Mother Angelica - Founding of EWTN

Founding of EWTN

In the mid-1970s, Angelica began making videotaped programs for television and taping a Catholic teaching series for CBS affiliate Channel 42 WBMG (now WIAT). Shortly afterward, Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network got interest in airing her program over his satellite network CBN (now ABC Family Channel). Additionally, Christian television WCFC 38 (now WCPX) out of Chicago began airing her program in 1977. In the late 1970s, WBMG was scheduled to air a controversial movie from the CBS Network. Angelica refused to continue producing shows at that station unless they chose to preempt it. WBMG refused, so she ended the show temporarily and soon began building her own cable channel.

In 1980, a garage behind the monastery was converted into a television studio. Angelica was then able to tape her programs without leaving the monastery. They continued to air on various Christian stations while she began planning to buy satellite space to launch her own Catholic Cable channel. After many problems and glitches, Angelica signed on her cable channel on August 15, 1981, and named it Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). This service aired via satellite to cable companies and home satellite dishes as it still does today.

Initially, EWTN was on the air from 7 pm to 12 midnight daily. EWTN televised mass weekly, Mother Angelica Live (a talk show), Catholic shows produced from various Catholic groups, children's Christian programs, Life Is Worth Living with Bishop Sheen, praying of the rosary, Lutheran dramas like This Is the Life, public domain movies, cooking shows, and a few 1950s westerns. Angelica was frequently seen on the network teaching or taking questions from viewers via telephone. She hosted the "Mother Angelica Live" television program which aired on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

EWTN expanded to 12 hours a day in 1985 and 24 hours a day in 1987. By 1986, EWTN phased out the secular programs and began airing only religious programming. In 1991, EWTN began running the mass every day. In 1992, Angelica also founded WEWN to broadcast Catholic programs worldwide via short-wave radio. In 1992, EWTN began mixing Latin into some parts of the mass, which is still done today. On Christmas of 1993, Mother Angelica and her nuns began dressing in a more traditional habit and veil, including the wimple. The theming of the channel began to focus more on Catholic traditions and began to be perceived as less ecumenical.

EWTN has become a voice for American conservative and traditional Catholics, with its position on religious and social issues often mirroring that of Pope John Paul II. With the emphasis on tradition, Angelica has had feuds with some members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Most famous is the feud over a pastoral letter written by Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles over teachings surrounding the Eucharist and the liturgy. After this dispute, EWTN added a large theology department with conservative priests, theologians, deacons, and lay people to make sure EWTN is in line with the teachings of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.

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