What some Catholic Colleges have in their theology departments

This blog, the Journey To A New Pentecost, has posted an editorial printed in the newspaper of the Diocese of Davenport, IA. 

It is by Keith Soko, Ph.D, who is associate professor of moral theology and chair of the theology department at St. Ambrose University.

My emphases and comments.

EWTN offers an outdated view of the church

By Keith Soko
Published:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 1:25 PM CST

Every day, people switching through their cable and dish TV channels encounter the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). The station is Mother Angelica’s, and I give her credit for doing what no one else has done, operate a Catholic cable network.  [People watch what they want to watch.  Keep that in mind as you read.]

Many Catholics have chosen to operate within the mainstream media, such as actor Martin Sheen and producer Father Ellwood Kieser.  But Mother Angelica persevered in taking a small television station and making it a national offering. At best, it offers coverage of the Vatican and the U.S. bishops’ conferences.

[Here is comes…] The problem is it is seen by many as “the Catholic channel.” Unfortunately, it is Mother Angelica’s version of the Catholic Church, and it is an outdated view of what “church” is[When they just talk about "church" and not "the Church" you know what sort of low ecclesiology they embrace.]

 EWTN is a complex blend of high technology and outdated theology, promoting a version of Catholicism that no longer actually exists. [At this point you must ask: Who says?  This guy?  What you are hearing is someone who has embraced the "hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture". ] That previous model of the church — hierarchical, clerical, absolute, unchanging — where the laity “pray, pay, and obey,” was abandoned when Vatican II (1962-1965) ushered in a greater role for the laity, male and female, married and single.

Those changes brought Mass in the language of the people, the priest facing the congregation, churches built in a semi-circle with the congregation gathered around the eucharistic table and greater participation by the laity including as eucharistic ministers and readers. [And those have all really helped a lot, right?  He predictably has a shallow understanding of what "participation" means.  It is mainly focused on what people do.]  Later developments brought back the role of the deacon and females were allowed to be altar servers. [Allowed after his friends violated the Church’s law for years.] It’s a model that sees the Catholic Church as the “people of God,” a “community of believers,” a “pilgrim people.”  [Again… he wants you to believe that the Church no longer is any of those other antiquated (=bad) things.  Watch.]

The changes of Vatican II responded to the “signs of the times,” but also looked to the scriptural foundations of the church, with the focus on Jesus, and purged excesses that had developed over history[Progressivists always want you to buy the premise that what the Church gained over the centuries is a foreign encrustation, like barnacles and seaweed which slow the ship…  oopps… out dated symbol.  The idea is this the "pristine" is automatically better than what came later.]

The late Cardinal Avery Dulles offered five models of what the church is and should be: [this again?] institution (its organization and structure); sacrament (the church being a visible sign of Christ in the world); a herald proclaiming the good news; a servant (especially to the poor and vulnerable), and a mystical communion (the Body of Christ) or community of believers (disciples). Vatican II emphasized the co-responsibility and collaboration of all Catholics in being church. EWTN focuses only on the first model, the institution, and primarily on the pope, cardinals and bishops. It largely ignores the role of most female religious orders and the laity[?!?  Really?  It seems like everytime I turn on EWTN there are lay people on.  And good female religious I know are members of community which are quiet and contemplative, not looking for limelight.  The "hey look at us" orders are probably more to the taste of the writer because they are involved with doing stuff.]

Of course, there is debate today whether the church has actually gone far enough in implementing the vision of Vatican II, or if it is retreating to its pre-Vatican II mode. [This "debate" he mentions is, I think, his actually position.  This is what, for example, Hans Kung thinks:  the Council didn’t go nearly far enough.  Discontinuity is good in that way of thinking.] That mode was insular, removed from the world rather than engaged with it, unresponsive to historical developments and unchanging.  [B as in B.  S as in S.  When was the great explosion of evangelization?  The increase of religious orders?  The building of schools and hospitals which served the whole of society?  Insular?  Risable.]

EWTN operates as a high-tech machine advocating a pre-Vatican II theology. If you have a question, ask Father. [I think the website Q&A section has lay people answering lots of questions.  And is it wrong to ask a priest?] Need some advice, ask Father, or Sister, in full habit. [He has a real problem, this guy.] Answers are absolute, easily memorized. It waxes nostalgia for the time of Father O’Malley, when priests and nuns filled the Catholic landscape. [Obviously that was a bad thing… actually to see priests and religious and recognize them in public.  That there might be a lot of them, rather than the few we have now.  I think this fellow might be anti-clerical.] You wouldn’t know, for example, that most Catholic parishes, grade schools, high schools, colleges and universities, publishers and health care institutions are run by lay Catholics[Like many liberals, he assumes people are stupid.] You wouldn’t know that theologians exist, certainly not lay theologians  [Here is the real problem…. it’s all about him.  I wonder if he was recently turned down for a job.  What do you imagine he thinks of Ex cordo Ecclesiae?] — men and women. You wouldn’t know of intelligent discussion, and some dissent, by Catholics on a number of issues[Get that connection between "intelligent" and "dissent"?]

You would get the impression that answers to complex questions are black and white, with no nuance or qualification. [Think about it.  When you ask a question about some, for example, moral dilemma, you really want an ambiguous answer which leaves you just as confused as you were before you asked.  Maybe more.  If you don’t believe that there are objective truths and that the Church teaches properly on faith and moral, you wind up thinking that everything has to be nuanced.  As a matter of fact, you convince yourself that you are oh so deep.. so intelligent.   This is the problem addressed in Fides et ratio… the conflict in the modern world between faith and reason… authority and intellect.]  EWTN comes dangerously close to making an idol of “the church” itself, rather than seeing it as a vehicle that leads people to God. The church is seen as something on a pedestal, “out there,” rather than being all of us. That idolatry is a hazard of any religion, and can easily become fundamentalism[Pretty condescending, this guy.  Think about this for a moment: all salvation is mediated through the Holy Church which Jesus Christ, God and Savior, established.  But we are not supposed to put the Church on a pedestal.]

Catholic theology today consists of four sources: Scripture, tradition (including church teaching), [tradition includes Church teaching!  nice!] reason (our intellect), and our own human experience. Unfortunately, EWTN promotes a view of church and theology that focuses almost exclusively on tradition with a capital “T.” What’s ironic, though, is that it promotes this top-heavy, clerical model in a time when priestly vocations are dwindling, when educated Catholics are leaving the church, and when more lay men and women, motivated by the spirit of Vatican II and the Gospels, feel called to ministry.

God love Mother Angelica for her endeavor. [What a weasel.] I’m sure that many find some spiritual fulfillment in its offerings. [more condescension] But don’t call it “the Catholic channel.” Far from it, it’s a version of the Catholic Church that has long since passed on. And, it is an oppressive model, to lay men and women, as well as to the clergy themselves. My advice? If you want nostalgia, watch an old Bing Crosby movie. But don’t call it theology, and don’t call it the Catholic Church today.

Bitter, isn’t he?  Such condescension usually comes from disappointment. 

He is the chair of the theology department at Ambrose College.  He teaches moral theology.  Think about it.

Talk show host Al Kresta of Ave Maria Radio took on this fellow on the air.

