The Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) – a conservative Catholic broadcaster – has been plunged into a Twitter war over alleged attacks on Pope.
The row was sparked by South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, who blasted EWTB’s Raymond Arroyo for negatively reporting on the Pope – and he went so far as to compare Arroyo to the late Ian Paisley, Northern Ireland’s firebrand anti-papist who founded the Free Presbyterian Church of Ireland – and a man who branded Pope John Paul II as “the anti-Christ”.
Paisley, who snuffed it in 2014, also famously launched a campaign to “Save Ulster from Sodomy!”
In a tweet this week, Napier – the former Archbishop of Durban – said Arroyo’s “The World Over” programme:
Is like a throwback to the 1960’s & 70’s, when Ian Paisley & his ilk fulminated against Catholic Faith in general, & Pope in particular! I’ve still to hear a programme that doesn’t report negatively on or attack Pope Francis!
Arroya used Twitter to hit back, saying that he had been advised by Mother Angelica, the founder EWTN, that he had an obligation to tell the truth, no matter how others responded.
American author Amy Welborn told the cardinal that “name-calling” and “guilt-by-association” aren’t “authentic dialogue. She tweeted:
Perhaps it would be more helpful and elevate the level of online discourse if you addressed specific points and criticisms raised in the program. This mode of ‘arguing’ by name-calling or guilt-by-association isn’t authentic dialogue – which I thought was our goal – in any sense.
And English blogger Laurence England insisted that EWTN was doing its duty whereas the Cardinal was not.
I am yet to go a week without Pope Francis wrecking Christ’s Church without Cardinal Napier’s support. EWTN are just doing their duty AS YOU DO NOT DO YOURS.
In another tweet, Colombian priest Fr. Carlos Vargas referred to the reasons why EWTN has questioned some of Pope Francis’ decisions.
When the Pope’s words cause confusion in the Church, and when his actions denote a disregard for the sex abuse crisis in the US, you may call that ‘negative reporting’. Others call it the truth.
Other Catholics told the Cardinal that they did not think his tweet was worthy of his office.
Steven Hunter, a married father in Ohio, tweeted:
It’s highly inappropriate for a Prince of the Church to single out one Catholic by name on social media for this sort of criticism, even more so since the criticism is unfounded. This pope has been a font of ambiguity and confusion, and I’m glad @RaymondArroyo is calling it out.