February 20, 2018
Papal confidante Father Antonio Spadaro retweeted a call for EWTN to be severely censured “until they get rid of Raymond Arroyo.”
The call for an “interdict” to be imposed on the Catholic media empire started by Mother Angelica came from Anthony Annett, Assistant to the Director at the International Monetary Fund’s Communications Department.
An interdict is essentially one step short of excommunication. It bans a person or people from accessing most Church Sacraments.
“A person who uses physical force against the Roman Pontiff incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; if he is a cleric, another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, can be added according to the gravity of the delict,” according to the Code of Canon Law (Canon 1370). “A person who does this against a bishop incurs a latae sententiae interdict and, if he is a cleric, also a latae sententiae suspension.”
A censure forbidding the faithful, while still remaining in communion with the Church, the use of certain sacred privileges, such as Christian burial, some of the sacraments, and attendance at liturgical services. It does not exclude from Church membership, nor does it necessarily imply a personal fault of any individual affected by the interdict. When imposed for a fixed period, it is a vindictive penalty because of some grave act done against the common good of the Church by one or more parishes. Usual religious services are curtailed, but sacraments may be given to the dying, marriages celebrated, and Holy Communion administered if the interdict is general or local (not personal). A general interdict may be inflicted only by the Holy See. Parishes or persons may be interdicted only by the local ordinary.
Annett called for an interdict to be imposed on EWTN because of a February 15 World Over segment.
“Make no mistake,” tweeted Annett, the show’s discussion of a recent Spadaro speech and ultra-liberal Cardinal Blase Cupich “represent ‘total war’ on the papacy of Pope Francis.”
Arroyo was a close friend of Mother Angelica. He is the author of numerous books. As confusion has mounted during Pope Francis’ reign, his signature show, The World Over, has analyzed troubling developments in the Church. Arroyo often does this with the help of Father Gerald Murray and Robert Royal (the “papal posse”).
Spadaro, a Jesuit who is often called the pope’s “mouthpiece,” frequently criticizes critics of Amoris Laetitia’s ambiguity or the Francis pontificate. He is the editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica.
The World Over segment covered Spadaro’s recent speech at Georgetown University. Arroyo said he’d asked Spadaro for an interview but he said he was too busy.
During this speech at Georgetown, Spadaro said of the pope’s diplomacy: “The pope is light years away from the theorists of a clash of civilizations. Francis seeks to dissolve the narrative of a toxic final clash of religions that nourishes the fear of chaos.”
Fr. Murray told Arroyo those statements were “puzzling” because “it’s reducing human life to simply a game of ‘king of the hill.’ And the Church teaches the exact opposite. Human life is about fulfilling God’s will, knowing that will, and then trying to bring a society into accord with that will.”
“That involves identifying things that are evil [and] reprobating them,” said Murray.
Some Twitter users mocked the call to punish EWTN unless they sack Arroyo.
A message from Robert Royal at EWTN:
Note: Heartfelt thanks to all of you who expressed support and offered prayers over the past few days after stories appeared about a retweet by Antonio Spadaro S.J., a close collaborator of the Holy Father’s, calling on EWTN to fire Raymond Arroyo for his criticisms of various recent papal moves (and no doubt for the now five-year run of the Papal Posse). Or be placed under interdict.
This was either a weak attempt at intimidation or a lame attempt at humor – in either case, quite imprudent from someone who knows that what he says is taken, rightly or wrongly, to reflect back on Pope Francis.
Be assured, this portends no serious harm to me. This is why we have independent think-tanks and publications like The Catholic Thing, so that at least some in both Church and society may speak freely. Fr. Murray is most likely fine as well. But it’s not entirely a laughing matter for a prominent media figure like the talented Mr. Arroyo. If you want to express support, take a look at #imwithRaymond.
In any case, it will have no effect on our labors to understand and speak truth as we see it. – RR