Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mother Angelica's empire

Raymond Arroyo's authorized biography of Mother Angelica made The New York Times bestseller list in the first week of its publication. Remarkable for any book, but particularly so for a study of an American Roman Catholic nun. And one whose name probably means very little to most people reading this column.


The Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s intended to open one or two windows. Modernist radicals were more interested in smashing stained glass. Genuinely Catholic bishops, priests, teachers and activists found themselves marginalized and in some cases persecuted.

Then the great change -- Pope John Paul the Great. The faithful were empowered and a new wave of organizations, publishers, periodicals and colleges began to flourish. EWTN was part of the exquisite counter-reformation.

Mother Angelica herself is an unlikely hero. Born Rita Rizzo, she grew up in an Ohio slum dominated by organized crime where prostitutes and thugs walked the streets. Her mother suffered from acute and sometimes suicidal depression, her father abandoned the family and left them in poverty.

She became a cloistered nun and expected to spend the rest of her life as such. But she saw at first-hand the contrived decay of the Catholic Church and felt obliged to intervene. As is so often the case with people who have been mugged by the reality of the inner city, she has never suffered liberals lightly and was not about to blithely accept establishment driven rusty relativism.


Read the complete article The nun who became a mogul from National Post.

The article goes on to recount more Canadian concerns that long-time readers of Relapsed Catholic should be familiar with from RC's writings.

In any case, the article at the National Post is a fascinating look at both Mother Angelica and the Canadian religious experience. Raymond Arroyo's book is of course an authorized biography, but as another article I read recounts, he didn't leave out a screaming match between Mother and a bishop. I think I'll go ahead and pick this up on Amazon.

On a sidenote, I watch EWTN very little. They don't close-captioned a lot of their programming, which is in my book a pretty serious sin of omission.

On another sidenote, Raymond Arroyo and his family fled Katrina. If you're looking for a good charitable act, you could pick up his book as your good deed for the day.

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