Sunday, September 11, 2005

Yesterday I went to the Friends of EWTN conference at Kellenberg Memorial High School. Fr. Pacwa and Fr. Mullady each gave a talk. Then Fr. Pacwa spoke a bit on Mother Angelica and EWTN. He had a galley (sp?) copy of Raymond Arroyo's new book - Mother Angelica The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles and talked about much that was in the book. It was so interested that I stopped at Barnes & Noble on the way home and purchased a copy. Some interesting things from reading some of the book, not all:

  • I read the first two chapters on Mother A's early childhood. The writing is good but there is not much detail because she was so solitary a figure there doesn't seem to be many people who knew her enough to be interviewed.
  • She knew pain and hurt well, which probably helped her spiritually and makes her much more down to earth and real than many of her critics.
  • She was one of the first drum majorettes in her high school!! There is even a picture to prove it!
  • Her father was a womanizer and all around jerk and her mother was not stable to say the least. Mother A. had to be the adult in the house from the age of 11 on.
  • Bishop Foley had a good relationship with the network until his inexplicable rule that Mass could not be said ad orientem, later amended to say Mass could not be televised ad orientem. This hurt the relationship between the bishop and the network, and Mass at the Shrine is still said Ad Orientem for the nuns, and not televised.
  • The bishops wanted to have their own network and there was some competition between EWTN and the bishops' network. The two entities worked together in an uneasy partnership that ended when EWTN rejected the style and substance of the bishops' programming. EWTN fought the good fight against bland, watered down, and dissenting content and ultimately won.
  • Deacon Bill Steltemeier was a wealthy lawyer who is as crafty as a fox, and helped the network immensely.
  • The Sister Servants of the Eternal Word were co-founded by Mother A. but somehow ended up completely estranged from her and EWTN and the Poor Clare Sisters. Either I skimmed this part too quickly or the author really doesn't explain this too much. He said the Sister Servants refused to be interviewed for the book. There seems to be more to this story. Their website doesn't even mention Mother A. even though she saw this community as the hands-on extension of her comtemplative order that could do the work of assisting the network.
  • The Cardinal Mahony affair shows what Fr. Pacwa said in his talk: Mother A. was wrong to say what she said, according to canon law. But it was a 17 second comment, off the cuff, and typical of her style of speaking. Mahony became OBSESSED with Mother A. and how she dared to question his authority. He really comes across as a creep and it is interesting to read Raymond Arroyo's repeated attempts to interview him for his side of the story. All requests were ignored so when he saw him in person he asked him about it, and Mahony simply brushed past him saying "That's all ancient history now". Wasn't that the bishop's general attitude to the scandals of the priesthood also? "It's all ancient history now?"

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