UPDATE

 

The Catholic Messenger, embarrassed at the editorial of Keith Soko, above, published a different point of view.

persons, places and things: An opinion is an opinion

By Barb Arland-Fye
Published:
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 2:30 PM CST
St. Ambrose University associate professor Keith Soko’s column criticizing the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) has provoked numerous responses.

We have received letters via e-mail, U.S. Postal Service and — a first for us — “blog comments” on our new Web site, www.catholicmessenger.org. [heh heh… welcome to the club]

Soko’s contention that many people incorrectly assume EWTN is “the Catholic channel” and that it presents an outdated view of the Catholic Church was offensive and hurtful to a number of readers who responded.

“EWTN is an excellent teaching tool,” say Elmer and Annette Pollpeter of Burlington, who believe that “our bishop, his diocesan paper, our Catholic schools and universities and our parish priests ought to be encouraging these efforts.”

“EWTN is doing what no other Catholic entity has succeeded in doing: bringing Catholic television programming into the home,” says Madelyn Phares of Princeton. “I do not feel that pre-Vatican II theology is being shoved down my throat by EWTN. And if I did, I would just select a different channel, rather than belittle the entire network in the pages of The Messenger.”

Tim Hart of Fairfield, writes, “Mr. Soko says: EWTN promotes ‘an outdated theology … a version of Catholicism that no longer actually exists.’ Wow! A version of Catholicism? I thought the Church was One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. I didn’t know there were different versions.” (Hart’s full letter will appear in next week’s issue).

One letter writer took on a scolding attitude, exclaiming, “Shame on you!” at the beginning and end of her letter.

Another demanded that Soko retract his opinion column and write an apology in The Catholic Messenger.

Others criticized Soko personally and made disparaging remarks about St. Ambrose University, The Catholic Messenger and the Diocese of Davenport.

Some of the more uncharitable comments were from bloggers, [again… welcome to the club] people who write entries for inclusion in our Web log (“blog” for short), which appears beneath the on-line article. The Catholic Messenger may accept or reject blog comments, and at least a half-dozen have been rejected because they stifled rather than furthered dialogue

The first blogger to submit a comment, Sister Dawna Sutton, SFCC, thanked Soko for sharing his opinion. “I could not have said it better. (EWTN) is an outdated view of Catholicism today.”

A friend who e-mails me regularly with gently worded critiques of The Catholic Messenger thought Soko’s reasoning was immature and wondered how often he watches the station and whether he had watched it lately. My friend wished Soko had provided more specific examples of programming he found fault with. I would have to agree with her on that observation.

In responding to my friend and other e-mail writers, I said that the Opinions Page is a place for people to express opinions. Nothing Keith Soko said was blasphemous or denied church teaching.  His opinion piece has generated plenty of thoughtful responses as well as some unconstructive criticism.

It’s a good thing to get Catholics talking about issues that are important to them. In part, that’s what makes The Catholic Messenger a Catholic newspaper.

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110 Responses to What some Catholic Colleges have in their theology departments

  1. Thomas says:

    I don’t know what’s more alarming about this guy being a professor of moral theology in a Catholic school: his heresy or his stupidity. That article is a glorified “Best Hits of the Spirit of Vatican II.”

    And what does his moral theology say about honesty? Because that is the most dishonest characterization of EWTN I’ve ever heard. And I’m not even talking about the ideological differences. The simple facts of who EWTN employs and features are dead wrong. It’s rather amusing how this DB “defends” women and religious (the non-priest kind) by attacking…

    A WOMAN RELIGIOUS.

    This guy is such a lightweight I’m not too concerned about him. I just hope his students are bright enough to tune him out.

    One more question I have is: who is the Bishop of Davenport

  2. REF says:

    Well, Keith can be seen and heard at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. He gets exposure by also needing to write an editorial for the diocesan newspaper.

    EWTN has been at it since the 1980’s, uses not only clergy, religious men and women but plenty of lay men and women for their staff and programs. The network can be seen worldwide.

    His article is just crabbing – surely no one today can be fooled by one obviously bitter and vitriolic article. And if they can, maybe they should be.

    I think Keith can be forgiven his pathetic, desperate need for a few minutes of fame.

    Whatever.

  3. Jason Petty says:

    Unfortunately, it is Mother Angelica’s version of the Catholic Church, and it is an outdated view of what “church” is.

    I know which Church I belong to. Look, Mr. Theology, if there really are two churches, can you just leave ours alone? This guy does remind me of some college professors though. They get to living in this insular little academic community and really miss out on “the Catholic Church today.” Poor things. They wouldn’t know the Catholic Church today if a cloud of incense hit ‘em right in the face.

  4. Jason Petty says:

    Does he work in the Department of TheoLOLgy?

  5. Thanks for the analysis.

    Here is the email address for the Diocese of Davenport.

    communication@davenportdiocese.org

    I don’t know much about Bishop Martin Amos, but I wonder if he would approve of this, if it were brought to his attention with charity.

    This is the scandalization of Catholics and given Dr. Soko’s position, makes it worse.

  6. REF: His article is just crabbing – surely no one today can be fooled by one obviously bitter and vitriolic article. And if they can, maybe they should be.

    I think Keith can be forgiven his pathetic, desperate need for a few minutes of fame.

    Whatever.

    I think it is a very big deal and my thoughts go well beyond a diocesan newspaper article and into the classroom where only Lord knows how many young people are being taught this “branding” of Catholicism.

  7. Scott W. says:

    You will also find the this Vat2=true Church/Pre-Vat2=false Church baloney in Protestant polemics as well. They of course have an interest in this because it is relatively easy to field an argument against the hippy dippy Catholicism because of its inherent stupidity. However, allow Newman’s Grammar of Assent into a discussion of infallibility, and the not-the-Catholics get their butts handed to them. So better to pretend that Newman, Chesterton, Tolkien, etc. are not the real Church. It’s like going to a Florida Gators football game and the opposing team says your starting lineup is not the real team, but the beer-swilling fat people in the stands are.

  8. TNCath says:

    And to think St. Ambrose once had a very strong minor seminary program! It’s sickening to see how this once fine Catholic college has gone off the rails with people like Keith Soko running off at the mouth. On his own, Soko is a third-rate theological and academic nonentity. Nonetheless, there are so many others like him out there, a dime a dozen, who collectively form a very dangerous coalition of ignorance that has been the downfall of our Church for the past 40 years. Libera nos Domine!

  9. Sid says:

    I heard all this B as in B and S as in S 25 years ago in seminary. I bet this guy’s over 50. He’s the one out of date now.

  10. IvoDeNorthfield says:

    That blog has some very interesting posts, like “Tim Russert, A Modal (sic) for U.S. Catholic Bishops”; and “From Catholic Altar Girl To Episcopal Priest”. It should be entitled “Journey To A New Pentecost, and empty pews.”

  11. MargaretMN says:

    The guy has obviously never watched EWTN and knows nothing about it. It’s highly engaged with lots of issues. It’s not “Bells of St. Mary’s TV.” I like Raymond Arroyo’s Weekly news program and download the podcast every week. I learn things on that show that you NEVER hear in the MSM. (A recent example: the lawyer who represented Terry Schiavo’s husband is now a Deputy US Attorney General.) I don’t see it as “pre-Vatican II” at all. I was born a year after Vatican II started and find it highly engaged with the present, probably just not in a way he would like.

