Eternal Word Television Network

Eternal Word Television Network

Infobox TV channel
name = EWTN
logofile = EWTN logo.svg
logoalt = Eternal Word Television Network logo
logosize = 200px
launch = 1981
picture format = 480i (SDTV)
headquarters = Irondale, Alabama, United States
web = []
sat serv 1 = DirecTV
sat chan 1 = Channel 370
sat serv 2 = Dish Network
sat chan 2 = Channel 261
sat serv 3 = Sky Angel
sat chan 3 = Channel 143
sat radio serv 1 = Sirius Satellite Radio
sat radio chan 1 = Channel 160
terr serv 2 = EWTN Radio Network
terr chan 2 = [ station list]
terr serv 3 = Shortwave radio
terr chan 3 = [ frequency list] |
The Eternal Word Television Network ("EWTN") is a U.S.-based broadcasting network that carries Catholic-themed programming. The programs include a Daily Mass from its Birmingham, Alabama Monastery/Studios, talk shows such as "EWTN Live" and "Sunday Night Live", "Daily Rosary", Benediction, doctrinal instruction programs, entertainment/variety shows, children's programming, live coverage of world Catholic events such as Bishops' conferences and Papal travels, music shows, youth programming, and so forth. EWTN is an independent charitable organization based in Irondale, Alabama, USA. It has trustees but does not have shareholders or owners. [ [ EWTN IN A NUTSHELL: QUESTION & ANSWER FACT SHEET] ]

Mother Angelica's first television series

Mother Angelica began receiving requests for speaking engagements, which led to the development of a video series of her talks taped at a local CBS affiliate Birmingham television station WIAT (then known as WBMG). Her shows aired on CBN Cable (now ABC Family) as well as TBN. According to Mother Angelica's many retellings of the story, she decided that she wanted her own television station after appearing in Chicago as a guest on a show called "Among Friends" on WCFC TV Channel 38, saying "I have got to have one!!"

In 1980 she built a TV studio on monastery property in Irondale, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. This developed into the worldwide broadcast center that is currently known as "EWTN" or the "Eternal Word Television Network." The name "Eternal Word" was selected, instead of a name with the term "Catholic" for a specific reason. Under Catholic canon law, any organization with the word "Catholic" in it must be completely under the control of the Bishop whose dioceses it resides in.

Development of EWTN

movies, and cooking and western-themed shows.

Secular content was gradually dropped from 1986 to 1988, and in 1987 satellite distribution was expanded to a more desirable channel and EWTN went 24 hours a day. At this point, the channel began running the rosary daily and added a number of Catholic doctrine teaching shows. Program production gradually increased at the station.

The Mass which aired weekly became televised daily in 1991 and their production approached nearly half the day. At this point all shows from non-Catholic sources were dropped. A more conservative image gradually developed, which remains to this date.

Viewership statistics

EWTN's own promotional information states that it has become the largest religious media network in the world. It transmits 24-hour programming to more than 123 million homes (146 million homes as of February 2008) in 127 countries and 16 territories on more than 4,800 cable systems (5,200 cable systems as of February 2008), wireless cable, direct broadcast satellite (DBS), low power TV and individual satellite users. According to a 1994 cover story in the "National Catholic Reporter", “Mother Angelica claims to reach 38 million homes in 49 states, and every Latin American capital 24 hours a day, though EWTN has made no scientific studies to measure who really watches. The station does this with a staff of 124 for about $8.5 million a year, while raising about $25 million a year in donations.” [Raymond A. Schroth [ Angelica, EWTN push Disneyland church: smiles hide anger, yen for the old certainties] Cover Story, "National Catholic Reporter", July 15, 1994.]


In 1992, EWTN established the largest privately owned shortwave radio station, WEWN, in the Birmingham area. The station broadcasts Catholic programming 24 hours a day in English and Spanish. In 1996, EWTN launched a free satellite-delivered AM/FM radio network to stations worldwide, also in English and Spanish.

In 2004, EWTN announced an agreement with Sirius Satellite Radio, which allows Sirius to carry EWTN programming.

