fbpx

“Liberals are kind of like herpes. Just when you think you have it beat, they come back again. There’s no cure. You can only keep it at bay.”

– Laura Ingraham, 2018 CPAC Address

Note: This is the first post in a series on longtime EWTN host Raymond Arroyo. Part One, “Policy over Fidelity,” explores how Arroyo uses his program, The World Over Live, to promote a political agenda that is often at odds with Church teaching. Part Two explores how the program has been used to undermine Pope Francis and his mission, to condescend and misrepresent faithful Catholics, and to sow confusion and dissent among the faithful.


Longtime EWTN news anchor Raymond Arroyo has been in the public eye quite a bit lately. Whether he’s hawking his latest book, appearing on Fox News as a regularly scheduled guest, on EWTN critiquing the latest news from the Vatican with his “papal posse,” or talking politics with a prominent right-wing figure, he’s possibly the most visible U.S. spokesman for a particular brand of Catholicism, one that holds the pope in open contempt and promotes Francis’s most severe critics.

This report provides just a small sample of the voices to whom he’s given a platform on national television, on a program that purports to be faithful the the Magisterium and in communion with the pope.

Laura Ingraham

Arroyo’s connection to conservative radio and Fox News television host Laura Ingraham is well documented. From their appearances on each other’s television and radio programs to 2012’s Of Thee I Zing: America’s Cultural Decline from Muffin Tops to Body Shots, a book they co-wrote, these two DC-based national media personalities have a close friendship that goes beyond affinity but also to a seemingly shared worldview.

Arroyo introduced Ingraham prior to her 2018 CPAC speech, during which she described liberals as “kind of like herpes. Just when you think you have it beat, they come back again. There’s no cure. You can only keep it at bay.” Both reject the position of the Catholic hierarchy on immigration, the environment, and the economy. Both she and Arroyo were early supporters of Donald Trump’s candidacy, even when other pro-life candidates were still in the running for the Republican nomination.

Ingraham was recently in the news for mocking Parkland High School shooting survivor David Hogg on Twitter, a move which has cost her television program at least 15 sponsors. But Hogg has not been the only target of her derision. Ingraham has taken a few swipes at the Pope Francis as well, and even teaming up with Arroyo in recent weeks to mock the Holy Father on her Fox News show.

On that program, she voiced her frustration over having both an active pope and a retired pope in the Vatican, complaining, “You have two Popes.  OK? You can’t have two Popes. … That was always going to cause a problem. I mean, you’re dealing with two Popes, okay?”

Other examples of her criticism of Pope Francis include:

  • On August 23, 2015, she had Acton Institute president Fr. Robert Sirico on her radio program. Speaking about Pope Francis, she said:

“What is at times very difficult for folks to get their minds wrapped around is the policy that the pope wades into. It does stray from Church doctrine… When the pope goes on about climate change or capitalism … I’m not comfortable with all that. …It’s the policy stuff that’s annoying. It’s annoying to a lot of people, we need spiritual nourishment, we don’t need global warming dictates from Rome.”

  • On the November 14, 2016 episode of her radio show, she criticized Pope Francis’s environmentalist views, saying, “Aren’t they supposed to be saving souls, not saving trees?”

Now, while Raymond Arroyo can’t be faulted for everything his friend says or does, I am unaware of anything that suggests he disagrees with her, and he did join in her mockery of the Holy Father on at least that one recent occasion.

Michael Savage

Laura Ingraham’s dismissive attitude towards the pope is nothing compared to the anger and vitriol directed at him by radio host Michael Savage.

One wonders what motivated Arroyo to invite Savage on the November 23, 2017 episode of The World Over Live program. Savage, who is not and has never been Catholic, was promoting his latest book. Early in the upbeat, sympathetic interview, Arroyo told Savage, “I’ve read so many of your books, I’ve been listening to you for years.”

Now, we can’t expect a television host to be aware of all of the views of all of his guests. But one imagines it would be impossible listen to Michael Savage for years and not be aware of his anti-Catholic (and oftentimes repugnant) views on immigration, gun control, war, the death penalty, Islam, the economy, the environment, and a host of other issues.

And surely Arroyo can’t be unaware of Savage’s opinion of Pope Francis. Savage has ranted about the Holy Father on the air many times. A quick search on YouTube yields numerous videos of his radio diatribes against Francis. A small sampling:

  • On his broadcast of September 21, 2015, he said, “The pope is a moron. He is one of the stupidest people I have ever encountered in the history of the intellectual world. He is perhaps the dumbest man on Earth.”
  • The following day, he upped the ante, calling Francis a “double-talking liar,” a “hypocrite,” and a “political operative.”
  • On his program on March 25, 2016, which was also Good Friday, Savage said, “I think the pope is insane, I think he’s a deranged socialist fool.”