    The Paulists should be given their props, they had a great communications shop and they had a mission that fit early TV and the networks. They had their movie niche in indie Hollywood. Their mission was to put forward a view of Catholic morality to a general audience, not really to minister to Catholics through the media. More recently, that view seems based more on the social encyclicals than catholic teachings in general. Like the Dorothy Day movie and anything Martin Sheen signs on to.

    Mother Angelica had faith that many Catholics wanted to see programing with a stronger traditional Catholic identity and that the opening up of a multiplicity of channels offered a way to do that and she was right.

  12. humble access says:

    Boy, does this guy sound like an Episcopalian.
    –a former Episcopalian

  13. humble access says:

    I mean I’m the former Episcopalian. He sounds like a current one.

  14. Stike says:

    Hey all, I emailed the following to the director of communications (montgomery@davenportdiocese.org) for the Diocese as well as the editor of the newspaper (Editor: Barb Arland-Fye, arland-fye@davenportdiocese.org):

    I read with great alarm Dr. Keith Soko’s recent editorial regarding EWTN in your diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Messenger. Catholics have so little access to faithful Catholic media programming as it is, and to publicize such a ridiculous, uninformed article regarding EWTN in the Diocesan newspaper shows very poor judgment on the part of the editors. Please, for the sake of journalistic fairness and integrity, if not Christian charity, you should extend supporters of EWTN the opportunity to rebut Dr. Soko’s ignorant ranting. Publishing editorials such as Dr. Soko’s serve to undermine the faith, not encourage it! Just what purpose did you have in publishing this???

  15. Timothy Capps says:

    That’s why I watch the All-Singing-All-Dancing-Amchurch-Wackadoodle Network, which is also self-funded and watched in… whoops. I guess there isn’t one of those. People wouldn’t watch it.

    Vainglory is like a black hole. Once it consumes you it tries to draw as many souls around you into oblivion as it can. These theologians are doing real damage to souls and the real problem in the Catholic Church is that no one in authority does anything to stop them. Where is the shepherd when the sheep are being constantly harassed, stolen, fleeced and turned into mutton? Where has the church failed here? This is a serious question, and one I’d really like an answer to.

    I wrestle with whether I should even follow stories like this. I think I’ve already used this year’s supply of outrage and it isn’t even March yet.

  16. Irenaeus says:

    A good but Catholic-In-Name-Only friend of mine teaches at St Ambrose. I’m not surprised.

  17. Stike says:

    I think one way to make yourself feel better (and make a point) would be to take a moment to donate $5-$10 to EWTN in honor of Dr. Keith Soko and email him at “SokoKeith@sau.edu” to let him know of the donation and its purpose.

  18. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    To: Dr Soko
    Re: Your outdated scholarship

    Dr Soko, I regret that your scholarship does not reflect the insightful work of scholars at most university history departments. I can, personally, only speak for scholarship into the medieval period but, through conversations with colleagues, I suspect that what I am about to tell you holds true for the counter-Reformation and beyond.

    1. Most historians now agree that the Church was not “hierarchical, clerical, absolute, unchanging” as you assert. Research into the administrative records of the Church indicate the extent to which it relied on the co-operation and participation of the laity. Indeed, historically, the technology did not exist to impose an absolute Church. I draw your attention to the innumerable liturgical uses and rites (i.e. York, Hereford, Bangor, Sarum, Lincoln, not to mention those preserved by the religious Orders).

    2. “That mode was insular, removed from the world rather than engaged with it, unresponsive to historical developments and unchanging.” This statement is untenable. The medieval period witnessed the birth of the greatest of all “outreach” organisations, namely the Franciscans and Dominicans. Likewise, the Counter-Reformation brought forth the Jesuits. The post-Vatican II era, while encouraging a plethora of mini-societies, has not rivaled this. You may argue that the modern era saw the birth of many lay-societies, but they pale in comparison to the guilds and confraternities of medieval Europe, which engaged in charitable work. I direct your attention to E. Duffy’s old, but useful, account in Stripping of the Altars. May I point out that, in response to your accusation of the “unchanging Church”, these groups grew out of changing historical circumstances, and almost always without any sort of oppression by clerics.

    3. We do not use the term, “Eucharistic Table”. It is, despite the many other changes brought about by the most recent (not the only) council, still called the Altar.

    Yours,
    Me
    Centre for Medieval Studies, York

  19. Geoffrey says:

    This sounds like yet one more person who has failed to actually read the documents of Vatican II!

    Thank God for EWTN!

  20. Ron Webber says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for drawing my attention to this site.

    I like what I read there and will check back often.

    It’s ironic, isn’t it? The trads are so much better at using the internet and getting their message out there than the liberals, hence their sites are far better known.

    Ergo, when you attack a blog like this, you give it far more traffic than it could probably ever get by itself.

    Like I said, thank you :)

    P.S. There are good things about EWTN, but there is also a huge part of it that follows the outdated idea that Catholicism is a religion of “shut up, don’t think for yourself, and just do exactly what we tell you to do, or burn in hell!”

  21. Manuel says:

    Sadyly, it is not just colleges. It is also many Catholic high schools and elementary schools.

  22. Scott W. says:

    Incidently, on the Kresta link, the conversation with Soko occurs perhaps a quarter to a third into it. When Kresta asks, “What truths are not being taught by EWTN that need to be?”, Soko’s silence is deafening. Then he sputtered through some typical give-me-ambiguity-or-give-me-something-else mode. Many have become quite adept at running right up to the line of overt dissent without crossing it.

  23. opey124 says:

    That reminds me, it is Catholic Media month and I need to donate to EWTN.

    Let\’s see which ambiguous answer we have gotten from such theologians. How about this: pornography is generally not accepted in the Church but if you and your husband agree to it and want to use it it could be OK. (In hell, I guess is what he was referring to)
    Or this..
    The Church has no definitive teachings on contraception and you and your husband are free to make your own mind up as to whether or not this is something God wants you to do.

    Hmm. I\’ll take EWTN in a heartbeat.

    Fr. Powell had a discussion on the inner workings of colleges, chairs, and how they are kept/gotten and they way actually encourages dissent. Amazing.

  24. Scott W. says:

    Ergo, when you attack a blog like this, you give it far more traffic than it could probably ever get by itself.

    Many of use are familiar with the don’t-give-crap-publicity tactic. While there is some merit to it, it shouldn’t bother us because error is error no matter what package it is in.

    There are good things about EWTN, but there is also a huge part of it that follows the outdated idea that Catholicism is a religion of “shut up, don’t think for yourself, and just do exactly what we tell you to do, or burn in hell!”

    Part of not worrying about those other sites is that niggling thing called evidence. So when we insist on a example more concrete than “but there is also a huge part of it that follows” it becomes pretty evident who has a case and who doesn’t.

