Friday, 29 July 2011

Time to say farewell to Channel 589?

Please DO adjust your sets!

Just in case you live outside of England and Wales, Channel 589 is the EWTN Channel - the Eternal Word Television Network founded by Mother Angelica with a large nudge from the Holy Spirit to get it going.
It started well with Mother A's fairly traditional homespun type of Catholicism; the good common sense type that one's Granny might have counselled you with but, in recent years the Channel's integrity levels seem to have dipped.

EWTN screens a weird mix of what one might call 'folk Catholicism' - a bit of Dana here and some University Graduates sounding off about sexual abstinence there. I do not mock the subject matter, just the saccharine way in which the Faith is presented.
And for some reason, all male presenters (other than Raymond Arroyo) seem to sport beards or moustaches. Now an occasional beard is acceptable but wall to wall carpeting is a bit of an overkill. As for moustaches......the very height of male vanity!

Now I'm really getting into curmudgeon mode, the set backgrounds look as if they are rejects from the Addams Family series, sort of 1950s style meets with Austrian kitsch. Ugh!
Could someone please also tell them that they could achieve better effects with a little subtle lighting and a plain background?

If you have children then they will be put off the Catholic Faith for life if they watch the Bible according to Mickey Mouse, the noxious and vomit inducing cartoon version of the Life of Christ.
As for the Daily Mass, I have never heard such monotonous wailing. No one looks very pleased to be there and there is a cantor with a most odd tone. Just what is going on?

Of course I am being judgemental and critical but then all too often the Catholic laity have been served up with luke warm offerings from their Bishops and the lay organisations that exist to promote the Faith and it really is time that what is offered to us is improved in its content and presentation and we should not be afraid to complain, loudly.

Now, we have lost Fr Corapi, and that leaves a very big hole for EWTN to fill. We do have the Papal Audience which is worth watching (every couple of months or so) and we do have Fr Groeschel, also very interesting and informative. We also have dear Auntie J doing her cookery thing - very nice.

What are the reasons for this dive into pop Catholic culture? Is it a battle for ratings? Or, is it that most if not all of the EWTN production and presentation team seem to be refugees from the Lutheran Church and have, maybe, brought this strange mix of lib Protestant/Catholic values with them?

We should be dancing on the tables at the thought of a Television Channel dedicated to Catholic news and views; instead, I find it all rather embarrassing and would rather my non Catholic friends did not see it.


  1. LOL. Thank you, Richard, for voicing some of the thoughts I have often had regarding the way EWTN has been going in recent years.

    I must confess that I hardly watch it, but do like the way it covers Papal events. As I don't have SKY (or whatever I need to watch EWTN on the TV), I follow the channel on the Internet.

  2. The only bit I cannot agree with is your comment about beards! Sometimes EWTN is awful. I was out there about three years ago - at a retreat at Hanceville, the Shrine of The Blessed Sacrament (incredible place) and they gave us a tour of the EWTN studios nearer the city. I was impressed by much of it, but I agree that the programs are often not worth the bother. One of my frequent complaints has to do with the eccentrics they use and that some of the presenters are clueless or boring. I am also thinking of giving up on it. I hope someone connected with EWTN reads this blog!

  3. Fr J - oops! Sorry about that Father, I only meant beards en masse!

  4. "As for moustaches......the very height of male vanity!"

    If I find a saingt with a moustache you are in big trouble mister! ;-)

    I have seen great programmes on EWTN, with the likes of Scott Hahn and the American Chestertonian chap Dale Ahlquist [spelling?]

    Sad to say though you're better off searching youtube for such progs as you can scan the channel many times without finding much to stir the soul.

    A friend did say that GKC scholar Joseph pearce is on there at the moment (Sunday afternoons and Tuesday mornings if I remember right). Haven't seen that prog yet though.

    What we really need is some kind, patient soul with a traditional bent who can sift EWTN and highlight good programmes so we can all keep an eye open for them.

    Now I am half tempted to grow a moustache... but I dont want to look like an extra out of The Village People!!!! Altogether now -- "Y. M. C. A...." [arrrggggghhhhhhh].

    I think a need a cup of tea. ;-)

  5. Hummmm, Watched an amazing documentary on Pope Pius X11 last week. It was so good that I will definitly keep EWTN on just for the very reason of the odd amazing programme that you would never find on any other channel.
    Then there is Mr and Mrs Lord, the couple who travel around the world bringing us to Shrines and places of apparitions that would never come to my attention if it wasn't for them.
    documentaries of lives of saints or holy priests and nuns. Lots of good stuff if you time it right. EWTN is not perfect but it is still safer than most TV channels throughout 24 hours and does not offend God in the same way as the (breaking every commandment going) other channels do. Give it a break guys!

  6. I am amazed at your attitude towards EWTN.

    OK its not perfect but how many other orthodox Catholic TV channels are out there?

    So what if a lot of the presenters have beards and there a few converts presenting programs? Don't forget that this channel is financed by donations and therefore are unable to pay for slick programs.

    Instead of knocking them you should be trying to promote them.

    1. Hear, hear! No Catholic lite lib-Prot wannabes to be seen since their inception. They're the best thing on the telly, tout court.

      The spirit of Vatican II, by which these bored bohemians are presumably led, would be insufferably otiose if it actually existed (outside their dissentious, emasculated imaginings).