Monday, 11 March 2013
Disappointed with EWTN...
I have encouraged Father to purchase several DVD sets and books from EWTN, and he himself has encouraged our parish, via our weekly newsletter, to watch EWTN. We agree that many of its programmes are of superb formative value, and would like to see EWTN viewed in every Catholic home –and more besides. But EWTN does have its problems. Here in the UK programme schedules can be wrong several times in a week, and there are oddities in the liturgy of their daily Mass (motets to the Blessed Virgin during Holy Communion when we ought to be directing our attention to the Lord, for example. But that is for another post...) What disturbs me the most is the network’s obsession with John-Paul II. Throughout the entire papacy of Benedict XVI they seemed unable to refer to the reigning Pontiff without referring also to John-Paul II.
Now I, like Father, am very grateful to JP II for his oversight of the Catechism for the tying down of the Faith which had been so distorted by influential theologians after Vatican II. We are, I think I can safely say, also grateful for Inaestimabile Donum (1980) and especially for Redemptionis sacramentum (2005) by which he addressed abuses in the liturgy, though I do wish he had applied these to his own liturgies. But I think that, having began life as an actor early in his adult life, and having retained a charismatic personality, he became a Pope we went to see rather than hear, and since a Pope is primarily a teacher, not a performer, JP II’s charismatic character may have hindered the reception of his teaching.
Being such a charismatic personality one can see why he had such an effect upon EWTN. In that many of the presenters appear to have had him as their only Pope since they converted or reverted to The Faith, their connection to him as their spiritual father is to be expected, but the network’s obsession with JP seems to me quite marked, with frequent references to JP II as ‘The Great’. Personally, I cannot refer to a Pope who kissed the Koran as ‘Great’; I think the message he conveyed in that gesture is to be regretted since this is an act we reserve for the Word of God in the Sacred Scriptures.
Well, we now have EWTN’s The World Over Live programme suggesting Cardinal Dolan is a likely Pope. I do hope Cardinal Dolan does not become another EWTN obsession, though I suspect he already is, since his jolly character is quite intense (I cannot help but think of Mr Tickle when I see him)! But like JP II, such an external characteristic can get in the way of the message, which is unhelpful. If Cardinal Dolan is elected Pope we might get some respite from EWTN’s obsession with JP II, though I suspect it will be a case of saying how well he embodies the spirit and style of JP II. That may be true in more ways than one, for while JP II kissed the Koran, we have the much regretted memory of Cardinal Dolan being ever-so chummy with Obama at the Al Smith Dinner last year. An interesting note on this can be found here on LifeSiteNews.
So come on EWTN; let the Holy Ghost get on with the anointing...you may just get the man you seem to favour.