  25. Man, that was horrifying. It’s always good to know what we’re up against, though. It’s people like him that are the very reason why vocations are down, why Mass attendance is at its current valley, why people just don’t care about the Catholic faith anymore. Just a few points: 1. He says that EWTN represents a Catholicism that no longer exists. Hello!!! The very fact of the popularity of EWTN demonstrates that it does, in fact, exist. And it is a Catholicism that has actually remained Catholic! 2. As for his comment about “ask a priest” being the old, outdated idea. Why would we not ask a priest about matters of faith, theology, spirituality? I mean, if I have a legal question, I’ll ask a lawyer. If I have a medical problem, I’ll ask a doctor. What does this guy think priests spend so much time being educated for, both in college and seminary, and the rest of their lives. One of the beauties of priestly celibacy is that our priests are actually able to devote themselves entirely to the deepening of their Catholic faith. You priests are the experts, why wouldn’t we go to you?

    Father, honestly, if ever you even think about giving up your blog again, just please re-read this post of yours. This is why we need you, and the many other great and devoted Catholics like you. This sort of liberalism will die, but not on its own. We need to kill it.

  26. Ron Webber says:

    ‘Many of use are familiar with the don’t-give-crap-publicity tactic. While there is some merit to it, it shouldn’t bother us because error is error no matter what package it is in.’

    I am an educated man, but I have to admit I don’t have the first clue what that sentence means.

  27. frv says:

    What a nut! Thanks for exposing this, Fr. Z! And we wonder why we find ourselves in the state of desperate dialogue with the SSPX. For a good “response” to this nonsense, let us see how our Holy Father would comment about this error of modernism by way of an address he gave in 1988 as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in Santiago, Chile. http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=3032&repos=1&subrepos=&searchid=292734

    “It is a necessary task to defend the Second Vatican Council against Msgr. Lefebvre, as valid, and as binding upon the Church. Certainly there is a mentality of narrow views that isolate Vatican II and which has provoked this opposition. There are many accounts of it which give the impression that, from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and that what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II.

    The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.

    This idea is made stronger by things that are now happening. That which previously was considered most holy — the form in which the liturgy was handed down — suddenly appears as the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited. It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken since the council; on the other hand, if men make question of ancient rules, or even of the great truths of the faith — for instance, the corporal virginity of Mary, the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc. — nobody complains or only does so with the greatest moderation. I myself, when I was a professor, have seen how the very same bishop who, before the council, had fired a teacher who was really irreproachable, for a certain crudeness of speech, was not prepared, after the council, to dismiss a professor who openly denied certain fundamental truths of the faith.

    All this leads a great number of people to ask themselves if the Church of today is really the same as that of yesterday, or if they have changed it for something else without telling people. The one way in which Vatican II can be made plausible is to present it as it is; one part of the unbroken, the unique Tradition of the Church and of her faith.”

  28. Maureen says:

    It does sound like somebody who hasn’t really watched much EWTN. Years ago, that was me. I would turn on EWTN, discover them talking about something I’d only seen in my mom’s old Baltimore Catechism, and turn the channel, very confused or amused.

    It was only when I started really watching it that I was able to see that it wasn’t some nostalgia or retro-theology channel, but rather was more up to date and complete than anything Catholic I’d read or heard before.

  29. Boko the serf says:

    Help! Help! I’m being oppressed!!1!

  30. Scott W. says:

    “I am an educated man, but I have to admit I don’t have the first clue what that sentence means.”

    One recent example would be The DaVinci Code film. Many Catholics organized protests but a few took the attitude that we are giving it free publicity and we shouldn’t do that. (The “don’t-give-crap-publicity” strategy.) It’s a fair point, but one can’t really control that. One can’t seriously entertain a Catholic-commentary-blackout on objectionable material. So in end one should not worry too much about it. So if someone were to say, “Haha! I wouldn’t have seen this movie if it wasn’t for your protests! You LOLfail!1!1″ our respone is “meh” because the Truth will out.

  31. David says:

    “[Soko] is a member of …the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies.”

    Enough said.

  32. dominic1962 says:

    It’s good that people are exposed to something that has a more traditionally Catholic flavor because the rotten mess that this guy and his buddies are trying to peddle is anything but Catholicism.

    “Pre-Vatican II” Church? Well, since the post-Vatican II “Spirit of the Council Church” is just a figment of heretical imaginations, I’ll take the real one that has been around for 2000 some years-without all of your guitar-mass-girl-altarboy-church-in-the-round-Sr.Mary Pantsuit-laypeople-invading-the-sanctuary-innovations, theological heterodoxy, and wackiness, thank you very much.

  33. John Enright says:

    He’s one of these people who call themselves “catholic” with a small “c.”

  34. Tony says:

    I hope I’m not banned from your blog for writing this but…

    What a flipping loser article. This guy isn’t even trying to be sly or subtle. If anyone is on his side after read this article, they couldn’t possibly be going to hell they’re so invincibly ignorant.

    I need pint.

  35. Robert says:

    In part, that’s what makes The Catholic Messenger a Catholic newspaper

    It would be a better Catholic newspaper if it presented the teachings of the Catholic Church (like EWTN does) instead of the Church of Modernism.

    I wouldn’t have even posted a comment if this appeared in the MSM, but the fact that this appeared in a diocesan newspaper is scary.

    Now when I calm down, maybe I’ll try to write a letter to bishop. Does anyone know anything about this diocese? Is the bishop a good guy and his communications department just out of control, or is it worthless to do anything but pray for the Catholics of Davenport?

  36. RANCHER says:

    Having EWTN piped into the classroom during “Catholic University” Theology classes would likely provide more orthodox teaching than what most students receive now. It would save the waste of salary money now paid to dissident “theologians”.

  37. Patricia Gonzalez says:

    I just discovered EWTN via our local cable (I live in Canada), and have absolutely no problem whatever with it — in fact, it’s re-educating me about the faith. Prof. Soko’s arrogance and flippancy are quite pathetic. If he just took a few minutes to watch “Life on the Rock” or “The Journey Home”, it might re-educate him. You can’t spend your life looking down your nose at people — it’s intolerant and uncharitable, and if you espouse “tolerance” and “inclusivity”, then put your money where your mouth is and open your mind to viewpoints other than your own. You just learn — or (in my case, re-learn) something that will promote the salvation of your soul.

  38. Christa says:

    I have posted this before, but I will say it again: I became a Catholic because of the programs I saw on EWTN. I searched for it on my satellite television listings because I had seen Mother Angelica on the Today Show, and was interested in hearing more from her. I became fascinated with many of the programs, and I eventually, after the coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict, signed up for RCIA classes. My husband was accepted into the Church the year after I was.

    If I had been in Professor Soko’s class I probably would have concluded that the Catholic Church had nothing to offer me that I wasn’t getting from the Methodists.

  39. tradone says:

    Fr, for a minute I thought you were going to invite him down to the gym and put on boxing gloves! (Is that still a tradition?)

    Seening professors like this I’m glad that I didn’t go to a Catholic U.

  40. This is one of the many reasons we need the SSPX…

    ~cmpt

  41. Ray from MN says:

    I checked out his background at St. Ambrose:

    He has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Marquette University in the area of Ethics. His dissertation was on “Human Rights and Ecological Duties in Buddhism and Roman Catholicism: Test Case for a Global Ethic.”

    Sounds to me like a typical Catholic theology teacher these days. Well prepared to lose his faith because all faiths are equal.

    “All theology professors are equal, [too,] but some theology professors are more equal than others” and those that belong to the Catholic Theological Society of America are absolutely infallible.

