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Church à la Mother Angelica


As a featured speaker at a Call to Holiness Conference in mid-November in suburban Detroit, Mother Angelica, peppery founder of the cable Eternal Word Television Network, was more often the pious preacher than the controversial basher of liberal Catholics.

Nevertheless, amid reflections on love, courage and forgiveness and on the defense of "truth" in the church, she got in her knocks.

Among her remarks, gleaned from videotapes of her two main conference talks:

"We lose a few skirmishes here and there, but we shall not lose the battle or the war."

"Pray for those who have given up truth because they have itchy ears, because they want power."

"We need great compassion and prayer for those who yell and scream a lot about renewal and freedom ... hold seances with a candle in the middle, mumble their crazy stuff ... dance around like they're drunk."

"Why? Pride and power. They want a God to come out of them. I could tell them what comes out of them real quick."

"Why is it our children don't know the Hail Mary? ... Why is it our preschoolers are learning sex education all the way through to college. It took my mother five minutes to tell me. You let things go so far, it's hard to get them back."

"I just heard a very liberal theologian, who said he can't wait until he dies and goes to heaven so he doesn't have to be around John Paul II. When he said that, I had a suspicion where he was going, and he sure enough won't find John Paul II there."

"My friends, have no fear they're on their way out. But when you look at them all together, they're getting quite old. The old reaper is around the corner, and nothing that is heretical or schismatic ... I don't want to mention those words today, because I don't want to cause any hurt feelings."

"When I started going to the bishop's conference, I refused to interview three or four of them. They got very angry, and said, 'By what authority do you do that?'

"I said, 'I own the network.'

"He said, 'Well, you won't always be there.'

"I said, 'Well, I'll blow the damn thing up before you get it."

"We all understand things are not what they should be, but I can tell you ... if we pray enough, if we do what Our Lady asks us to do, and that is to pray the rosary ... do all you can to be like Jesus ... It was hard when he was in agony to see how many souls would be lost despite his redemption."

"You are on the winning side. You have nothing and no one to fear. Be Catholic and be proud of it. Don't worry about liberals. ... Pray for them because they're on a downward path. They need your prayers, your love, your forgiveness. God needs your zeal."

"Sometimes you have to be brutally honest. Jesus needs you to defend him, and if you're persecuted for it, fine."

National Catholic Reporter, December 6, 1996