Mother Angelica Honored by Pope Benedict XVI

I picked this up from

Mother Angelica Honored by Pope Benedict XVI

The Alabama nun who founded EWTN is being recognized by Pope Benedict XVI.

Mother Mary Angelica was given the Cross of Honor, which is the highest honor a pope can give.

The cross honors those for their distinguished service to the Roman Catholic Church.

The 68-year old Mother Angelica founded EWTN back in 1981 in Birmingham.  [not… 86 year old?]

It’s now called the world’s largest religious media network.



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  1. ssoldie says:

    I would love to have been a little mouse in the rectory of Cardinal MaHoeny in L.A. when this news came in. She was given the Cross of Honor, and I was hoping he would get his walking papers at the same time, Oh well! At a time when we didn’t have Shepherd’s to lead us in TRUTH, God gave us a wonderful shepherdess, Mother Angelica. She also taught us the power of prayer, and acceptence of God’s will in our lives.

  2. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Having just finished Raymond Arroyo’s book on Mother Angelica, I was overjoyed to see this. Mother has been treated roughly by some in the American hierarchy. Although Mother has been supported by many clerics and those in the hierarchy, there are some who unjustly tried to ‘take her down’.

    This is ‘awesome’ as Mother herself might say!

    I wish this honor had been conferred sooner.

  3. TNCath says:

    Congratulations to this wonderful witness for the Church.

    We now have good, solid coverage of all things Catholic from Mother A. to Father Z!

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    This award was announced by Bishop Robert Baker (Birmingham) at the Benediction service he celebrated at the Shrine on Sunday. As I write this at 3 pm EDT Tuesday 10/6/2009, the encore telecast is now showing on EWTN. The next encore will be telecast at 3:30 am Thursday, Thursday 10/8/2009.

    Additional information from LifeSiteNews:

    IRONDALE, AL, October 5, 2009 ( – Pope Benedict XVI has awarded EWTN foundress, Mother Mary Angelica, and Deacon Bill Steltemeier, Chairman of EWTN’s Board of Governors, the Cross of Honor for distinguished service to the Church. The medal, officially known as “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” (literally “For the Church and the Pope”), is the highest honor that the Pope can bestow upon laity and religious.

    The acknowledgement of Mother Angelica’s work by the Pope is highly significant in light of high profile criticism that the EWTN foundress has sustained over her unwavering fidelity to the faith. Mother Angelica had to endure crushing criticism and even attempts to take over her station by various left-leaning Catholic bishops in the United States.

    As Catholic League President Bill Donohue wrote in a 2005 review of Raymond Arroyo’s nationally best-selling book on Mother Angelica, some bishops actively fought EWTN at its inception.

    “Indeed, the bishops tried to outdo her by launching their own effort, the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America (CTNA). It was clear from the beginning that Mother Angelica was seen as a threat: EWTN had a traditional orientation and CTNA took a modernist stance. EWTN won. CTNA collapsed.”

    Donohue added: “Mother Angelica did not take kindly to those clerics who questioned her authority to showcase some bishops, but not others. ‘I happen to own the network,’ she instructed. When told that this would not be forever, she let loose: ‘I’ll blow the damn thing up before you get your hands on it.’”

  5. Phil says:

    This is just the sort of thing I would love to shove in the face of our new Archbishop of New Orleans who had Mother Angelica banned while he was Bishop of Austin, TX. Also our Pastor who thinks that Mother Angelica is dangerous. But alas, charity must prevail…

  6. Fr. John Mary says:

    Mother Angelica: what a woman of God!
    I am privileged to have given her a blessing two years ago when she was seeing pilgrims at the grille in the Monastery ‘speak room’ in Hanceville after I had attended the EWTN Family gathering in Birmingham…her fidelity to Christ and His Church is outstanding. May God give her every grace and blessing.

  7. DarkKnight says:

    I wish it had come when Mother could have been present.

  8. Father J says:

    GOOD to see this! Ad multos annos!

  9. 4mercy says:


    I sincerely believe that Mother Angelica (close to) single handedly saved the faith in the US. I know she sure helped mine to bloom!

    Thank you Most Holy Trinity for giving us Mother Angelica and EWTN!

  10. I would also like to see Cardinal Mahoney’s face. This is right up there with Pope John Paul II’s gift of a monstrance to Mother Angelica during that miserable time.