  42. opey124 says:

    Well, you helped them break in their site. Welcome to the World Wide Web of BLOGGERS!
    Pull up a seat. We bite, hit, scream and have a good ole time.

  43. Josiah Ross. says:

    Christa-
    Same for me!EWTN was my first exposure to real Catholicism, and had I never seen it, or worse,payed attention to Mr. Soko,only God knows where I’d be now.
    Indeed, from his comments I’d guess that his entire exposure to EWTN was watching 30 seconds of ‘Web of Faith’ and three minutes of the daily mass,and maybe one or two other shows about seven years ago.

  44. opey124 says:

    If anyone wants to read Fr. Powell’s thoughts on why theologians dissent here is the link:
    http://hancaquam.blogspot.com/2009/01/why-do-catholic-theologians-dissent.html
    It is something to give serious thought about IF you are in that department/higher education.

  45. Knowing that this may be uncharitable: From his comments, Soko is a horse’s ass. (So much for the openess and diversity of the left.)

  46. Tzard says:

    What bugs also is the attitude among newspapers and other mainstream media that things in their “editorial” or “op-ed” pages are independent of them. That it’s not them talking, so they have no responsibility for the content. Balderdash. They chose the person, or at least allowed him on, they edited for content and format (if it was too long or short, you bet they would have stepped in. Also if it included racist comments or was disrespectful to Islam….).

    In the end, people do judge the paper from the articles inside and are not swayed by arbitrary distinctions of section titles. It does reflect on them (and that college) whether they like it or not.

    If that college had been a business, he could have been fired for this. But this is academia….

  47. Athelstane says:

    1. Those changes brought Mass in the language of the people, the priest facing the congregation, churches built in a semi-circle with the congregation gathered around the eucharistic table and greater participation by the laity including as eucharistic ministers and readers.

    And if Professor Soko can show me where the Council documents give even a remote hint of such changes, I’ll buy him a Bugatti.

    2. I suspect the problem he has on lay theologians is that the *right* theologians don’t get asked on. If EWTN ran a parade of nothing but Chittester, McBrien, Elizabeth Johnson and Roger Haight, I suspect we would never have heard from Prof. Soko. Because it’s not as if there have not been lay theologians on EWTN before.

  48. Rob says:

    Just for the record, Journey to a New Pentecost is a fairly liberal blog (the author supports married priests, etc.). Want to let people know before they bookmark and set themselves up for disappointment.

  49. Ryan says:

    This guy is a tool. Add me to the roster of those converts who benefited tremendously from EWTN. I remember turning on and seeing Fr. Corapi and knowing I had found Home.

  50. Maynardus says:

    Mr. Webber:

    So glad that our favorite blog could help you connect with Dr. Bozo Soko. I understand that he is also an educated man and it sounds like you two have a lot in common. And it sounds like he needs a friend!

  51. Jacob says:

    I live in the diocese of Davenport. The Messenger is really not a bad newspaper outside of the op/ed page. There they have the usual with McBrien and Fr. Rohwhatever along with guest commentary from guys like Soko. They also have guest commentary that is actually in line with Church teaching and the actual editorials of the paper itself are sometimes watered down, but never outright bad theology.

  52. Legisperitus says:

    Don’t you incur a latae sententiae excommunication by using the phrase “being church”? :)

  53. Magdalene says:

    I also know of souls who came to the Catholic Church because of EWTN but some were disappointed their local parish did not hold up to the model set there.

    EWTN is the lifeline for countless homebound people. I know of some who watch it all day, every Mass and pray all the rosaries. They love their Church and their faith and they cannot get out but they can feel a part of things through EWTN.

    This man is now the ‘old guard’ and his kind is fading fast. May he be enlightened.

  54. Credo says:

    Well, this shows again that there are two parallel theologies co-existing within the Church and they are completely incompatible; one theology is a hermeneutic of continuity and the other theology is the hermeneutic of rupture. Writing these theologies side-by-side would surely reveal that they are basically different religions. This fellow is definitely on the rupture side.

    He sounds like all, but one, of the professors at my diocesan seminary – they would love him. (

  55. Ann says:

    I hope that this professor is teaching moral theology according to the Church and not something modernist and cafeteria. I would hope that he is simply misunderstanding the wonderful programming on EWTN and the fact that so many people love it, and isn’t really as anti-Church teaching as his article makes him sound.

    If he really is that against church teaching I sure hope few people take his moral theology course.

  56. LCB says:

    On the contrary:

    He DID express un-Catholic opinion, that there has been a hermeneutic of discontinuity, that the Church has somehow changed on matters that are unchangable, that we have a new Church as compared to the old Church, and so on. He also grossly misrepresents the council’s documents and what the council calls for.

    For further clarification please consult: Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal (also see, Benedict XVI, Pope). Start with The Spirit of the Liturgy and work forward from there.

  57. catholic college student says:

    This guy is wack. Unfortunately, this is the majority opinion of most ‘Catholic’ college professors. Even at my own university, I find that most theology professors have a grave misunderstanding of the nature of the Church and her mission.

    As for EWTN, I think it can be ‘outdated’ in some senses, though certainly not in its theology. Just technologolically, I suppose. And perhaps sometimes in its content. I mean, as a college student, sometimes I find some of the progams to be… cheesey? Maybe that’s too harsh. I guess sometimes some of the stuff just seems like something only my grandma would watch, if she were Catholic. There are some good programs that don’t stike me that way, though.

  58. trespinos says:

    Received his PhD from Marquette, did he? That figures. I wonder if Daniel Maguire supervised his dissertation.

  59. In the same way that German citizens were forced to view what had been done at their concentration camps during the Jewish Holocaust, all Roman Catholics who believe theirs is “the one true, holy church” ought to be required to view the videos below.
    Cardinal Eugene Tisserant, Prefect of the Congregation of Eastern Churches at the time, testified to some of the facts involved, when he wrote in a letter sent in March of 1942 to Croatia’s representative to the Vatican:
    “I know for a fact, that it is the Franciscans themselves who have taken part in attacks against the Orthodox populations so as to destroy the Orthodox Church. . . I know for sure that the Franciscans in Bosnia and Herzegovina have acted abominably, and this pains me. Such acts should not be committed by educated, cultured, civilized people, let alone by priests.”

    Catholic holocaust perpetrators – Part One
    Catholic holocaust perpetrators – Part Two
    Catholic holocaust perpetrators – Part Three
    Catholic holocaust perpetrators – Part Four

  60. TNCath says:

    The Catholic Messenger: “The Catholic Messenger may accept or reject blog comments, and atleast a half-dozen have been rejected because they stifled rather than furthered dialogue.”

    Since when was the purpose of a Catholic newspaper to further dialogue? I thought it was to instruct and inform its readers about the Truths of the Faith and news in the diocese? Hmmm. Obviously not. I challenge Dr. Soko, Sister Dawna, or anyone else to find anything on EWTN that is contrary to the Catholic Church in any way, shape, or form. It may not be their “cup of tea” as far as externals and aesthetics are concerned, but to call it an “outdated view of the Church” is completely contrary to reality. I love how these diocesan institutions love to explain away anything they do that draws criticism from individuals as being “uncharitable.” This is an article that never should have been published in a diocesan newspaper. They know it but nobody on the diocesan level would ever admit it. It is precisely articles like this one that give chancery offices (and bishops) bad reputations.