And yet, Savage’s EWTN interview was warm and friendly. Arroyo’s admiration for Savage and his work was obvious. Arroyo pitched one softball question after another, and the two discussed Savage’s view of the role of faith in society. At no point did Arroyo challenge Savage’s position; rather he emphasized the common ground between them. A courtesy he rarely extends to the Holy Father.

The brashness of inviting such a brazen enemy of the Church on an ostensibly Catholic program is difficult to fathom. And yet Arroyo did just that, without repercussion and without apology.

Sebastian Gorka

Another frequent guest on The World Over is Sebastian Gorka, a former national security aide in the Trump administration with alleged ties to a white nationalist militia group in Hungary.

Most of the time, his conversation with Gorka focuses on issues surrounding US defense policy, nuclear policy, and military strategy. (What place this has on a network ostensibly created for the purpose of evangelization is a good question.) But one moment stands out for its brazen rejection of Church teaching on the slaughter of civilians.

On the January 4, 2018 episode, Arroyo closed the program by asking for Gorka’s reaction to a card distributed by the Vatican for the World Day of Peace, which featured the image of a small Japanese boy from Nagasaki with the dead body of his younger brother strapped to his back. On the back, above Francis’s signature, the card reads, “The fruit of war.”

Gorka replied, “As a cradle Catholic, I am quite stunned. That is not the fruits of war, but the fruits of peace!” Arroyo did not challenge this sentiment, and indeed joined Gorka in listing atrocities which they felt would have been more appropriate for the card.

I reiterate: Arroyo did not challenge Sebastian Gorka when the latter spoke favorably of an intrinsically evil act (targeting civilians in war) and justified it with the principle of consequentialism, which was explicitly condemned by St. John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor.

Conclusion

I focused on these three figures, but could have chosen from many, many guests who espouse a right-wing ideology that is often in defiance of Church teaching or sound moral principles. This list includes but is not limited to: Mark Theissen and his defense of waterboarding, Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan, climate change skeptic Mark Morano, Senator Rand Paul, Mel Gibson, and of course Donald Trump.

It should scandalize Catholics that the flagship program of the only national Catholic television station in the United States places such great emphasis on right-wing politics. As someone who (in alignment with Catholic teaching) holds conservative views on issues including abortion and marriage, I understand the desire to promote public figures who support these values. But it cannot come at the cost of ignoring the wisdom of the Church on care for the environment, immigrants, and the poor. It certainly doesn’t excuse inviting guests who describe the mass slaughter of civilians as “the fruits of peace.”

Furthermore, why has this gone unchecked?

Where are the bishops?

When the most well-known Catholic television host in the country is advocating for a political agenda that contradicts the social teaching of the Church, you’d like to think that at some point one of them would speak out.

To be continued….

Image: The Fruit of War.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Liked this post? Take a second to support Where Peter Is on Patreon!
634 Shares

35 Responses

  1. Charlene Bader says:

    I’ve been disappointed to realize Raymond Arroyo — and as a result, EWTN — is aligned more with an American political party than the Catholic Church they claim to represent.
    Thank you for writing this and bringing more light to a scandalous situation.

  2. Kathy S. says:

    I watched this unfold for years and so saddened that EWTN has become so political. Catholics, and some priests , now follow it instead of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. It has sown dissent and confusion among Catholics. Thank you for a well spoken analysis of the situation.

    • HW says:

      I agree I can’t watch many of the shows EWTN has on now. They are more concerned with promoting a complete Trumpist/RW view of everything, and that is not the position of our church. I am glad that many more have noticed this over the past couple of years. I have noticed many would like to make everything binary that if I don’t support the EWTN/Trumpist line I am a “commie” or “pinko” or whatever sophomoric insult they can come up with. I’m tired of the political bs with EWTN.

    • Hugh Whiting says:

      The political slant and cheerleading of Trumpism by so many on EWTN is disgusting, I have come to the point where I wont watch the “news” shows on there anymore. It seems like folks like Raymond are more concerned with being a Fox News clone with a catholic veneer then actually be faithful to our faith’s teachings.