  11. Sandy says:

    Saw this yesterday and must admit, I had the same thought about a certain Cardinal M!! I also remember when the Holy Father JP II sent Mother a gorgeous monstrance. She has been vindicated, certainly. I miss her presence, her solid teaching and loyalty to the Church, and her marvelous humor! God bless you, Mother. Yes, she certainly did much to restore the Faith for many all over the world.

  12. ckdexterhaven says:

    What a great honor! I love Raymond Arroyo’s biography about her. She is a real American success story. Only in America could a fatherless little girl accomplish what she has. (Of course, with Jesus leading her, guiding her all the way). Surprised there hasn’t been a movie made about her!

  13. Hartmeister says:

    Does anyone know if the medal was given motu pro prio or was upon petition (for instance from Bishop Robert Baker)? I would assume that it came from petition from Bishop Baker since most are given upon petition and Bishop Baker gave it to her personally.

    I have no idea of how many Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice are given each year but I would also say that we should hardly infer that this was meant as some sort of put down of anyone else.

    From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    “Pontifical decorations are bestowed either by motu pro prio, and then forwarded by the secretary of state, or upon petition, when they are expedited through the chancery. The most certain and expeditious mode of procuring the coveted decoration is by a petition from the bishop of the diocese of the person to be honoured. The petition must state the name, age, country, in short, a brief history of the life of the applicant, bringing out in relief the eminent labours or work in science, literature, arts, controversial or other religious writings, or generous and self-sacrificing gifts or endowments made or done for society, the Church or its head, which are deemed worthy of papal recognition and reward. This petition must be endorsed by the ordinary of the applicant. The endorsement of another than the diocesan bishop will not suffice. The petition is sent to an agent at Rome, who presents it to the cardinal chancellor of the orders, who not only registers the petition and the endorsement of it by the bishop, but also seeks information from other sources as to the character of the party and his eminent good works.”

    So in order to receive this probably both Bishop Baker and whomever is Mother Angelica’s ordinary and I have no idea whom that is. It could be Cardinal Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, if Mother Angelica is still head her order or if there ordinary to the Poor Clares in particular it could be that person.

    In other words the only thing that we can infer unless we know who approved her petition is that someone thinks that Mother Angelica has done a career of service to the Church and that nobody in the Vatican felt obliged to say otherwise.

  14. JohnE says:

    “born Rita Antoinette Rizzo on April 20, 1923)” — yes, 86.

  15. Henry Edwards says:

    When Mother Angelica was under severe attack by certain U.S. prelates who actively sought some kind of Vatican censure when she declined to knuckle under to them, her powerful advocate and defender in Rome was one Cardinal Ratzinger, who has long held her contributions to Church and Faith in high regard, and evidently still does.

  16. anthtan says:

    The EWTN web site has more info, including video of the presentation of the honor:

  17. JARay says:

    Well I value EWTN greatly. The whole Church has been blessed by Mother Angelica’s contribution. Her award is richly deserved.

  18. Dr. Eric says:

    Her work has at least been fruitful six-fold (my little family.) My metanoia came from watching EWTN when I was in my early 20s. My wife was baptized, confirmed and received the Holy Eucharist on Holy Saturday and we were married one week after. We now have 4 beautiful children. If it wasn’t for Mother answering Our Lord’s call to go to Alabama and start a network, who knows what would have happened to me, my wife and whether or not our children would have even been born.

    NO ONE, gets to bad mouth Mother Angelica around me, NO ONE!

  19. Dr. Eric says:

    So, Multos Annos Mother Angelica, and congratulations!

  20. Central Valley says:

    Cardinal Mahony and the USCCB can now eat crow. Those men and all their alleged “power” could not come close to what the poor crippled nun could do. The american bishops showed up by a faithful nun. I am sure Papa Ratzi did not hesitate signing the documents for this. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall in the office of the Cardinal of Los Angeles as he heard the news. The Holy Father should give Mothder the title of Defender of the Faith and have Mahony make that presentation.

  21. If the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice is for the great ones like Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill, is there a “Razzie Award” type for the likes of Richard McBrien and Cardinal Mahony?

  22. Navarricano says:

    DEO GRATIA! This is just wonderful. I have been a fan of Mother Angelica for around 25 years. I first heard of her in the early 80s when I was a young convert, and she and EWTN have helped so much to sustain and nourish my faith over the years. She is a lioness when it comes to defending the Faith!


  23. tioedong says:

    We get EWTN on our cable network here in the rural Philippines.

  24. Fr. Steve says:

    “The Holy Father should give Mothder the title of Defender of the Faith and have Mahony make that presentation.”

    I second that comment.
    Long live Mother Angelica!
    This page is proof that she is the mother of many souls.