  61. Mark says:

    Syncretists are often allergic to unadulterated expressions of the religion they feel they are part of. They like to “nuance” things to make them fit their personal views and whims, and insist that everyone else must go along with them. The college campus is their natural habitat – it gives them a captive audience and often a colleague support network. The mendacity of such a mindset sees anyone who dares to call things by their name as passe. A fruitful dialog is very difficult, or impossible, for someone labeled as such.

    The discontinuity here is from objective reality and history.

  62. Mary Ann says:

    Scene: 4:45 pm. I’m at my computer reading this thread. At 5:10 pm I leave the computer, go into the living room & turn on the tv to EWTN; Mother Angelica. I click the remote to TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) and catch…(ready for this?)…the last 20 minutes of “Going My Way”!!!!! Talk about heavenly programming!

    Just had to share.

    Thank you for all your work here, Fr. Z., and to all the thoughtful, knowledgeable people who post.

  63. Andreae says:

    How did this guy became a Theology professor? If it’s up to Mother Angelica, he won’t even qualify to be a grade school religion teacher. God bless EWTN.

  64. “Rev” Ray–
    The one, true Church produces some sinners–yawn–old news. From the beginning, we have had our Judas’.

  65. supertradmom says:

    I know this diocese well and sadly, Soko’s position is NOT UNIQUE. Modernism took root in Catholic education in Davenport a long time ago. At that same college, where I was working on both a philosophy and a theology degree, I was told that Aquinas was “passe” and not to be studied. One of the female teachers, who teaches a mockery of a class entitled “Catholic Women Theologians” or something similar, uses a famous wicca authoress in the curriculum, or, at least, did in the Spring 2008 syllabus. A girl got up in class and stated, “I am practicing wicca,” and the entire class, minus one, clapped. In another class, attended by my best friend’s second daughter, the priest instructor taught that there is no hell, or a devil (symbolic only), that Intercommunion is ok, and that women will one day be priests, of course. This lovely young person is now having trouble with her faith, and the family regularly attends the TLM. There is, indeed, a strong anti-clerical attitude on campus, which has been encouraged by an over-emphasis on the function of the laity. The laity has been “clericized.”

    This professor is only one of many of the same ideology. I sincerely wish these examples were not true, but these are only a few indications of a lack of faith and a lack of obedience to Holy Mother Church at St. Ambrose.

    This university should absolutely not be entitled to the name “Catholic”. By the way, The Catholic Messenger regularly runs the column by Father McBrien. Enough said.

  66. John says:

    Dr. Soko wrote: “You would get the impression that answers to complex questions are black and white, with no nuance or qualification”

    I wonder how open Dr. Soko is when it comes to issues like global warming, rain forests, etc., etc.

  67. RBrown says:

    In addition to his cloying theological incompetence, Keith Soto reminds me of one of those Japanese soldiers who were found hiding in the jungle 30 years after Japan had surrendered.

  68. supertradmom says:

    By the way, a priest at the said college once derisively referred to the few, conservative priests in the diocese as “those sons of Mother Angelica”. EWTN must be doing something very right.

  69. B Knotts says:

    Catholic universities in the United States (and, I suspect, in Western Europe, Australia, Canada, etc.) are in desperate need of a visitation from the competent authorities in order to determine which ones are teaching a faulty ecclesiology and/or blatant heresy, so that they can be reformed or expelled.

  70. John says:

    I believe that it is Dr. Soko’s theology that is “dated.” The Church of the future is much closer to EWTN.

  71. Jayna says:

    Wow, really? He just now thought it was a good idea to put out a polemic on EWTN? Talk about being outdated.

    I have to say, I’m not sure the response from the newspaper really acknowledged how very wrong most of what he wrote was. He, in his mind, was not stating an opinion and therefore fully deserves all the criticism we can throw at him. He’s a big boy, he can handle it. And if he can’t, he has no business being a professor.

    “What’s ironic, though, is that it promotes this top-heavy, clerical model in a time when priestly vocations are dwindling, when educated Catholics are leaving the church, and when more lay men and women, motivated by the spirit of Vatican II and the Gospels, feel called to ministry.”

    I just had to respond to this little bit. I’m not sure that he realizes it, but he’s associating educated Catholics leaving the Church with laymen being motivated by the spirit of Vatican II. Not to mention the fact that the reason there are dwindling priestly vocations is precisely because of this heavy emphasis on lay ministry. If we weren’t praising lay ministry at the expense of ordained ministry, it would be a different story. I suppose we should thank him for inadvertently debunking the whole spirit of Vatican II myth for us.

  72. supertradmom says:

    To Robert, Just pray, please.

  73. RC says:

    If he thinks that EWTN favors a passive laity, he’s obviously never watched Johnnette Benkovic’s show.

    It figures that the reader who praises this off-base professor is from the non-canonical “SFCC” community. According to Fr. McBrien’s Encyclopedia of Catholicism, most members of “Sisters for Christian Community”, founded in 1970, are former religious supporting themselves and choosing their own activities independently: “There is no presiding officer, motherhouse, rule, or constitution.” Since the group is ecumenical, there’s probably no creedal commitment, either.

    Still, the lady is cited with the title “Sister”. It’s handy when you want to borrow the respectability of real religious, isn’t it?

  74. Amadan says:

    Someone needs to send this crank a copy of “EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong”

    http://www.networkgonewrong.com

  75. If it were not for Mother Angelica and EWTN, I would not be Catholic and my wife would not have returned to the Catholic Church. If I had met this professor during my journey toward the Catholic faith, I probably would have remained a Lutheran or worse remained a Jehovah’s Witness.

  76. Shzilio says:

    I am one of those people whose comments were considered “uncharitable”. Interesting, all I did was express my perspective. I guess they didn’t like the fact that I said liberals would contracept themselves out of existence. Truth hurts.

  77. Pathetic diatribe. The good professor claims EWTN is pre-Vatican II and yet he embraces an ecclesiology totally alien to the Second Vatican Council. Lumen Gentium reiterated what Pope Pius XII taught in Mystici Corporis and found in the epistles of Saint Paul, namely, that the church IS the Mystical Body of Christ. Jesus = Church. “He who hears you, hears Me.” Why did Christ say to Saint Paul on the road to Damascus “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” The Church IS the living, teaching, sanctifying, governing presence of Christ on earth. Jesus the Prophet teaches through His Body, the Church, via the Magisterium. Jesus the Priest sanctifies through His Body, the Church, via the Seven Sacraments. Jesus Christ the King governs through His Body, the Church via the Hierarchy.

    Hence, the Church is more than a TOOL. The Bride of Christ is also the Mystical Body of Christ. She is an extension of Christ in the modern world. Dr. Soko is inaccurate when he presents the Church as some mere incidental as opposed to an essential element of salvation. Christ is the sole mediator, redeemer and savior and His Church speaks, teaches, sanctifies and governs IN HIS NAME. To reject the Church is to reject Christ, the founder, the bridegroom, the head of the Mystical Body.

