From Renew America Website
Article by Matt C. Abbott
March 7, 2006

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Christopher Ferrara's response to Father Trigilio's statement is as follows (slightly edited):

Tradition is not a matter of taste. Tradition is the sum total of what has been handed down to the Church intact over the centuries to be protected and nurtured by the leadership of the Church. It is not a question of being 'traditional enough' but rather traditional period.

One reason I wrote the book was to avoid precisely what Fr. Trigilio's comments suggest: the acceptance by Catholics of a 'sliding scale' of Tradition that corresponds to the sliding scale of 'conservative' in secular politics.

Anyone who reads this book with an open mind will agree that since Mother Angelica's resignation in March of 2000 from the EWTN board, her surrender of her veto power over network decisions, and her turning over of all management to lay people which had nothing to do with her strokes EWTN has been purveying a great deal of content that would have horrified a Pope like Saint Pius X.

What would Saint Pius X think, for example, of a live TV broadcast in which an 'expert' on Catholic marriage urges viewers to imagine Our Lord engaging in marital relations through one's spouse as the 'incarnation' of His love? What would he think of a 'conservative' Novus Ordo Mass that features every one of the basic liturgical changes demanded by the Protestant rebels of the 16th century, including a dogged defense of communion in the hand by multiple EWTN 'experts'? What would he think of EWTN's active promotion of an association of 'Hebrew Catholics' whose leader says that the Church has been 'sociologically Gentile' for 1800 years, and that Jews cannot live their 'collective vocation' properly in the Church? These are just a few examples of the problematical and indeed scandalous content of the network's programming and Internet material that the book documents.

In the beginning of the book I stipulate that much of EWTN's content is quite good, but I also stress that it is no objection to the book to point this out without addressing the serious problems with many other elements of EWTN's content. Again and again and again I have heard from Catholics, including former EWTN celebrities, that something was seriously wrong with a lot of what the network was broadcasting on TV and the Web. That is the main reason I decided to undertake this book project.

Television is a powerful medium, and those who take it upon themselves to provide the 'Eternal Word' by that medium have a duty to be sure that everything they broadcast is wholly consistent with Catholic doctrine, dogma, decency and modesty. And those who undertake this mission voluntarily can hardly object if their fellow Catholics make legitimate criticisms of what they broadcast to the world.

What is more, EWTN does not confine itself to purveying a great deal of objectionable content. Its theological 'experts' take the offensive against so-called 'traditionalists' merely because they cling to the Faith of our fathers. And EWTN does this at the very moment the Vatican itself is conceding that the Society of Saint Pius X is not in schism, that the traditional Latin Mass was never prohibited by Paul VI, and that (as Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos recently put it) criticism of the changes in the Church since Vatican II 'can be a treasure for the Church.'

Why does Fr. Trigilio not protest the branding of traditionalists as 'disobedient,' 'schismatic,' and so forth by EWTN's lay experts, who have no authority to issue such pronouncements. At least the book presumes that those responsible for EWTN are in good faith.

I am disappointed that Fr. Trigilio has played 'the Pope card' in objecting to the book. He writes: 'Now, EWTN is no pope, but the criticisms and attacks leveled against it are often similar to those thrown at John Paul II or Benedict XVI.'

Have we not had enough of this draping of the patently objectionable in the papal flag? Instead of a demagogic invocation of papal authority, why not discuss the real concerns that many Catholics, not just this author, have with EWTN? If what some call 'the most Catholic thing out there' would have sent the great pre-conciliar popes into apoplexy, should Catholics simply shrug their shoulders and say, 'Well, EWTN is at least better than what the local bishop provides'? I think more is expected of us than acceptance of a sliding scale of Roman Catholicism.

Finally, I want to stress that the book, as it states, was written in a fraternal spirit. No one would like to see EWTN become a force for ecclesial restoration of true opposition to Modernism in the Church more than I would. Indeed, the book notes that back in the 1990s, traditionalists, myself included, were applauding the courageous stands of Mother Angelica and were hoping she would become an ally in the cause for restoring everything that has been overturned since the Council.

I sincerely hope that EWTN becomes what it could be: the vanguard of a movement to restore the Church, rather than a 'conservative' adaptation to the post-conciliar revolution. I sincerely hope that instead of attempting to update Roman Catholicism with rock music and other elements to suit what Fr. Trigilio calls the 'taste' of present-day Catholics, EWTN will come to recognize the disaster that even Msgr. Klaus Gamber, writing with the approval of the former Cardinal Ratzinger, noted in his Reform of the Roman Liturgy:

'Is this the spring people had hoped would emerge from the Second Vatican Council? Instead of a genuine renewal in our Church, we have seen only novelties. Instead of our religious life entering a period of new invigoration, as has happened in the past, what we see now is a form of Christianity that has turned towards the world.'