In April 2008, EWTN broadcast for six days on XM Radio to cover the papal visit of Pope Benedict XVI.


The EWTN News department produces a daily news service for the television and radio network, featuring news sources including Vatican Radio. They also produce a show combining worldwide topics of current interest and politics along with Catholic teaching, entitled "The World Over", hosted by Raymond Arroyo. The program is generally conservative in religious and political orientation: well-known guests have included Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, George Weigel, Laura Ingraham, Pat Buchanan, Robert Novak, and others.

History of programming

In its early history, EWTN ran Catholic-produced programming from a wide variety of Catholic sources. This ranged from Catholic charismatic programming such as Father Michael Manning to shows focusing on social reform and justice, such as Christopher Closeup, to doctrinal teaching shows hosted by various priests and bishops.

In the early 1990s, EWTN began producing more of its own shows and broadcasting the Mass daily. There seemed to be a distinctive conservative shift in the network's overall orientation, with programs featuring topics on social reform and justice gradually being phased out and replaced with general doctrinal teaching and discussion programs. This shift was apparent in the daily televised Masses, which in 1992 began incorporating Latin into the liturgy, and no longer featured contemporary music or guitars and drums. On Christmas Eve of 1993, Mother Angelica and her order of nuns changed their habit to a more traditional style.

EWTN has programs discussing non-Catholic beliefs from its Catholic perspective, such as "The Journey Home" in which converts to Catholicism, usually from other Christian denominations, indicate their former beliefs, state their reasons for converting, and discuss the spiritual journey that they traveled to reach the Catholic Church (hence the program's title). Guests are usually former Protestant pastors and ministers and occasionally include laypeople who are converts to the Catholic faith, as well as "cradle Catholics" who fell away from their early faith and later returned.

"Sunday Night Live with Fr. Benedict Groeschel" hosts religious discussions which often include participation from callers of many different faiths, (i.e Catholics as well other Christian denominations, usually Protestants, and includes other religions such as Jews, Muslims, Hindus as stated by individual callers on the show). Fr. Groeschel's style has been described as "orthodox but gently so." Viewer questions can be answered from both a spiritual and a psychological perspective, as Fr. Groeschel is not only a friar and a priest, but also a trained psychologist.

The network also airs coverage of Church events worldwide, documentaries, music specials, Eucharistic Adorations, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and other devotional segments.

Confrontations, controversy and criticism

EWTN has been the target of criticism for its socially, politically and theologically conservative tendencies, and has engaged in controversy with persons, organizations and ideas on the other side of the spectrum.

In her live show on EWTN, Mother Angelica criticized a mimed Stations of the Cross performance that featured a woman playing Jesus which was viewed by Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado, in 1993. Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, Wisconsin responded in an editorial to Mother Angelica’s criticisms about the pageant and other post-Vatican II issues in the Catholic Church, saying: "It was one of the most disgraceful, un-Christian, offensive, and divisive diatribes I have ever heard." Mother Angelica’s answer to the Archbishop: "He didn't think a woman playing Jesus was offensive," Mother said of Weakland's criticism. "He can go put his head in the back toilet as far as I am concerned." [Raymond Arroyo, "Mother Angelica: the Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve and a Network of Miracles". (pp. 243-244)]

In 1997, on her live show on EWTN, Mother Angelica publicly criticized Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles for his pastoral letter on the Eucharist entitled "Gather Faithfully Together: A Guide for Sunday Mass". [ [ Gather Faithfully Together: A Guide for Sunday Mass] ] Upset by the perceived lack of emphasis on transubstantiation, she said, "I’m afraid my obedience in that diocese would be absolutely zero. And I hope everybody else’s in that diocese is zero". [Margaret O'Brien Steinfels [ Liturgical confusion-criticism over a pastoral letter] Editorial, "Commonweal", January 30, 1998] She later issued a conditional and reluctant apology. [John L. Allen, Jr. [ Mahony sees nun's critique as heresy charge-Cardinal Roger Mahony; dispute with televangelist Mother M. Angelica] , National Catholic Reporter, Dec 5, 1997.]

