant teaching of the Roman Pontiffs that the only means of achieving Christian unity is the return of the Protestant and schismatic XE "schismatic" dissidents to the Catholic Church; and (c) the abolition of the Old Covenant in favor of the New Covenant in Christ Jesus, and the consequent objective necessity of Jewish conversion for the salvation XE "salvation" of the Jews XE "Jews" ;
Third, that EWTN has promoted and encouraged a Judaizing tendency in the Church not unlike that which confronted the original Jewish Apostles in the first century;
Fourth, that EWTN has excused, defended and promoted sacrilege in Catholic holy places in the name of “interreligious dialogue XE "dialogue" ”;
Fifth, that EWTN is contributing to a tendency to replace Roman Catholicism with a common-denominator natural religion that deemphasizes adherence to revealed truth as necessary for salvation XE "salvation" ;
Sixth, that EWTN has advocated a senseless and un-Catholic quasi-idolatry of the Pope’s person that does a grave disservice to the Pope, his office and the Faith;
Seventh, that EWTN is leading the destruction of the traditional Rosary XE "Rosary" ;
Eighth, that EWTN promotes a cult of sexual gnosticism XE "gnosticism" and “Natural Family Planning” (NFP);
Ninth, that EWTN has generally corrupted the Faith by trying to combine it with rock music and show business in a vain effort to make Catholicism “cool” (EWTN’s own word) and appealing to the base instincts of a mass audience;
Tenth, that EWTN attacks and attempts to ostracize from the Church the defenders of Roman Catholic Tradition, and especially those, such as Father Nicholas Gruner, who defend the traditional Catholic understanding of the Message of Fatima XE "Message of Fatima:defenders of attacked by EWTN" and its prophetic relation to the crisis in the Church.
In short, I will show that post-Mother Angelica EWTN XE "EWTN:Modernism of" has become a “moderate” (and therefore more dangerous) Modernist XE "Modernist" enterprise that presents a corruption of authentic Roman Catholicism passed off as solid orthodoxy, and that as such EWTN is now a serious and highly insidious threat to the integrity of the Faith and a major obstacle to the restoration of the Catholic Church.
In Part III, I will sum up the case against EWTN and New Church in general, in the context of the death of John Paul II XE "John Paul II, Pope" and the election of Benedict XVI XE "Benedict XVI, Pope" as his successor. And, to conclude, I will suggest ways in which we members of the lay faithful can, with the Message of Fatima XE "Message of Fatima:guide to ending Church crisis" in view, work according to our stations in life for an end to the ecclesial crisis over which New Church (including EWTN) presides.
With our overview of the matter complete, let us proceed to the first stage of the case against EWTN: an understanding of the current crisis in the Church. Only with that understanding can one fully appreciate the magnitude of the problem EWTN poses for faithful Catholics.
Raymond Arroyo XE "Arroyo, Raymond" , Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve and a Network of Miracles, (New York: Doubleday, 2005), page 317 (hereafter “Mother Angelica”).
The heresy of Modernism XE "Modernism" , famously condemned by Pope St. Pius X XE "Pius X, Pope St.:on Modernism" in his monumental encyclical Pascendi XE "Pascendi Dominici Gregis" (On the Doctrines of the Modernists), is explained in the concluding chapter of Part I.
Mother Angelica, page 262.
Ibid., page 264.
Ibid., page 267.
Latin for “toward the East.”
Contrary to popular perception, no legislation from Rome has ever prohibited Mass facing the altar. Rather, the option of Mass facing the people has been introduced, with the “option” becoming only a de facto (not legal) norm.
Mother Angelica, pages 287-288.
Ibid., page 292.
The entire affair is recounted in great detail in Mother Angelica, Chapter 18, pages 298ff.
Ibid., pages 307-309.
Mother Angelica, page 215.
None of this is to suggest that Mother Angelica represented utter perfection in her presentation of traditional Roman Catholicism. Her dalliance with the “charismatic renewal” and the Medjugorje “apparitions” is well known, and it was she who first gave prominence to many of the current EWTN celebrities whose theological views are criticized in this book. Nevertheless, Mother Angelica represented the network’s best hope for becoming a vehicle of Catholic restoration (as we shall see further into this overview). Now with her removal from any position of control over EWTN there was nothing to restrain the liberalizing tendency that has subverted its mission.
Mother Angelica, pages 303-304.
Ibid., page 240.
“What’s In a Habit?” The Remnant XE "The Remnant" , March 15, 1994.
Mother Angelica, page 289.
Monsignor Klaus Gamber XE "Gamber, Klaus Msgr." , The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background (Harrison, New York: Foundation for Catholic Reform, 1993), page 107.
American Heritage Dictionary, Fourth Edition.
Commonitorium, Chapter 3, Section 7.
Isaias 5:20. Most biblical quotes are from the Douay-Rheims Bible (Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books and Publishers, 1971).