EWTN: Vehicle
of Neo-Modernism

An interview with Christopher Ferrara on his new book:
EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong

CFN: What prompted you to write this book?

CF: The constant reports and complaints I had heard, and verified by my own viewing and other research, concerning EWTN’s content, which especially since the departure of Mother Angelica, has become in many respects utterly modernist by every objective historical standard of Roman Catholicism. There is no doubt in my mind that St. Pius X, or any other of the great pre-Conciliar Popes, would scream with horror at much of what EWTN broadcasts to the world as authentic Roman Catholicism. And yet for millions of Catholics EWTN is the Catholic Faith. This network has more influence today than the Vatican itself. And that is a serious problem in the Church.

CFN: The first thing I thought when reading the manuscript is that this book is long overdue.

CF: Exactly. That is the comment I have almost uniformly received from people — priests, religious and even former EWTN celebrities — who had heard I was writing this book. They were glad to hear that someone had finally taken the trouble to document the many strange and heterodox elements of EWTN’s content.

CFN: Could you give a summary of what the book contains?

CF: A sketch of the post-Vatican II Modernist uprising in the Church, followed by lots of documentation on how EWTN is promoting it — unwittingly or not. And, finally, a discussion of what Catholics can do about the crisis in the Church in general and EWTN in particular.

CFN: What do you mean when you say that EWTN promotes “moderate” Modernism.

CF: I mean a form of modernism — quite subtle really — that undermines the Faith beneath an outward appearance of piety, and even in combination with many good and praiseworthy elements in EWTN’s programming. For example, an image of the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance accompanied by pounding rock music, or a so-called “conservative” Novus Ordo Mass that embodies every element demanded by the Protestant “reformers” in the 16th Century, or to give another example, good and pious statements about Jesus and Mary by a Jewish “convert” who says the Church is too Gentile for Jews and that Jews must have their own “Hebrew Catholic” community if they are to convert in any numbers.

CFN: You say in your book that EWTN effectively denies the de­fined, infallible Catholic doctrine “Outside the Church there is no salvation”.

CF: Most certainly. On EWTN shows conversion to the Faith is discussed entirely in terms of a “fullness” or “closer spiritual walk with Jesus” than people already have in Protestantism, and never in terms of conversion being a matter of spiritual life and death for the members of Protestant and schismatic “churches.” The Catholic Church is presented as the Cadillac of religions, while the others are still perfectly serviceable Buicks or Fords. And a number of EWTN “ex­perts,” including Fr. Benedict Groeschel, openly declare essentially that the practitioners of all religions — all “good people,” really — are saved. The Church is presented as desirable, but not necessary for salvation. The sacraments are presented as promoting a spiritual “fullness,” but not as the means of salvation — directly contrary to the anathema of Trent. As Trent specifically declared in an infallible manner: let anyone who says the Sacraments instituted by Our Lord merely nourish Faith, but are not necessary for salvation, be anathema — that is ac­cursed and expelled from the Church. But the Faith promoted by EWTN disregards every anathema of the Church concerning the objective necessity of membership in the Church for salvation. That is the ecumenical mindset. And EWTN promotes it to the hilt.

CFN: You also point out that they effectively deny the need for dissidents to return to the Catholic Church.

CF: On EWTN there are no longer any non-Catholic “dissidents,” as the Popes constantly referred to them before Vatican II. There are only “brother Christians” of all stripes who are never told they are risking eternal damnation by remaining outside the Church. No, they are told only that they can have a “fullness of truth” in the Church. Even Jews are told they can have a “fullness of the covenant.” What covenant? They reject the only covenant that operates now: the covenant of the Blood of Christ.

CFN: What about the “Cool” Catholicism they promote?

CF: By that I mean EWTN’s lame and offensive attempt to combine Cath­olicism with pounding rock music, crude slang, slov­enly dress, and even such things as a Las Vegas lounge act broadcast on Christmas Eve, hosted by Raymond Arroyo.

CFN: They also promote the alleged superiority of the New Mass over the Latin Tridentine Mass?

CF: EWTN’s “theological committee” is opposed to any restoration of the traditional Mass, which they view as impossible and undesirable.

CFN: You have an entire chapter entitled “Pro­moting Paganism and Sacrilege”.

CF: Yes, EWTN has happily promoted the World Youth Day “Catholic Wood­stocks” you have exposed, has denied and then tried to cover up the recent sacrilege in the Fatima Shrine, where Hindus prayed to Vishnu, and has reported as if they were the most solemn of Catholic liturgies the late Pope’s bizarre and scandalous “inculturated” Masses, including a pagan purification ritual in Mexico in which the Pope was rubbed down with herbs by women on camera.

CFN: One of the most fascinating chapters in the book is “The Return of the Judaizers”. Could you comment on this?

CF: This is simply unbelievable. EWTN is actively — aggressively — promoting an organization, the Association of Hebrew Catholics, that is calling for the creation of a “Hebrew Catholic” canonical community in which Jews would be separately baptized in the Church, because, as they put it, over the past 1800 years the Church has become “sociologically Gentile,” and there is no place in the Church for Jews to pursue their “collective vocation.” EWTN has also promoted the Catholic celebration of Jewish holidays, and Seder suppers and “Hebrew Masses” on the Jewish New Year in Catholic parishes.

CFN: EWTN has various “experts” to whom Catholics telephone or e-mail asking for guidance. Often times, the answers given are less than Catholic. Could you give us a few examples of EWTN “experts” wayward advice?

CF: That’s almost the whole book. But here are some: Jews need not convert if they “honestly cannot” accept Christ. Married couples must decide every month and even every day whether they are going to conceive a child or avoid conception by using “Natural Family Planning.” Marital relations are a preparation for eternal beatitude, and without engaging in them, a couple will not be ready to stand before God after death. (I am not making this up!) The conversion of Russia does not mean embracing Catholicism. Catholics should celebrate Jewish holidays, including Pass­over, to learn about their “Jewish roots.” There is nothing wrong with Com­munion in the hand, and if we find it scandalous, the fault is ours. It goes on for more than 150 pages in the book.

CFN: What do you have to say to those who defend EWTN because of the allegedly good programs it broadcasts.

CF: Even the most sumptuous feast should be avoided if it contains a single drop of cyanide. There are many drops of cyanide in EWTN’s content. That is the essence of “moderate” modernism: getting people to swallow the bad with the good under the pretense that the whole poisonous mixture is sound Catholicism. They end up spiritually dead, or at least gravely ill.

CFN: What do you hope this book achieves?

CF: Making people aware that what EWTN presents to the world as the “gold standard” of Roman Cath­olicism would have earned the condemnation of any Pope before Vatican II. I hope to warn Catholics not to accept a “sliding scale” of Catholicism much like that we have seen in politics, where today’s “conservative” would have been viewed as a liberal savage only 40 years ago. That is how Modernism destroys the Faith, by the gradual erosion of the very meaning of the Faith. My research has confirmed beyond doubt that, whatever the subjective intentions of its directors and celebrities — and I would never presume to judge them here or in the book — by any objective standard EWTN is a modernist enterprise promoting liturgical, doctrinal and even moral corruption. Catholics must oppose it, and demand that it reform itself or shut down.

Reprinted with permission from March 2006 issue of Catholic Family News