Catholic Culture Overview
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Pope rips EWTN ‘work of the devil’

September 21, 2021

Pope Francis has lashed out at the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), saying: “They are the work of the devil.”

During a meeting with Jesuits in Slovakia, the Pontiff spoke of “a large Catholic television channel that has no hesitation in continually speaking ill of the Pope.” Although he did not name the network, the reference clearly was to EWTN. “I personally deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner,” the Pontiff said; “but the Church does not deserve them.”

Pope Francis said that he had “said this to some of them”—apparently indicating that he had lodged complaints with some representatives of the American television network. His public remarks could put more pressure on EWTN, a network that has built up a large international following in part because of its willingness to tackle controversial issues.

The Pope’s question-and-answer session with Jesuits occurred on September 12, during his visit to Slovakia. A full transcript of the session was released on September 21.

During the same session, Pope Francis also expressed impatience with priests who “make nasty comments about me,” complaining that “they make judgments without entering into a real dialogue.”

Evidently linking such criticism to support for the Tridentine liturgy, the Pope went on to speak of “the decision to stop the automatism of the ancient rite.” He said that when young priests seek permission to celebrate the Latin Mass, it is “a phenomenon that indicates we are going backward.”

Earlier in the exchange, Pope Francis had spoken out against a tendency to “look back to the past: to seek security.” He said: “This is the evil of this moment—namely, to seek the path in rigidity and clericalism, which are two perversions.”

“It frightens us to accompany people with sexual diversity,” the Pope told the Jesuit group. He urged them to “go forward in pastoral experiences.”

Also during the meeting, the Pope said:

  • After his July intestinal surgery, he is “still alive, even though some people wanted me to die.” He remarked that some cardinals were preparing for a conclave, believing his condition was grave.
  • He recommends the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius particularly to Jesuits suffering from a lack of fervor.
  • Ideologies have “a diabolical appeal,” and gender ideology in particular is “dangerous.” However the Pope cautioned against making abstract judgments rather than considering individuals. “If there is a homosexual couple, we can do pastoral work with them, move forward in our encounter with Christ.”
  • The Western world must welcome migrants and help them to become members of their host society. “Leaving migrants without integration is leaving them in misery; it is equivalent to not welcoming them.”


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  • Posted by: tjbenjamin - Sep. 28, 2021 11:33 PM ET USA

    Thin-skinned, yes, but perhaps something more. Paranoia? Pope Francis has never seemed very stable, and lately, seems to be getting worse. He may be unwell mentally. Pray, pray, pray.

  • Posted by: wacondaseeds4507 - Sep. 22, 2021 2:23 PM ET USA

    Obviously, Pope Francis does not spend his time watching EWTN, so he is evidently getting misguided information from his associates and advisors who have axes to grind. A few names come to mind.

  • Posted by: Joseph Nicholas - Sep. 22, 2021 9:30 AM ET USA

    Pope Francis' claim that young priests seeking permission to celebrate the Latin Mass is “a phenomenon that indicates we are going backward”, I personally do not believe that we as Catholics went "forward" with the New Mass.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Sep. 22, 2021 2:19 AM ET USA

    Our earliest impressions of Pope Francis have been proven correct, beginning with: "Who am I to judge?" This ideological expression uttered by the most judgmental pope in my lifetime.

  • Posted by: Leopardi - Sep. 21, 2021 10:14 PM ET USA

    Citing EWTN as devils work when speaking to the Jesuits is very ironic! The pot defaming the kettle comes to mind.

  • Posted by: feedback - Sep. 21, 2021 9:41 PM ET USA

    None of the remarks seem to make a whole lot of sense. But, perhaps it's time that Francis and his advisors would finally notice a connection between critical voices about his papacy, whatever they are, and his reckless decisions, such as letting communist party run the suffering Catholic Church in China?

  • Posted by: toddvoss1511 - Sep. 21, 2021 8:45 PM ET USA

    EWTN ain’t what it used to be but it is annoying when Pope Francis complains about his critics not entering into Dialogue when he won’t meet with them -as just one example the dubia cardinals

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Sep. 21, 2021 8:32 PM ET USA

    If this reporting is accurate this probably the last straw for me. He criticized Trump but he acts 2x worse that Trump. Such a thin skin. This is pathetic.

  • Posted by: mhains8491 - Sep. 21, 2021 6:56 PM ET USA

    I wonder whether Pope Chaos and Confusion even knows the faith sometimes. The Church is suffering greatly under his Pontificate. I can see why Christ first sent St John Paul the Great.

  • Posted by: JimKcda - Sep. 21, 2021 6:23 PM ET USA

    How long, Oh Lord?

  • Posted by: td4207 - Sep. 21, 2021 6:22 PM ET USA

    Please tell me how "Pastoral work" with a homosexual couple, most likely civilly married, can be accomplished without that "Pastoral work" implicitly conveying legitimacy to a relationship that Jesus Himself spoke against?

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Sep. 21, 2021 6:16 PM ET USA

    This is very disturbing. In all my years listening to and watching on Internet and radio, I have never heard a disparaging remark. Many of us have sincere and well considered problems with the Pontiff's off-cuff remarks, but to move toward what appears to be the boundaries of slander against a network that has brought many to Christ seems inappropriate and extreme. As a donor, I'd like to see evidence.