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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Faith Formation: Use of EWTN & Other Catholic Media

Sharing a few personal thoughts…

Many if not most parishioners of the Archdiocese have cable, satellite and/or Verizon access to EWTN and their Catholic programming. There is also some availability with the low power Guadalupe Catholic AM Radio station (however, I have had more success listening online than over the radio). Raymond Arroyo produces the EWTN television news program, The World Over from the Pope John Paul II Center (now owned by the Knights of Columbus) in Washington, DC. While I am appreciative that there was a certain past tension in the relationship between Mother Angelica and certain U.S. bishops, it is time to heal wounds and to repair bridges. Along with the local radio effort, Eternal Word Television Network offers many good programs which we can advertise and make use. Study guides can be prepared for some of the programming and we can help advertise shows of particular value in Catholic formation. Discussion groups might even be formed to watch and talk about useful faith content. When I met Mother Angelica back in 1989, she said that priests always had her okay to tape and use her programming back in the parishes. The USCCB and the Archdiocese should closely collaborate with those media partners who share our mission in building up the Church. Mother Angelica was a courageous wonder-worker in making her network a success when even the bishops with far more money and resources could not make their early initiative work out. However, it must be admitted that her somewhat cantankerous manner and independence sometimes complicated the situation. The war of words with Cardinal Mahoney and his document on the liturgy was a conflict that should have been settled behind closed doors and not on the air. When the saintly Archbishop Philip Hannan sought to create a Catholic television network, expanding his own local efforts, she interpreted the initiative as a personal betrayal and removed his news program FOCUS from her scheduled lineup. It was a great loss because it was one of the best Catholic programs available. She was also quick to remove programs when priests or bishops displeased her on certain issues, as with the closure of non-viable parishes in certain dioceses. This was rumored as one of the reasons why The Teaching of Christ disappeared from her station’s offerings some years back. It was another loss that many of us keenly felt, (especially since it was a habit of mine to tape programs for catechetical use with adults). Her station has also been plagued by giving celebrity status to certain priests and laity who later had to be removed for causing scandal or for deviation to the traditionalist camp. Only a few years ago there was an issue of prudence with the EWTN coverage of the U.S. bishops and their national meeting. Throughout, a closer collaboration with the Church’s shepherds might have prevented embarrassments to the Church and pain to Catholic viewers. We all love the Church and should work together in the Holy Spirit for the promotion of the kingdom.