Well, not really. But ETWN has certainly become the target of the Internet Catholic Apologists devoted to Pope Francis.
Funny. Mark Shea was the first Catholic blog - the first blog - I ever visited or commented on. My first comment was actually a dig at Fox News and the idea that Fox was some conservative bastion. I think I wrote something to the effect of 'everything I ever wanted to know about porn stars, I learned on Fox News.' I got my first push back on the Internet with that. Such was Mark's blog back then.
A few months after that, I remember Mark and some readers trashing the website called Fish Eaters. That website was my online door into the Catholic Church. It was laid out well, and had many links explaining the various parts of Catholic belief and living that, if you weren't raised in it, can be mighty overwhelming and confusing. Since the parish we were entering had a sort of 'that went out with Vatican II' attitude, many of those little Catholic bells and whistles - like salvation through Jesus - were tough to come by.
Fish Eaters filled the gap nicely, though even I was able to tell the publishers of the website were not fans of the post-Vatican II Church. Nonetheless, I remember being quite gobsmacked when Mark and his readers let loose a volley against the site, smacking it down with insults and accusations. I came to its defense, rather poorly I'd imagine. Not much came of my protests.
That brings me around to the observation that EWTN is now receiving far worse from this strange circle of Catholic Apologists that have coalesced under the pontificate of Pope Francis. I notice that as more and more claim fealty to the current papacy, it gets meaner and less tolerant, more judgmental and, quite frankly, more like the tactics we hear in our modern culture as whole. So Dawn Eden, who reaped the rewards of conversion as a former journalist turned Catholic, tweeted this:
That struck me. This is EWTN. I was down there once, when I worked for Coming Home Network. Seemed like nice people to me. Seemed pretty Catholic too, if not a bit on the pep rally side for Mother Angelica as if she was Bill Gates to Microsoft. But a nice place altogether, whether you like food or sleep or just sitting around and thinking. 😉
I get that things change. Look at Disney as megacorp devoted to the dogmas of the Leftist State. Look at a growing number of megacorps using their financial power to crush America's heritage and even throw out feelers to America's opponents, not to mention the values opposed by those conservatives who have so long fought for Corporate interests. That sort of thing happens.
But I can't help but notice those attacking ETWN sound so much like the mainstream Left when it attacks free thinkers who refuse to conform. I think of how many of these Catholic apologist devotees use banning and censoring as a matter of course when people call them out. I notice how many never did such things on a regular basis until they felt the need to become totally obedient to Pope Francis. I mean, Dawn Eden was never like that in her discourse back in the day, nor was Deacon Greydanus quick to ban over disagreement. Dave Armstrong could be pretty high wired, but usually not against people who still clung to basic, orthodox Catholic teachings. We won't even discuss some others.
More than that, however, I also notice how many of them simply act as if they are clearly the Catholics in the right, and the Catholics they are blasting are clearly the problem ones who simply aren't as spiritual or Christian or Catholic as they are. But then, I remember Pope Francis himself isn't above such dividing of the Catholic sheep and goats, with him ever on the side of the sheep, so I wonder how strange it should be.