  3. Peter Vere says:

    For those of you who are Eastern Catholic like me, I highly recommend Ancient Faith Radio as an Eastern Orthodox online radio and podcast stream. Although they occasionally engage in polemic against Catholics, I find that 99 percent of what they broadcast overlaps with Catholicism, and they also are often respectful toward Catholicism as well.

  4. David Mills says:

    Very good and necessary. But one quibble: I would drop the “other” from “even when other pro-life candidates were still in the running for the Republican nomination.”

  5. Toni says:

    It’s what happens when people turn their politics into their religion, and their religion into politics.

  6. Yaya says:

    Now I understand why I stopped watching EWTN and especially Arroyo’s show years ago. I sensed something was off with his attitude towards our Holy Father, I never cared for that.
    Thanks for the article!

  7. Faith says:

    I agree with everything in this article. Arroyo is way off base, and has been for some time.

  8. This is why I don’t watch his “news” show any more. I have been preaching against ‘nationalism’ for years. I’ve even been called ‘socialist’ to which I reply, not I am not, Chruch teaching condemns that, Communism and Capitalism… If you read your Church’s teaching, you you would know that. I look forward to the rest of this series.

  9. Christopher Lake says:

    Mike, thank you for doing this series! I used to be a regular watcher of EWTN (in fact, it played a very large role in my return to the Church several years ago!), and I still do like some of their shows. However, I have been very, very disappointed and disheartened by “The World Over” for some time.

    Pope Francis, himself, would be the first to say that he is not a perfect Pope– as if there were, or ever had been, such a person in Church history (!). He is constantly saying that he is a sinner in need of God’s grace (as are we all!) and constantly asking people to pray for him.

    However, Francis *is* the Pope, and *we* (including Raymond Arroyo and the “Papal posse”) are not, and it is amazing to me that so many Catholics who are *not* the Pope seem to be quite sure that they understand Catholicism, *and* how to teach and apply it, better than the Pope! It would be laughable, if it were not such a very serious matter.

    I fear that many Catholics are missing out on the treasures of teaching and witness that Pope Francis offers them. Sometimes, those treasures are in the form of showing God’s mercy for sinners, and sometimes, they are in the form of “tough love” towards the self-righteous– but that, too, is a form of merciful love that is meant to open hearts and heal them. I know, because I’m in need of that heart-work and healing all too often myself, and Pope Francis is very faithful in personally helping me in that regard!

    Anyway, again, thank you for doing this series, brother! I thank God for you and for the other contributors here!

  10. Carlos says:

    Why not a boycott of Etwn until rid themselves of Arroyo. Lets start a pettion of his program. We get enough politics from the regular networks and they all lie. Pope Francis is our Pope and deserves all of our respect and should never be mocked. It’s by the Holy Spirt that he was choosen. Carlos

  11. Phil says:

    Granted that he shouldn’t be so welcoming of leaders of any party. I think one was one of those that were going to vote against Obamacare, but ended up not. Pat Buchanan said Kissinger was a good man, despite the population control manufesto, NSSM 200, was written by him. He has Mel Gibson on as a fav, despite most of his films being the exact opposite of The Passion. There are, of course, ones that claim to be Catholic who contradict its teachings and joke about stuff the pope of the time said or did. I doubt anyone here has taken them on. This can’t be easy for him and his “Papal Posse”. These are the same ones that would call previous popes “brilliant” if they picked their nose and pulled out a booger, despite traditionalists having issues with some questionable things they did, like PJP2 kissing a Koran or Pope Benedict letting a S. American shaman do his “blessing” on him. Not everything the popes do are right, but not all have praised the life of an abortion rights advocate or had one in charge of the Pontifical Academy of Life. I think it is obvious souls need to be saved from ignorance about the gravity of what he is writing or allowing. If he is not totally in charge of the Vatican, but actually made a puppet, then he should say so and we all would understand. That he doesn’t, we can only assume his intellect has been darkened and these things must be decried as wrong lest souls get to thinking divorce and remarriage has changed and those that did so knowingly can receive Holy Communion . He hasn’t called The Pope a heretic or invalid; just suggesting he has, for one reason or another, is apparently scandalizing “the little ones” in an attempt at highlighting some greater good.
    These are not mere minor traditions like those Jesus challenged or temporary laws he nullified, but eternal doctrine. I really believe this is tearing him and his guests up. I am sure he hopes this will all be straightened out soon–like a test of our faithfulness to the Church and charity to the vicar of Christ short of rubber stamping all he says off the cuff.

