In March, NCR columnist Michael Sean Winters wrote about a journalism conference sponsored by EWTN and Franciscan University of Steubenville, saying the event was "simply one more example of American Catholic myopia" and "the culture warriors at EWTN fail to grasp the relationship of their faith to the culture." One month later, Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese wrote in his own column for Religion News Service that while the Catholic media empire is known for its conservative programming, "Progressive Catholics need to confess, we are jealous. We wish we were as successful as EWTN." NCR readers respond to these columns with letters that have been edited for length and clarity.
Interesting article, I might suggest the author and NCR go purchase a mirror. All "journalists" need to do a better job, your bias comes through quite clear and your truth seems to have its own particular filter. We all need to pray to the Holy Spirit for the truth.
Mr. Winter's claim that EWTN is suffering from a "blindspot" and has an "inability to transcend the myopia of a variety of conservative American Catholicism," is based on the assumption that the progressive political position of the National Catholic Reporter is representative of the universal church. This elitist view demonstrates a clear ignorance of the fact that many practicing Catholics worldwide are so-called "conservative" Catholics who are faithful to the perennial teaching of the magisterium. Many practicing Catholics are in the Global South, the progressive ideologues in Europe and North America who are advocating for sweeping changes to church teaching are elitist new colonialists who have already abandoned the church and her teachings in favour of the neo-marxist post-modern progressive ideology. The divisive rhetoric that Mr. Winters is pushing is antithetical to Catholicism. There are no "liberals" or "conservatives" in the Catholic Church. There are those who are faithful to the church and the deposit of faith handed down from the apostles and those who deny the divine origins of the deposit of faith and insist that it is merely a man-made social construction up for debate and in desperate need of updating.
I find great encouragement from EWTN as I try to confront struggles and persecution and to truly deny myself and take up the cross. I don't follow everything said on their programs, but I pick out the spiritual pearls I find on many of their shows. Like everything in the church, I don't agree with everything said from the priest's homily, but instead of exclusion I listen to what I feel is inspired by the Holy Spirit. I think instead of excluding, we should work on dialogue within the Body of Christ. We are fellow sinners and we must ask God's mercy and healing for all of us, not cause divisions! So let's not point out the faults of any, as long as it does not go contrary to the Doctrine of Faith.
SAMUEL FERRO, JR.
Ocean, New Jersey
I read this diatribe with a modicum of amusement as it is replete with "Jesuit speak." To begin with, there are not progressive or conservative Catholics. We are just Catholics, period. What does this mean, to accept all of the tenets of the church and its magisterium. With regards to the rest of the column, it is simple why so-called liberal magazines and broadcasts are failing — "no one is buying what they are selling." No one is buying the beloved Jesuit social justice warrior message. The problem with this message is that much of it is demonstrably wrong and is grounded in everything except the supernatural. Furthermore, just in reading what Fr. Reese wrote, one sees how it is full of strawman arguments and outright falsehoods. So, if you want to be like EWTN, perhaps some introspection and adjustment is required.
NICHOLAS J. CAMPBELL, JR.