In 1999, Bishop David Foley of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama issued a decree prohibiting priests in his diocese from celebrating Mass in the pre-Vatican II "ad orientem" position (literally "to the east", with people and priest facing in the same direction) under most circumstances. Though the decree never specifically mentioned EWTN, both supporters and critics of EWTN agreed that it was directed at Mother Angelica's Catholic television network, applying the prohibition to "any Mass that is or will be televised for broadcast or videotaped for public dissemination." Bishop Foley stated that the practice of having the priest's back to the people "amounts to making a political statement and is dividing the people."John L. Allen, Jr. [ EWTN's bishop says priests must face the people-Eternal Word Television Network] -Brief Article, National Catholic Reporter Nov 19, 1999.] The network eventually complied with Bishop Foley's order. [Msgr. Guido Marini, Papal Master of Ceremonies, quoted in [ Pope celebrates Mass ad orientem, speaks on Baptism] , Catholic World News, Jan 14, 2008.]

Program titles

A partial listing of EWTN programs:
*"Mother Angelica Live Classics"
*"Daily Mass"
*"Life on the Rock" - Fr. Mark Mary, MFVA
*"My Little Angels"
*"We Are Catholic"
*"Adventures in Odyssey"
*"EWTN Live" - Fr. Mitch Pacwa SJ
*"The Journey Home" - Marcus Grodi
*"Pope Fiction" - Patrick Madrid
*"Pequeño Jesús" - (Spanish language children's program)
*"Jesus Christ - True God/True Man" - Raymond D'Souza
*"The World Over Live" - Raymond Arroyo (News)
*"Web Of Faith" - Father John Trigilio & Father Robert Levis
*"G. K. Chesterton: Apostle of Common Sense" - Dale Ahlquist
*"Household Of Faith" - Kristine Franklin & Rosalind Moss
*"The Abundant Life" - Johnette Benkovic
*"Does The Church Still Teach This?" - Father Shannon Collins FME
*"Sunday Night Live" - Fr. Benedict Groeschel
*"Catholics Coming Home" - Msgr. Frank E. Bognanno
*"Threshold Of Hope" - Father Mitch Pacwa S.J.
*"Defending Life" - Fr. Frank Pavone and Janet Morana
*"EWTN Bookmark" - with Doug Keck
*"Catholicism on Campus" - with Msgr. Stuart Swetland
*"Finding God Through Faith and Reason" - with Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D
*"The Pure Life" - with Jason and Crystalina Evert
*"Crash Course in Catholicism" - with Fr. John Trigilio and Fr. Ken Brighenti
*"Father Corapi and the Catechism of the Catholic Church" - with Father John Corapi
*"Reasons For Our Hope" - Rosalind Moss
*"Reclaiming Your Children For The Faith" - Fr. Robert J. Fox (priest)
*"Super Saints" - hosted by Bob and Penny Lord []


ee also

*Mother Angelica
*Fr. John Corapi
*Salt + Light Television
*Catholic Media Network
*International religious radio broadcasters
*International religious television broadcasters
*List of DirecTV channels
*List of Dish Network channels
*List of Sky Angel channels
*List of Sirius Satellite Radio stations
*List of television stations in Minnesota (by channel number)
*List of United States over-the-air television networks
*Vatican Radio

External links

* [ Official Site]
* [ EWTN Radio on Sirius]
* [ EWTN: Catholic TV in India] -Information About Receiving EWTN Transmission in India.
* [ Archive Audio of Mother Angelica Live]
* [ Archive Audio of Household of Faith-Now That We're Catholic]
* [ Archive Audio of Historic Catholic Converts to Catholicism]
* [ Archive Audio of Catholic Doctors of the Church]
* [ The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery]
* [ Accusations of Neo-Modernism]
* []
* [ Rebuttal of critical claims made by Traditionalist groups against the network]
* [ Priests for Life (EWTN Supporters)]

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