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vol, 9
no. 43

Mother Angelica - the "Lioness of Winter" who takes refuge in the Lamb of God.
         March is here, the month famed for entering like a lion and exiting as a lamb. And there looms on the horizon a possible clash of lion and ram as this year rapidly unfolds. That would be between the the "Lioness" Mother Angelica and "the Ram" Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. We make our analogy because, like a lioness, Mother is trying to defend the pride of Holy Mother Church; and as a ram, member of the sheep family, the cardinal has been trying to ram down the throats of his flock a radical pastoral as well as ram through a silence interdiction on Mother for standing up to him. The furor, as we've documented in numerous past issues is over the cardinal's controversial 1997 pastoral letter to the constituents of his domain which could have far-reaching consequences on many other dioceses throughout America. Mother was so bold as to take this liberal prelate on in her November 12 show on EWTN Mother Angelica Live in which she questioned the cardinal's intent as well as his belief in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist from his wording in that pastoral letter which seemingly diminished the role and essence of the priesthood. But Mother was not the first nor the last to take him to task. Not only did we do so in our pages here, but also well-known author Donna Steichen, who wrote "Ungodly Rage," exposing many liberal, modernist practices within the Church, wrote a revealing article in the respected monthly publication Catholic World Report on Mahony's methods and intimidation. It would seem this intimidation is being carried over toward Mother and other loyal Catholics who are trying to defend Rome for many of the implementations in Mahony's pastoral are foreign to anything Rome has ever seen. Such luminaries as Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., head of the well-respected Catholic publishing giant Ignatius Press has encouraged Mother to stay the course. Mahony has countered by going after Mother big time, even threatening to take it to the Vatican. You know something, we think that's playing right into Mother's hand. First of all, Mahony uses, as his mouthpiece to get the word out, the National Catholic Reporter - the known liberal spokesorgan for all radical and modernist agendas and a consistent critic of the Holy Father. They don't like the idea of a hierarchy with the Bishop of Rome calling the shots. As we wrote in a November editorial "They want a democracy, do it the way they want, their will. God's will? It only gets in the way of the new way of thinking and doing things and the old, orthodox way that served the Church for well over nineteen and a half centuries is now passe...If Hollywood-born Mahony has his way the American Catholic church will be of his fashion and he wants his subjects to be totally obedient. But obedience seems to escape him when it comes to his own. As a bishop, no less a cardinal, he has sworn his allegiance to to the Vicar of Christ - the Successor of Peter. He can criticize others right and left, but when criticized himself he has thin-skin as evident by his demand that Mother Angelica apologize for taking him to task over his pastoral in the LA Archdiocese." Three months after the Vatican issued its instructions on the role of laity we ask has the cardinal implemented those in his archdiocese? If not, why? Not complying would seem to be just as disobedient and disrespectful as Mother supposedly is accused of being towards him. Ah, if the shoe fits... Along with the Vatican web site and the Daily CATHOLIC, Mother was one of the first to disseminate the instructions that were released in mid-November on abuses in the liturgy regarding the laity. Has the cardinal implemented these? His pastoral seems foreign to what Pope John Paul II is expressing and it is especially different from the most recent release from the Holy See in November on instructions to the laity in respect to their role with priests. Mahony's pastoral seeks to increase the laity's role, while decreasing the importance of the priesthood by merely calling them "presiders." As the notorious "Church Lady" on the equally notorious and irreverant comedy show "Saturday Night Live" used to say, "Isn't that special?!?" That same character also was famous for asking each guest about their actions, "Could it be...satan!?!"

         That's a question we ask. Could it be ol' hornhead is horning more and more into the sanctuary contaminating priests, bishops and cardinals? Our Lady said as much at La Salette. The vision and messages to Saint John Bosco affirm it, and many messages to modern visionaries and messengers reiterate this. The actions of many priests, bishops and cardinals today confirm it. But the cardinal taking on Mother is a "David and Goliath" of mammoth proportions. Mahony chided Mother's recent miraculous healing as fitting so he wouldn't be accused of going after a "crippled nun." Perhaps he fails to consider that God healed her so that she could not only proclaim to the world God's Mercy and Love, but provide the world with a sign she should stay the course and not be intimidated by the liberals, even when their spokesperson is a cardinal, but rather uphold all that Jesus Christ intended for His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

          Mother's situation is not unique. Consider her makeup. She is loyal, feisty, stubborn, persistent, dedicated to her faith and vocation, and intent on correcting wrongs within her beloved Church. There were three others who shared those same traits. Two are Doctors of the Church, the other was the founder of the Order Mother belongs to: Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Catherine of Siena, and Saint Claire. Like Teresa and Catherine, who bumped heads not only with priests, bishops and cardinals, but also popes, Mother is bent on upholding the truths and not compromising on the dogmas, doctrines, teachings, and traditions of her faith. All these women were daring. Claire wouldn't allow the reformers to taint the Religious Order she had founded with Saint Francis' blessing and help. In fact, she was so obstinate that she defied the advice of her fellow nuns and personally took the monstrance to the heights of the city walls and held it aloft in the face of an inevitable Saracen attack. Her faith and courage turned them back. Teresa made quite a few enemies and suffered much, but never gave up in her feisty fight to return the Carmelites to the purity of the principles and essence on which they were founded. Catherine influenced not only bishops and cardinals, but convinced the supreme pontiffs to fight back and to return to Rome from their exile in Avignon. So Mother is in good company.

