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