  25. Prof. Basto says:

    Well… Actually, the Cross of Honor is not the highest award the Pope can give in the ecclesiastical honours system.

    Admission to the Supreme Military Order of Our Lord Jesus Christ a.k.a the Order of Christ (the pontifical one, not to be confused with the Portuguese order, that has the same roots), is the highest award in the Church’s decoration system. But the order is currently reserved (by decision of Pope Paul VI) to membership by Catholic monarchs. The last member of the pontifical Order of Our Lord Jesus Christ was King Baudouin of the Belgians. Since his death in 1993, the Order has been dormant. It hasn’t been abolished, and the Pope remains Sovereign of the Order, but it has no members.

    BUT KUDOS TO MOTHER ANGELICA ANYWAY!! She received an important award, a high award, and she deserved it.

  26. Thomas S says:

    Prof. Basto,

    Any chance of King Juan Carlos being admitted to the Order? I’ve always admired the man. Something impressive about a King who is so quick to kiss the ring of a bishop (something protocol does not call for – except if he happens to be the one from Rome).

  27. Supertradmom says:

    This will, hopefully, silence the priests in my old diocese, who openly criticize EWTN from the pulpit as “out of touch” with the majority of Catholics and “fringe”. Really, I have heard this, as many people have, in a large parish, from more than one priest, including two professors at the local “Catholic” college, who have been openly hostile to Mother Angelica. Thanks to the Holy Father for these honors.

  28. chironomo says:

    To those who have called her “Loony” or “Wacky”, Ultra “-right”, “-conservative”, “-orthodox”, or whatever…. (put thumb on nose and wiggle fingers)…ppppplllttt!!

  29. JoAnna says:

    Wonderful news!

  30. Steve K. says:

    God bless Mother Angelica, Deacon Bill and the rest of the EWTN team! It is good to Mother getting such richly deserved recognition from the Holy See. EWTN accounts for about 80% of the TV I watch – it is chock full of excellent programming (especially Christ in the City, my favorite show). She has done so much for the faith, and is an excellent example of what one person armed with faith can do. She is the modern successor to those saints we know in the Middle Ages who founded great religious orders starting with nothing but divine inspiration.

  31. irishgirl says:

    I met Mother Angelica in 1998, when I went on a three-day group pilgrimage from Upstate NY. It was just months after she was able to walk on her own, without crutches or leg braces. I shook her hand when she walked into the studio for her live show, and I have some photos of her with me and the members of my group-we gave her a big container of Italian cookies!

    I was still in the Third Order Discalced Carmelites at the time, and so when I shook her hand I said, ‘The Carmelite greets the Franciscan!’

    Oh, I would have liked to have a fly on the wall when Cardinal Mahony read the news of the Holy Father’s award to Mother! The cardinal must have been gnashing his teeth!

    Yeah, Central Valley-Mahony and the USCCB can eat crow! And I second your thought about Mother Angelica being named Defender of the Faith!

    Long Live EWTN!

  32. Prof. Basto says:


    Only the Pope can decide that.

    I too would love to see the Order of Christ “restored” again.

    However, I don’t know if King Juan Carlos has risen to the same level in terms of display of Catholic fidelity as the late King of the Belgians.

    When the Belgian Parliament passed a law allowing abortion King Baudouin placed his Catholic Faith above constitutional convention and public displayed his disgust for the political decision.

    In fact, King Baudouin refused to sign the bill into law — he couldn’t refuse Royal Assent because that would violate the essential norms of a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy — but he wouldn’t sign it either (and there was no provision in the Constitution for this “omission” to sign to be overriden). So, an impasse was created. The solution found by the politicians was to declare the King temporarily unable to rule. Then, the bill was signed into law and the King was declared no longer incapable of discharging the duties of Head of State. Thus, a strong signal was issued regarding the monarch’s opposition to the evil of abortion, and he refused to take any part in legalizing it.

    For such a corageous and uncommon attitude, the late King of the Belgians showed that he deserved membership in the Order of Christ. I’m sure King Juan Carlos is privately a devout Catholic, and he lets it show in public by kissing the hands of Bishops (which wouldn’t be necessary, because as a Catholic monarch he would only have to kiss the hands of the Pope and his legates, being kind of equivalent in precedence to a Cardinal), but as King, he hasn’t displayed his Catholicity to the same degree, I think.

  33. Fr. John Mary says:

    irish girl: great story!
    I think C. Mahoney has a lot on his mind these days…funny how God works this out, no?

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