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The Voice of Mother Angelica

TRIBUNE OF BLUE-COLLAR CATHOLICS

By Raymond T. Gawronski | April 1996
The Rev. Raymond T. Gawronski, S.J., is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Marquette, and author of Word and Silence: Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Spiritual Encounter Between East and West. He has recently learned how to operate cable television, and also listens to Mother Angelica on the radio.

He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will” (Luke 10:21).

The name of Mother Angelica is in the air nowadays. Some months ago, during a Christmas visit north of Schenectady, a man I met at a dinner sang her praises. An Italian ethnic, first-generation college-educated family man now in his early 40s, he lit up at mention of her name, and said sure, he watches her. He can relate to her and finds what she has to say good. He added that he has never quite trusted the Protestant evangelists, not even Billy Graham. It must be their style. Too different.

In New Jersey I watched the Polish evening news from Warsaw last Christmas day on cable television: sure enough, a report on Mother Angelica. An “item,” Mother Angelica had just appeared in the “New Faces” section of People magazine (as far as I can tell, she is the only face not selling itself somehow — her eyes in the photo are cast resolutely heavenward). The Polish reporter stated: Even though most American Catholics are dissidents from Rome, Mother Angelica follows the orthodox line on abortion, the ordination of women, etc. Interestingly, the Polish report showed her and her staff praying before she goes on stage. The report focused on her talk show, “Mother Angelica Live,” but failed to indicate the nature of the rest of the round-the-clock programming her network offers.

I had heard of her while living in Europe, but never watched her on visits to the States because my family never got cable television, and because, when staying in Jesuit houses with it, I could never figure out how to operate all those remote controls.

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