Since the publication of his critique of EWTN, Dr. Keith Soko has taken a lot of heat from Mother Angelica’s fans. I think some balance is in order in this discussion.
Item: In 1993, Mother Angelica criticized the portrayal of Christ by a woman in the Stations of the Cross during World Youth Day despite sanctioning by a papal spokesman.
Item: In 1997, she urged Los Angeles archdiocesan Catholics to render “zero” obedience to Cardinal Roger Mahony because she didn’t like the wording of his pastoral on the Eucharist. If anyone of a progressive bent had made such a slashing attack on a conservative prelate, the hierarchy and conservative commentators would have screamed.
Item: A Nebraska bishop who forbids female altar servers and refuses to conform to the U.S. bishops’ charter to combat clergy sexual abuse has been featured on EWTN.
These incidents have nothing to do with church doctrine or spirituality. They are merely reflections of Mother Angelica’s conservative political opinions, which are not binding on anyone. If it’s OK for Mother Angelica to lash out in this manner, it’s fair game for Dr. Soko or anyone else to speak in rebuttal — and they are no less Catholic for doing so.
Father Ron Rolheiser made an excellent point in a column a few years ago. The gist of it was that if your message was colored too much by ideology, liberal or conservative, the people on the other side would tune out anything you had to say. Because of Mother Angelica’s conservative ideology, many people avoid EWTN completely; even its high quality offerings are perceived through the prism of conservative ideology.
Even though Dr. Soko got severely bashed in the letters section, he made some excellent points, and I salute his candor and courage in so doing.
Rock Island, Ill.