          It's a known fact that Mother and her fifty-million plus audience are the target of many of the bishops who don't take kindly to having someone as a watchdog to their carte blanche liberal policies as they grow further from Rome. Just as Catherine and Teresa were the targets of bishops and cardinals who didn't want these women meddling in matters they thought these two Doctors of the Church had no business in, so also is Mother today. Unfortunately those who opposed Catherine and Teresa had other ideas for the Church, agendas that didn't fit the overall well-being of Holy Mother Church. Despite persecution, slander, innuendo and power abuse that tried in vain to silence or curtail their efforts, the two saints prevailed. We're not saying Mother is a saint...yet, but take into consideration that Mother and EWTN have always upheld everything that the Church stands for with no exceptions and loyally follow the Pope's teachings and decrees, that is the way toward holiness and obedience. Can the cardinal say the same thing? According to his director for media relations Father Gregory Coiro, a Capuchin, the cardinal is consulting canon lawyers to try to get Rome to issue an interdiction against Mother. First of all, wouldn't you think a cardinal would know Canon Law backwards and forwards? Secondly, if he truly had a "clean closet" and was going to go "after" Mother, it would have happened by now. Thirdly, his threats to take it to Rome are hollow in light of the fact he was in Rome for the American Synod in December soon after the flap broke out and didn't approach, as far we know, the Holy Father on this matter. He'll have another chance to see the Pope this month since the American Ad Limina visits have begun where the U.S. bishops and cardinals meet with the Holy Father this month and next at different times depending on their region of the country. The thinking here is that Mahony's caveat is only a verbal coercion. Most liberals do it that way. Why? Because they don't have the ammo to back up their threats, for one; and secondly, because to bring something like this up for review they know their slate would be examined under the microscope as well. It's the normal course of any kind of jurist procedure. Because of this we suspect Mahony doesn't want the Holy Father to look too deeply into what he is really doing in his archdiocese. Therefore, look for this to all blowover as the cardinal tries to muscle Mother into compliance. He has tried to put undue influence on cracking down on the internet, crying foul that there were sites promoting private revelation, but saying very little about such sites as "Catholics for a Free Choice," "A Call To Action," "Dignity," and "We Are Church." Why do you think that is??? He's betrayed his liberal tendencies too many times to be truly taken seriously and he himself as too many blemishes to fully carry out his scare tactics. We also know you can't "muscle" or muzzle Mother. No one ever has, though they've tried. There's only one who could silence her and if he did, Mother would be totally obedient and comply. That would be Pope John Paul II. But he is the one who has given his blessings to Mother's tremendous apostolate and it is highly doubtful he would ever cowtow to the pressure of a liberal curia, cardinals and bishops to silence one of the true vehicles in the United States, the one influential voice that is trying to convey to the Church all the Pope is asking. No one ever muscled or muzzled Saint Teresa or Catherine. Yet they were respectful of priests, bishops and cardinals until they stepped over that line and went against the wishes of the Holy Father. Then they went into action. The same with Mother. The cardinals and bishops of Teresa and Catherine's time tried to silence them, but they could not be because God was on their side. Christ said in Matthew 7: 15, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them." The proof is in the pudding. Mother is not afraid to expose the wolves. Plus, the fruits of Mother's ministry are legendary. Despite all odds she has succeeded because she has, despite of and because of her stubbornness, sought to always do the will of God for she truly believes in Our Lord's words in Matthew 7: 21 ...he who does the will of My Father in Heaven shall enter the kingdom of Heaven. What of the fruits of the cardinal of Los Angeles? A good question that remains unanswered. But if he will comply totally with everything Rome has decreed and give up his agenda for a new American church, then perhaps the fruits will come. Right now, from his actions and track record we're looking at a pretty barren tree and we all know what a barren tree can't produce. So, if it comes to a showdown between Mother and Mahony, bet on this modern Teresa of Avila to prevail! March signals the beginning of Spring; a new time that should signal a rebirth of faith and compliance with Rome. That is the crux of Mother's tirade against the cardinal. Since this all took place during the winter of 1997 and 1998, we all look forward to Spring as hope springs eternal that the cardinal will come to his senses and calm down. As that noted bard William Shakespeare wrote, "Me thinks thou dost protest too much!" If he continues to protest, he could be in for quite a battle. After all, this "ram" is going up against a protective "lioness." Lionesses have that inborn motherly instinct to protect so she's not called "Mother" Angelica for nothing! And this fiery nun, like role models Teresa and Catherine, is one of the most ferocious defenders of the faith. After all she is: Mother Angelica - the "Lioness of Winter" who takes refuge in the Lamb of God.

Michael Cain, editor

March 2, 1998       volume 9, no. 43
Today's Catholic Pewpoint Editorial

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