    EWTN does a phenomenal job showing the splendor of the Church, from the Papacy to the ordinary baptized member of the Christian faithful. Clergy and laity alike work at EWTN and are on the air. Respect and obedience to the legitimate authority of the institutional and, as V2 affirmed in chapter three of LG, HIERARCHICAL church is the hallmark of EWTN. His notion of the church being some ‘idol’ that EWTN proselytizes over the airwaves is absurd and ludicrous. EWTN is not the Vatican and never claimed to be. Neither is it the CDF. It is a precious vehicle by which the Bride of Christ and the Mystical Body of Christ is served faithfully. The Protestant Reformers of the 16th century, however, would have embraced his bizarre ecclesiology, but not Trent, V1 and most especially not V2. God bless Mother Angelica and EWTN.

  78. Maureen says:

    “It waxes nostalgic for the time of Father O’Malley, when priests and nuns filled the Catholic landscape.”

    Actually, no. “Nostalgia” is felt about something lost forever.

    What we feel — those of us not living in Ann Arbor, Nashville, Omaha, or similar hotbeds of vocations — is “saudade” — a Japanese term that means “yearning for things lost in the past that might return, even if that return is unlikely or so distant in the future as to be almost of no consequence to the present”.

    But it’s not really all that saudadic a hope, anymore. The vocations are coming.

  79. Maureen says:

    Oops. It’s a Portuguese word, actually.

    In my defense, I read about the word on an anime fan’s blog, who up to that point had only defined Japanese and Cantonese words. :)

  80. Al says:

    I can’t say I am surprized at Dr. Soko’s comments. Living in DBQ I know how far St. Ambrose has drifted from being a real Catholic College.

    The same comments he made are held by a majority of those in the Religious Studies department (& many other departments) at the “Catholic” College I work at as well as the other “Catholic” College on Clarke Dr. We won’t even go into the Catholic High School in this town.

    I know Mother Angelica, I have been down to EWTN, she has more of the real Spirit of Vatican II in her pinkie finger that he has in his entire body. The spirit he is promoting could be taken care of with a good exorcist.

    I can only add that his editorial proved the truth behind the old joke about what PhD stands for “Piled High & Deep”.

  81. Fr. A says:

    As a graduate of that university, I can tell you that the university was quite liberal then and seems that nothing has changed. It was at St. Ambrose that I became quite traditional. I realized quickly that the St. Ambrose way was a hermenutic of rupture. That editorial is quite sad and shows they are still stuck in the past (1960s) at St. Ambrose, just as they were when I went there.

  82. Alan F. says:

    I get suspicious when people say “an outdate view of catholicism”.
    What’s really changed since Vatican II? How’s the theology changed?
    It hasn’t.

    The truth doesn’t change. There is still a One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the “barque of Peter”, the one Ark of Salvation; it is still “absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Unum Santam)

    If there is any novelty introduced in the last 40 years, I’m more inclined to reject it.

    This guy’s made me like EWTN even more, I’d get it if only if it weren’t for Sky’s extortionate prices.

  83. Al Kresta is charismatic. So am I.

  84. Francesco says:

    It is time for certain “Catholic” universities to be stripped of their “Catholic” identity by the bishops and certain theologians excommunicated. The time for talking is over. How many more Catholics have to be fooled into believing that what they are being taught is Catholic when it is not? And perhaps an excommunication is the only thing that would force these wayward theologians to think things over again.

    Holy Mary, pray for us.

  85. Barb says:

    These people have their ideas of what “true” women religious should look like and sound like, just like they
    have their own ideas of what “true” wives and mothers should look and sound like. To them women must follow their
    model or be tuned out as “irrelevant”. I am heartened to see that there are still women tuning these nutjobs
    out.

    Fiat Voluntas Tua

  86. tertullian says:

    Fr. Z wrote: “Here is the real problem…. it’s all about him.”

    My observation about people like Mr Soko and his fellow travellers is that they are incredibly selfish; not only do they feel uncomfortable with the rich traditions of the Church, they want to deny it’s glories to all others in some strange form of self-approbation.

  87. RBrown says:

    Fr Trigilio,

    It is a sad fact that most theologians like Keith Soto are simply Karl Rahner Lite.

  88. Clinton says:

    It would be interesting to know if this fellow actually has a mandatum from his ordinary to teach theology. I’ve always felt that
    if a theologian is going to make public declarations about Church teachings then we his audience deserve to know if he is in
    good standing with his bishop and has his permission to teach. It has never made sense to me that the bishops in this country
    declare that wether or not a theologian has bothered to seek a mandatum from his ordinary is a private matter between the two
    of them exclusively.

  89. Mitch says:

    This article would have flown around 1975, but no more..I would rather see the focus on the Pope and the Papacy than my neighbor who calls herself a Eucharistic Minister with a “special” function in the Church.Traditional Catholicism may have been suppressed for decades but its’ heading back towards the surface. Perhaps that is why the Church thinks in terms of centuries and not decades.(They tried that in the 60’s and it failed miserably.) On the bright side articles like this galvanize people to resist them. He may in the end do more for the channel in a good way in terms of support for their programs…His acidic views are no longer easily bought by people who have access to the net and information sources that we can learn from. I don’t have to call the Vatican and beg for a telex of Vetereum Sapientia and wait in vain for it to come, I can pull it up on the Internet and know the truth. I do not depend on the newspapers for truth anymore.

  90. Brian in Wisconsin says:

    Thank you so much to Dr. Soko for enlightening us about EWTN. Who knew that EWTN taught “outdated” theology? Then again, they teach nothing than what is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, so I guess we can throw that out, too, since it’s also obviously “outdated.” Yes, with our new “in-dated” theology courtesy of Dr. Soko, et al, we have full seminaries, full convents and monasteries, Mass attendance is up, and people know their Catholic faith better than ever. Oh wait. The United States and much of the West is a vocations wasteland. Mass attendance, by some accounts, is down to 25%, one out of every four Catholics is lapsed, a NY Times survey showed 75% believe the Eucharist is merely symbolic, and people are graduating from Catholic schools without even knowing basic prayers or the Ten Commandments. Indeed, a UCLA study said that people graduating from Catholic universities such as St. Ambrose are even less likely to practice their faith upon graduating than their secular Catholic counterparts. I’m sure, However, just sure that isn’t the fault of Dr. Soko and others who celebrate the “spirit” of Vatican II, while ignoring what the Council Fathers, John XXIII, and Paul VI actually taught. Interestingly, those places that accept the supposedly outdated theology of EWTN and the Catechism know their faith better and attend Mass more and have an overwhelmingly higher vocation rate. Yes, let’s reject the “outdated” theology of EWTN and the Catechism because smart people such as Dr. Soko know much better. Their vision of “church” (please, let’s have no articles such as “the”) is sure to lead us into a better day. Why, look what it’s done already.

  91. brian says:

    I sgree with Fr Trigilio – God bless Mother Angelica and EWTN.

    Though, permit me to make a couple of observations.

    The overall presentation can sometimes be a bit 1950s. I half expect Bing Crosby to wander on in a Roman collar, Father Chuck O’Malley style, and sing something out of Going My Way!

    Also, as a UK catholic, not all of us fully subscribe to the ‘model of church’ presented by Daphne McLeod, Joanna Bogle et al from the UK, that I have seen appearing on the network of late. I wouldn’t want US viewers to think that most UK catholics are wrapped in some type of Edwardian-Chestertonian bubble!

    Brian

    P.s I just love Web of Faith!

