Mother Angelica

I wish that God would send us a few more Mother Angelicas. Now that the first one has surely gone to Heaven (from Alabama), and Mother Teresa (of Calcutta) is so long gone that she is scheduled for canonization in September, there is a discernible need for more Mothers of this sort. I mean, Mothers who don’t take any nonsense, even from liberal bishops, and perform miracles of fundraising and proselytization right before our eyes. Mothers who attract not only congregants to Holy Church, but nuns to holy convents, and priests to the sanctuaries, and more generally, get people praying, and acting, just as if they were Christians.

She (Mother Angelica), who died on Easter Sunday — born Rita Rizzo into a badly broken home with an abusive (if soon absent) father, and a mother given to clinical depression, plus “health issues” that would kill off any normal child — discovered early in life that having God on your side makes all the difference. It started with the nine days she devoted to a novena to get her deadly stomach pain cured. (It worked, of course.) Soon after she became Sister Mary Angelica of the Poor Clares. An Ohio girl, she was called (by God) to go found a nunnery in the heart of the ultraprotestant South, and naturally she obeyed. And then another monastery, and so forth.

Gentle reader may know her chiefly as the founder of the television network, EWTN. Her “media outreach” began with tapes of her spunky talks, sold with the baked goods to raise a spot of money. There were the usual tribulations associated with starting a broadcasting empire in a nunnery garage. One thing led to another, however, and now it is beaming Masses, Rosaries, major church events, and much Catholic instruction into a couple hundred million homes, quite around the planet. And this without ever stooping to the dissemination of filth, which was the means to success in most parallel cases.

I don’t watch television myself, but I know some people who do, and am assured that EWTN really does teach orthodox religion, or at least tries consistently to do so; that it has yet to be taken over by the liberals in human flesh, who (like the Devil) can never create anything, so focus on appropriating other people’s creations.

Like most other saint-grade Catholics, Mother Angelica was of the curious opinion that Faith could move mountains; and leaves a record of mountains moved.

There are many delicious anecdotes of her to be found by Google-searching the obituaries. Never having met her, I have none to add. Let us be content with my quoting just two of her remarks which, from this great distance, seem to bare her soul.

One was her explanation of why she did so poorly as a child at school. She said that she had difficulty remembering e.g. what the capitals were of the various United States, “because I was more curious about whether my mother had committed suicide that day.”

The other was her response to Archbishop Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles (retired, thank God), whose typically callow misrepresentation of the Real Presence she had rebutted point by point on air. When it was ill-advisedly insinuated that she was risking her control of her nunnery and her network by correcting him in this way, she replied: “I’ll blow the damn thing up before you get your hands on it.”

Now, this is precisely the attitude I recommend when dealing with that (human, all too human) part of the Catholic hierarchy that seems intent on replacing Jesus Christ with the worship of “progress”; and verily, liberals of all other sub-species. Correct them on points of doctrine and of fact in the plainest, untimidly public way, and don’t be afraid it will cost you.

It may, it probably will cost you, in my experience; but if one is sufficiently robust, the mountains may begin to rumble.

Mother Angelica was notoriously “indiscreet,” but discretion does not come into this. What does, is the determination to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and in the words of that wonderful old cliché, let the chips fall where they may.