1993 – 30 years ago when Mother Angelica declared war

I am stretching back into my memory for how this all worked.

In 1993 John Paul II went to Denver for World Youth Day  There were Stations of the Cross, mimed, in which a woman depicted Christ.  Mother Angelica of EWTN had a long and frosty cold melt down which was tantamount to a declaration of war.

That was then.  Then it became impossible to get that video, which was deep-sixed for a long time.  Eventually, a priest friend got hold of a copy (I don’t know how) and he sent it to me, saying, “I can’t post this, but maybe you can.”  I did.  Then that version got yanked.

In any event.  Enough people got it so that it wasn’t a secret.

I challenge you to watch this and think about our own times.  Today the “inclusive language” B as in B S as in S is still going on but not like it was.  Enneagrams?   Still around.  Centering prayer?  Still summons demons.  Etc.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Benedict Joseph says:

    You are getting old, Father, it wasn’t twenty years ago but thirty, even though it does feel like yesterday. I remember it well, I had just come in from work and there she was! If only she were with us in temporal existence today…she would have a lot of work to do.

  2. acardnal says:

    And don’t forget those pesky labyrinths are still around, too.

  3. redneckpride4ever says:

    To paraphrase a famous pro wrestler…

    “And that’s the bottom line because Mother Angelica said so!”

  4. Ms. M-S says:

    Oh, thanks, Fr. Z! I was lucky enough to see it live when Mother “went ballistic” (in the words of Father Benedict G at the time). I had the tape but it went out on loan so often that it got worn out and perhaps expired because I never got it back from the last loan. This, among other things, is the reason I add “and Mother Angelica as well” to the morning Prayer for Priests.

  5. sevensixtwo187 says:

    I sure do miss her. What a magnificent and holy woman! We sure could use her temporal presence right now.

  6. ajf1984 says:

    I am so grateful that Mother reached that tipping point 30 years ago and that she had the courage to stand up and proclaim “No more!” She, along with EWTN, was instrumental in my formation as a Catholic and I know many priests who credit her witness and her network with helping them understand and love their faith and discern God’s call to the priesthood. I firmly believe that Mother was united with Our Lord and with that “saintly man” to whom she referred in this video and who she tirelessly defended throughout his life, our Holy Father Pope St. John Paul II, when she passed from this life to the next 7 years ago. Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, Poor Clare, pray for us!

  7. ex seaxe says:

    You are probably no fan of Fr Anthony de Mello SJ, but may like his reaction to some earnest proponents of the eneagram “Yes, you are so right – but – are you quite sure it is nine and not perhaps ten and a half.”

  8. Kathleen10 says:

    Her biography is really good, the one by Raymond Arroyo. As a woman, I felt a lot of pride in her accomplishments, it was all so completely unlikely. She really did something unique, not like many of the things that get touted today. She had no background in communication or radio, and walked into a studio and just said, I’ve got to have one of these. And then did it. A huge gamble. She did it. And the bishops gave her such a hard time, out of pure jealousy, sad to say. Oh, she was quite a woman. A pioneer when that word meant something.
    I remember that day as well. She was heated! She’d had enough, and we cheered. What Mother Angelica did, and the faith she brought to her television station, changed lives, including mine. God bless her soul. Pray for us if you can, Mother, we’re in a lot of trouble down here.

  9. Sevens Dad says:

    With all due respect to everyone on this site (including Father)…

    for all the japing and ridiculing by posters that goes on about V2 on this site and others like it, which is it? Was V2 an indefectibly holy council or not? Mother Angelica sure thought so. I am honestly surprised you linked this video, Father Z. I figured EWTN wasn’t orthodox enough for most that frequent this site. [So that’s an admission of… rash judgment?]

    For what it’s worth, I’m not happy at the state of the NO Mass in many places. I’m not happy with the implementation of the V2 documents. Don’t get me started on the Synod or the German Bishops. I will not attend the Mass time at which the “contemporary choir” provides music at Mass because I can’t stand that music. And yes, I am heartbroken by Pope Francis’ recent motu proprio Traditionis Custodes. It’s cruel; malicious maybe.

    On another note…

    Did St. Pope John Paul II know this was going to happen at WYD 1993? I find it hard to believe he wouldn’t have known, but it’s possible. Did he make a statement about it? What was the fallout from that terrible decision to allow the Fountain Street Fools (Folsom Street?) to blaspheme Our Lord?

  10. bookworm says:

    I was at WYD with a diocesan pilgrimage group, and was there at Mile High Stadium for the Stations in question, but never noticed that the person portraying Christ was a woman (we were way up in the nosebleed section seats and I’m rather nearsighted). I had no idea until I saw Mother’s epic rant. At the time I thought she was overreacting but time has proven her right.

  11. acardnal says:

    Isn’t it about time that her cause for sainthood be opened? I suppose there are too many of her enemies in the episcopate that are resisting that.

  12. hwriggles4 says:

    Fr. Z:

    Thanks for posting this. I was invited to WYD 1993 because I was in college. I was a returning undergrad at 27 so I didn’t know if I was considered a “youth”. Anyway I was interning that summer and wasn’t able to get away but one of my buddies from the Catholic Student Center went and he is now a priest in the Austin diocese.

    Around 2008 I read Raymond Arroyo’s book (I met him at EWTN 25 in 2006) and yes, Mother Angelica was very upset about some of the events that occurred at WYD 1993. I also found it humorous that Mother Angelica oftentimes did her most fruitful work “on the fly”.

    In relation to 1993 I am embarrassed to say now that in the early 2000s I helped with youth ministry and we would make hand motions with some of the songs and come up onto the altar during the consecration.

    There is also a good story in her biography about how in the 1980s she took on several bishops pertaining to communications. Mother Angelica was much more effective with catechesis than several clergymen and did it with much less money too.

  13. So powerful and moving. Mother Angelica, pray for us.

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