Catholics need to be wary of ‘Catholic’ network that relentlessly attacks Pope Francis and distorts his leadership at important church events like the Amazon Synod
Of all the speeches, homilies and documents that issue from Pope Francis, my favorite have become the transcriptions of his meetings with local Jesuits on his apostolic visits around the globe, transcripts then published by Civilta Cattolica.
In September 2021, Civilta published the transcript of the Pope’s meeting with 63 Jesuits in Slovakia. The exchange provided a window into the Holy Father’s thoughts on a variety of topics, but the most newsworthy were his comments about EWTN.
“There is, for example, a large Catholic television channel that has no hesitation in continually speaking ill of the pope,” the pope said. “I personally deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner, but the church does not deserve them. They are the work of the devil. I have also said this to some of them.”
The real problem with EWTN, however, is not that it criticizes the pope and does so in ways that undermine the affective collegiality the church needs if it is to overcome the polarization that afflicts it. It is that the network is a shill for a political agenda. I watch Arroyo’s show most weeks. I watch EWTN News Nightly at least once a week. It is not that they only present one side of particular political issues. It is that the Catholic faith is always made subservient to a political agenda, a Republican and increasingly Trumpian agenda.
The pope’s comments about EWTN call for some serious discernment by the leadership of the network, and the leaders of the church should consider what leverage they have to encourage reform at the channel.’
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Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.
With thanks to the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) and Michael Sean Winters, where this article originally appeared.