“I personally deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner, but the Church does not deserve them. They are the work of the devil.”
Pope Francis has issued a thinly veiled criticism of the U.S.-based Eternal Word Television Network, known as EWTN, saying that while he may be worthy of personal scrutiny, the church does not deserve attacks such as those regularly made by the station.
“There is, for example, a large Catholic television channel that has no hesitation in continually speaking ill of the pope,” said Francis. “I personally deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner, but the Church does not deserve them. They are the work of the devil. I have also said this to some of them.”
The pope’s comments came during a Sept. 12 meeting with Jesuits during his Sept. 12-15 visit to Slovakia. His remarks were published by the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica on Sept. 21.
In recent years, EWTN, which is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama and is one of the Catholic Church’s largest media enterprises, has become known for its regular antagonistic coverage of Pope Francis and partisan political focus. No other Catholic media conglomerate has regularly featured such open criticism of Francis.
Most notably, host Raymond Arroyo has regularly promoted and interviewed the schismatic former papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Viganò has previously called for Pope Francis’ resignation.
Arroyo also regularly hosts a “papal posse” of commentators known for their anti-Francis views, including Fr. Gerald Murray, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, and author Robert Royal.