  92. LCB says:

    Fr. Trigilio,

    Perhaps it would be helpful if you wrote an editorial for this paper, saying similar words?

    And perhaps you could offer to send the man a free copy of Catholicism for Dummies?

  93. supertradmom says:

    Regarding the term “we are church”, revealing a heretical, Protestant concept of a gathering of people under no authority whatsoever, and used by Mr. Soko, I would add that this term is used regularly in the said Diocese of Davenport by many priests in many parishes. The seminary training either has been deficient, or the ongoing education of priests dominated by liberals. Also, just to add fire to the flames, the condemned “liberation theology” is alive and well among Iowa Catholics.

  94. Mitch says:

    I have had a Catholicism professor who says much of the same thing, she also doen’t like the Council of Trent and says it is because of the quorum issues but really she just doesnt like the councils fruits and sees the Spirit of VII as the medicine to fix Trent… lol

    She is a sweet lady though and I keep trying to convince her of traditional worship and theology, she is an Aquinas Scholar too… it confuses me, but cause it seems to me that would make her more traditional but alas no.

    Gloss bless Mother Angelica and all her work. Ya know she is one of 4 women who is recognized as having sucsessfully used single camera angle filming and not bored people away. Another person who did this the the star to of I Love Lucy Lucille Ball. That was the interesting fact of the day in my Western Civ. Class. Kudos to Fr. Maher for that.

  95. Jacob says:

    supertradmom, I’m interested in your experiences. May I have your email address?

    Go to my blog, leave a comment and I’ll moderate it.

  96. mpm says:

    “What’s ironic, though, is that it promotes this top-heavy, clerical model
    in a time when […] educated Catholics are leaving the church […].

    What’s really ironic is that he is an educator of those “Catholics who are
    leaving the church”…

  97. Fr. J says:

    Sounds like the professor is jealous. EWTN is a post-Vatican II phenomena. Many who appear on it were born after the Council. It provides excellent programming that appeals to a broad range of people. Author Anne Rice enjoyed watching it and it helped her come back to the Church. If he thinks he can do a better job then let’s see him do it.
    Fr. J

  98. Mark R says:

    I don’t doubt the orthodoxy of EWTN…however it is presenting, to a large extent, the Catholic Church through a Mother Angelica colored lense. Unfortunately, this perpetuates a “sister says” approact to Catholicism that I would have been more uncomfortable with in the ’50s.
    It would appear, nay, be more magisterial if a priest or bishop had been the brain behind the operation…but I guess the good Mother stepped up to the plate when no one else would who would have been blessed as much as she in her endeavor.

  99. Richard says:

    SO EWTN “largely ignores the role of most female religious orders and the laity”?

    This is the station founded by a nun and now run by an entirely lay Board?

    Who is it that “wouldn’t know, for example, that most Catholic … institutions are run by lay Catholics”

  100. ken says:

    His “new” Church leads to “no” Church; which is what he wants. What are the fruits of his “new” Church? Parish closings, no vocations, apathy to Church teachings. This man, school, and diocese need our prayers; they are being greatly influenced by the demonic.

  101. Al says:

    This infuriates me to no end. How long do we have to put up with these usurpers. I’m tired of the nuanced arguments. IT IS TIME TO REMOVE THESE A-Holes from their positions…forever. GET THEM OUT. PURGE. We have creeping Atheistic Marxism affecting all aspects of society, education, media, government…

    KICK HIM OUT!

  102. Amy P. says:

    “Outdated view of Catholicism/the Church” = codespeak for “a station that still follows the teachings of the Church.”

    You hear this all the time from theologically liberal types. If they don’t get to remake Catholicism to resemble anything and everything BUT Catholicism, they’re not happy and we’re “outdated”…

  103. irishgirl says:

    What an ‘overeducated’ idiot this ‘Dr’ is…sheesh…

    Ha ha, Fr. Erik-horse’s [behind] indeed!

    Suko ought to be put into a room with Fr. Erik, Fr. Triglio, and Fr. Corapi….then watch the sparks fly!
    Smackdown!

    And I’m with you, Al…throw these ‘professors’ out!

  104. RBrown says:

    What an ‘overeducated’ idiot this ‘Dr’ is…sheesh…
    Comment by irishgirl

    His comments indicate that he is undereducated.

    A Pontifical degrees in theology from the Angelicum requires a much more thorough study of theology than the normal BA, MA, and PhD.

    For example:

    A BA in theology or religion from an American University requires 30+ credit hours in theology or religious studies. The Bachelor’s in Theology (STB) from the Angelicum requires about 108 credit hours in theology, and it is intensively done–in three years.

    Most US Seminaries grant a Master’s either in Theology or Divinity. The MDiv will require about a third of what is required for the Bachelor’s at the Angelicum. Unless there have been serious changes, the MA in theology from a US seminary will require about 50% of what is required for a Bachelor’s from the Angelicum

  105. Steven says:

    I’m a Catholic in the Davenport diocese and my experience outside of my hometown of Iowa City has been less than stellar. Our city (with the exception of one parish) is very traditional and conservative. The previous bishop, however, made a point of only hiring seminarians who held to his extremely liberal views. I know of one priest who asked our bishop to become a priest in the diocese but was turned down for being too conservative. The current bishop is much better, but he is still very liberal. We have a large V2 population of priests and almost no younger priests to take their place. Thankfully all the young priests I’ve met are very orthodox, so the future is looking bright (if over-taxed). We even have TLM now! Pray for us, and for the city of Iowa City, the per capita abortion capital of the United States, and home of the first abortion clinic built after Roe v Wade.

  106. Northeast Catholic H.S. alumnus says:

    I wonder how many vocations have come out of St. Ambrose College during Soko’s tenure as director of the Theology Department. My guess is none. I bet he doesn’t care for Catholic Answers (catholic.com), and it is entirely lay run. I don’t think the image presented is a real concern for him. He wants Catholic theology to change to suit him. That doesn’t make intelligent; that makes him a nacissist.

  107. Gerald Zimmerman says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,
    You have made a major error by proclaiming, “People watch what the want to watch.” The cable companies choose what’s available, and Mediacom has decided that Catholics in southern Illinois shouldn’t watch EWTN. [You don’t have to watch cable at all.]

    Catholics in neighboring towns such as Pinckneyville, DuQuoin, Nashville and most any town served by others have access to EWTN. Those of us in Marion, Murphysboro, Carbondale or any of our company’s other towns have found out that Catholics have been placed at the bottom of Mediacom’s priorities. I have incorrectly been told I am the only one requesting this channel. I have been told that a channel that does not charge for carriage would be too expensive. I have been told that too little channel space is available, even though more choices for Pay Per View and Video on Demand adult movies are added. I have heard that that religious programming is the last choice for the cable industry in general. [Market forces are at work, inter alia.]

    Gerald Zimmerman, Carbondale, IL
    cyberkotic@yahoo.com

  108. Peter says:

    Soko got it right. EWTN makes Catholocism look ridiculous. [And you are sure that it is EWTN that makes “Catholocism” look ridiculous?]

  109. Chalotte says:

    That Rev Ray Dubuque trolled into my blog with the same comments and video links. What’s his axe to grind?

  110. Mike says:

    Time to make a donation to EWTN.