    • Debra Robinson says:

      All require God’s Mercy including the TWO Pope’s we have and Roy and Mel Gibson. We believe in forgiveness and we should hear both sides of every story. Jesus took on the sins of the world. If we are believers in Jesus our Hearts and Souls are covered in Jesus’ Blood and we are saved by His stripes.

  12. petey says:

    thank you also, mr lewis. an excellent statement, and a brave one in the current environment.

  13. Christopher Lake says:

    I want to offer a reply to one very important part of the above comment by Phil. There is *categorically not* a pro-abortion theologian who is currently “in charge of the Pontifical Academy of Life.” That is a serious misunderstanding of the actual situation with this man.

    It is true that a man who has written against euthanasia, but who is “pro-choice” (I greatly dislike that sanitized term, but I use it here for the sake of conversation!) on abortion, at least in certain cases, was invited by the Pope to be a member, for now, of the Pontifical Academy of Life, but that invitation was due to this man’s work against euthanasia, *not* because of his stance on abortion.

    It has long been part of the Church’s teaching that it is good for Catholics to dialogue with, and, at times, work together with (when it does not involve us in evil ourselves), people who agree with us on at least certain aspects of Catholicism. The aforementioned man, newly involved with the Pontifical Academy of Life, obviously does not yet have a “consistent ethic of life,” as the Church teaches. He is *partially* there, as shown by his stand against euthanasia, but he does not seem, at this point, to understand or accept the grave moral evil of abortion.

    Certainly, as a Catholic and a defender of human life, period, I would *love* for him to become completely, consistently pro-life! I pray for it! Given that Pope Francis has spoken about the importance of a consistent pro-life ethic (on abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, etc.), I’m sure that he would love for this man to come to an understanding of the anti-life horror that is abortion.

    It might well be the case that Francis is even personally involved in a one-to-one dialogue with him on abortion (don’t quote me on that– I’m just speculating here!), as a result of his involvement in the Pontifical Academy. At the very least, he likely has much more pro-life influence in his life, now, working with so many Catholics, than he has ever had before, and that can only be a good thing!

    In any event, this man is not in any way, shape, or form, “in charge of the Pontifical Academy of Life.” He is *not even close to* being in charge of it. He’s simply a new member who was chosen by the Pope, along with five other new members. He is not, at all, determining the vision, and the overall course of work, of the Pontifical Academy.

  14. Linda Daily says:

    Thank you for addressing this issue. EWTN is a source of endless confusion on a parish level and a scourge to the RCIA process. Your question, “where are the bishops?” is most apt.

  15. Jay James says:

    “But it cannot come at the cost of ignoring the wisdom of the Church on care for the environment, immigrants, and the poor. ”

    Incidentally Pat Buchanan is, last I heard, opposed to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    But these are issues of how to implement Church teaching. Take the environment. There is every reason to be skeptical of global warming.

    Yes we should be concerned about the poor. But it’s not clear that more welfare is going to help. It may have had a bad effect on marriage for example.

    And we should be concerned about immigrants, but flooding the US with immigrants as the bishops want will only depress the wage rates of the poor in the US. It will also ensure a permanent Democratic (ie, pro-abortion) majority. I don’t want the entire US turned into California.

  16. Bren says:

    Actual Church teaching is infinitely more important than bishops’ opinions on policy re: environment, immigration, poverty. There is no guarantee at all that the pope will be right or correct on politics. Given human nature we actually have certitude that he will be wrong at least some of the time. He has for example apparently misled the author of this piece into thinking that bishops’ arbitrary opinions on immigration policy must be weighed against actual, reliable Church teaching as if they were somehow equivalent.

  17. Bob Bossie, SCJ says:

    Dear Mike, thank you for your article sent to me by a friend. I have watched his show with my brother who watched EWTN frequently for Mass and other shows being a shut in. I am glad that someone has finally challenged Mr. Arroyo.

  18. Recent Convert says:

    Having started my journey to the church last spring, and joining in the fall, I’ll freely admit that EWTN, along with programming such as Catholic Answers Live and Christ Is The Answer were extremely helpful in filling in gaps.

    That said, I caught Mr. Arroyo’s program in radio form a few times and found the political slants uncomfortable at best, to the point where I consider it as a mouthpiece attempting to justify an administration which seems to be in perpetual scandal.

    Thank you Mr. Lewis for this series, and reminding me the focus should be on the Magisterium first and foremost.

