Several things are in order:
First, a quick update: Gloria Purvis, a faithful sister and Catholic who has done and said nothing wrong as the host of Morning Glory was first selected for persecution and punishment in June by the Guadalupe Radio Network for speaking out as a Black Catholic against the sin of racism. Their phony charge? She had a “spirit of contention”.
Remember. These are the same sort of people who say, “We don’t care how many liberals we offend speaking Catholic TRVTH about abortion! We must obey God rather than men!” But when the offense is to white racists, all of a sudden the prattle is about how God is a God of peace and Black Catholics speaking about our 400 year old legacy of racism need to take a seat. So GRN silenced her with this “spirit of contention” baloney because they couldn’t point to a word she said that was actually contrary to the gospel. “Spirits” of this and that are wonderfully ghostly code words for “She was uppity” and “She made us uncomfortable”.
Meawhile, EWTN kept her on through the Summer of Protest because, while their MAGA donor base loathes all discussion of racism, it appears they did not want to draw too much attention to that. But now that Christmas break is here, protests are quelled by winter, everybody is distracted by the holidays, pandemic, and Trump’s assault on democracy, they can finally do what their MAGA donors demand and shut her up. So out she goes to be replaced by nice safe white ladies. What message does that send to every black Catholic in America? EWTN does not seem to care. It is really a Catholic network first anymore. It is a Trump network with smells and bells who purpose is to help its base of MAGA Catholics accessorize their politics with bits and pieces of Catholic aesthetics and those bits of Catholic teaching convenient to that ideology. This is why Raymond Arroyo can spend years on EWTN telling viewers that the grave intrinsic evil of torture is something they can support, whatever Evangelium Vitae says. The Bush torture regime demanded it and he delivered, Magisterium be damned. It’s why he can spend the pontificate of Francis cattily attacking him as a crypto-heretic, giving aid and comfort to those who assaulted Amazonian Catholics as pagan idolators, and giving copious space to Vigano’s false claims about Francis and his screams for his resignation–all while facing no challenge from EWTN and continuing to be held out as their Golden Boy. But let Gloria Purvis speak the truth about the sin of racism and this was highly inconvenient to that project, faithful, orthodox, and pious though she be.
Which brings me to my second point. Dawn Eden Goldstein did something yesterday that made me proud:
And I am happy to see that it is catching on:
I hope others involved with the EWTN Empire will do the same and the donors of conscience will stop supporting this network. Michael Warsaw, if you are listening, I demand you take down every one of my appearances in the archives on Mother Angelica Live, the Journey Home, The Apostle of Common Sense, Jeff Cavins’ show, Bookmarks, Johnette Benkovic’s show, “The Surprise”, and Franciscan University Presents. Same with your radio franchise. Take them all off the air. I object strongly to having my name associated with a network that now promotes persecution of a sister in Christ for no cause other than speaking the truth of the gospel about race in America.
Finally, I urge every Catholic to read Dawn Eden Goldstein’s work on how Mammon has corrupted the work of EWTN. Here’s an excerpt, but read the whole thing:
EWTN’s firing of radio host Gloria Purvis this week further exposed what many observers have already known about the international Catholic media network: partisan politics plays an outsize role in determining which voices are heard there and which ones are silenced. In the words of Christopher Lamb, “it is Fox News under a Catholic cover.”
To better understand what has happened to EWTN and, by extension, to the mainstream of the pro-life Catholic nonprofit world—a world I was part of for many years as an employee of the Cardinal Newman Society and Americans United for Life, and as a frequent EWTN guest—I did a deep-dive into the finances of one of its major donors, Frank J. Hanna III. What I discovered should concern every Catholic and particularly those who, like myself, are appalled by how the Catholic pro-life movement—whose goal of ending abortion I fully support—has been hijacked by people who elevate Trump while deriding the Holy Father.
A Fortune Made Through Subprime Credit Cards
Frank J. Hanna, a close associate of Napa Institute founder Tim Busch (with whom he serves on several boards, including Napa’s) and a longtime friend and donor to Newt Gingrich, is one of the richest men in Atlanta. His fortune in 2005 was worth more than $500 million; today it is worth perhaps twice as much.
One can gain an idea of Hanna’s philanthropic interests by looking at the boards on which he has served. In addition to EWTN and the Napa Institute, Hanna’s current or recent board memberships include the Acton Institute, Catholic University of America, EWTN, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Federalist Society, the Papal Foundation, the Pontifical North American College, and Sophia Institute Press (publisher of Taylor Marshall’s anti-Francis conspiracy screed Infiltration).
Hanna is not known for simply signing checks and letting his recipients call the shots. According to a 2007 profile in Philanthropy magazine, he has a strong reputation for hands-on involvement:
Hanna began his career as a corporate attorney before entering the financial world in the late 1980s as an executive at Nationwide Credit, which was founded by his father. He and his brother David in 1996 founded CompuCredit, a financial company that offered subprime credit cards to consumers who had poor credit ratings.
In 2008, the U.S. government charged CompuCredit with deceptive marketing. The company agreed to provide $114 million in restitution to consumers, without admitting wrongdoing. It changed its name in 2012 to Atlanticus. Today Hanna is no longer part of its leadership, though he remains a major shareholder in the company.
The Solidarity Association: Donating to the Legion of Christ and Beyond
Hanna began to exert his monetary influence in the Catholic world in the early 1990s through his involvement with the Legion of Christ and its lay movement Regnum Christi, which he continues to support through donations to such Legion-associated organizations as Divine Mercy University, the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, and the Lumen Institute. (He made the news in 1999 when he was a key figure in the Legion’s hostile takeover of the Donnellan School, a private, independent Catholic school in Atlanta.)
The main philanthropic organ that Hanna uses to make his donations is the Solidarity Association. He founded it as an Association of the Christian Faithful by decree of Archbishop John Francis Donoghue in the early 2000s to fund the now-defunct Solidarity School. At its peak in the late 2000s, the Solidarity School gave an English-language immersion education to about ninety children from Spanish-speaking households whose parents “mostly [worked] in construction or fast food, as maids, or [as] day laborers.”
Today, the Solidarity Association’s website states that the nonprofit gives ongoing support to more than two dozen Catholic nonprofits, including not only EWTN and FOCUS but also the Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business (to which Hanna gave $250,000 in 2015).
The Solidarity Association is highly unusual among U.S. Catholic foundations that give to multiple recipients (as opposed to supporting a single hospital or school), in that it does not make its financial information public. Apart from the list of donation recipients that it provides on its website, its activities are completely opaque.
How can a Catholic nonprofit operate so darkly? Isn’t it required by law to report its donations as well as other details such as its board members and assets? To understand how the Solidarity Association evades scrutiny of its finances, it is necessary to take a brief excursion into the peculiarities of U.S. tax law for religious nonprofits.
Much, much more. Follow the money. EWTN is doing the Church far more harm than good. Don’t give it another nickel.