  19. Dennis says:

    Thank you Mike Lewis.I’ve been watching as EWTN and Arroyo have pushed the Vatican 1 mean and nasty smearing of our Pope for years.I tell everyone about it.FOX News have always been betrayers too,and now that Laura has Raymond on they sit there sneering and insulting and gloating to the point I can’t watch her show.It seems at the point of writing this article you disliked Trump “Both she and Arroyo were early supporters of Donald Trump’s candidacy, even when other pro-life candidates were still in the running for the Republican nomination.”Many responses to this.They were not actually-hardly anyone was.I was because I knew all supposed Pro-Life Republicans had always promised everything and done nothing.Ted Cruz held his big Town Hall with Megan Kelly where?The Masonic Temple in Madison, Wisconsin.HRC would have crushed Cruz-or any of the other weak R’s.POTUS DJT is cursed by Satanists and Dark Covens monthly and worldwide.They have never done that to even any Pope before.In less than a year he has formed,by far,the most Pro-Christian,Pro-Life,and Pro-Israel Administration in US history.And Hogg?He is also a nasty Opportunist-worse than Arroyo.And Gorka?Very unfair for you to link him to “White Supremacy”.Everyone needs more balance.I completely Love our Pope and see him as THE REASON we have Trump instead of actual Satanists in the White House.He came to DC and prayed real Exorcism Prayers to break Masonic Principality Curses-I knew he was going to do that-just as he has done at the Vatican-because yes our Church has high ranking prelates that are actually Freemasons and Satanists.That is what Fr Amorthe wrote.One more thing-Melania had the White House Blessed.Every room,cursed objects removed,and Masses offered.Multi-denominational Blessings.Catholics,Episcopals,jewish Rabbis and Evangelicals.The Trump’s are very seriously awake about Spiritual Warfare-as is our Beautiful Holy Pope Francis!!

  20. Jane says:

    I don’t think Mother Angelica would approve of the direction Raymond Arroyo has taken EWTN

  21. Jane says:

    I have to remind myself that EWTN is worldwide, not just in the U.S. And that causes me to feel even greater desire to work in any way I can to save souls and keep them away from watching EWTN out of concern for their souls and the souls of very vulnerable folks who love EWTN. I used to be a big fan of EWTN, but now I am realizing what insidious harm they are doing and I wish Mother Angelica were alive still, to say, “No, this cannot happen on this network! We tell the truth which is this: that Our Lord Jesus Christ gave to Peter and His successors, the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Holy Father is the ONLY person on this earth who has the graces to be the pope and not you, not me, not anyone else! “

  22. Cathy J Walker says:

    I was an avid EWTN watcher for years, even went on several pilgrimages at the shrine and courses by the Sister Servants until around 2013 when I finally realized what I didn’t want to acknowledge. Arroyo’s far right politics would not be checked by the executives there. Mr Warsaw, President of EWTN, should step up and fix this, maybe have the good staff of priests there give Arroyo a refresher course in Catholic social teaching. I don’t watch anymore which is sad. I hope blessed Mother Angelica isn’t turning over in her grave over Arroyo’s self serving foray into political state tv. This is not why she founded EWTN. She wanted the faithful teachings of Jesus to be available to all.
    I watched some of his right wing politics start to seep into other programming and drifted away. He is not irreplaceable. I know he is Mother Angelica’s biographer, but he has lost his way and is too involved in secular politics and in opposition to Pope Francis.

  23. JB says:

    The alt-right incursions into Our Holy Mother Church are very upsetting. The fervent backing of an habitual adulterer and liar is hard to grasp. Ironically, the Church was falsely accused of cooperating with the Nazis in WWII; now many are in League with this brand of fascism.

  24. Bridget Murphy says:

    I was raised Catholic and even attended Catholic grammar school.
    I have to agree that this Pope has waded into politics far too much……in fact the church in general seems to
    be moving in that direction. The leftists, who would usually scream “separation of church and state”, say nothing because the church is championing their causes (global warming, socialism etc…).

    I lost all respect for the Jesuits when they immediately jumped on the anti Brett Kavanaugh band wagon while they remain silent about the far more credible RAPE accusations against Virginia’s Democrat Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.
    It seems to me that the Catholic Church is sucking up to the American left far too much these days.

  1. April 11, 2018

    […] the Catholic blogosphere: Mike Lewis and his blog Where Peter Is, There Is the Church. Here is the first of two articles that analyze the work of ETWN news anchor Raymond Arroyo and his penchant for […]

  2. April 17, 2018

    […] This is the second post in a series on longtime EWTN host Raymond Arroyo. Last week’s first part, “Policy over Fidelity,” explored how Arroyo uses his program, The World Over Live, to promote […]

%d bloggers like this: