Behind the Scenes of EWTN’s Must-See Documentary: “In the Name of Miracles”

Pope John Paul II, the Divine Mercy Pope, blesses Maureen and Bob Digan. Maureen was healed of Milroy’s lymphedema after her husband felt led to take her to St. Faustina’s tomb to pray for healing. That miracle resulted in the beatification of the Polish sister who is now known as the Apostle of Divine Mercy!

Filmmakers know a story when they hear it. So when Filmmaker/Producer Elizabeth Wilda was asked to meet with Maureen and Bob Digan, she immediately agreed. After all, as Sister Ruth McGoldrick of the Sisters of Providence had explained to her, Maureen Digan, who suffered from Milroy’s lymphedema, had been cured after praying in front of St. Faustina’s tomb at the behest of her husband Bob. In addition, after that same visit, her invalid son Bobby was partially healed.

However, for a filmmaker, a good story is only one part of the equation. As she delved into it, Wilda quickly realized that, from a worldly perspective, the decision to film Maureen and Bob Digan’s story was, well, “nuts.” At least that’s what Wilda’s husband told her.

Bob & Maureen Digan

For one thing, Wilda had a busy full-time job at the University of Massachusetts, where she had already filmed a number of historical documentaries. Her projects included one on the Sisters of Providence, from whom she got the introduction to the Digans, and one on Catholic Sisters in America, which was shown on public television. So she didn’t exactly have a lot of time on her hands.

Even worse, there was no budget. As in zero, zilch, nada. How was she supposed to finance this venture which would ultimately result in the documentary, “In the Name of Miracles,” which airs at 1:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 30 on EWTN?

Maureen Digan with her son Bobby, who was also partially healed at St. Faustina’s tomb. The young boy lived another 10 years after that healing.

Despite significant obstacles, Wilda obviously decided to take the project on. But why?

“I met Maureen and Bob and fell in love with them,” she said. “They are great people. I also met Fr. Tony, who was Maureen’s spiritual director. He’s at Mount Holyoke, which is 15 minutes from me.”

But, of course, liking her subjects is only one part of the answer. It was the Lord who put this project on her heart; it was the Lord who took her on what she now calls a seven-year faith journey.

“I didn’t know much about the Divine Mercy devotion before this,” she said. “I thought it was for Polish people! But I loved what I learned. I fell in love with Faustina. It’s enriched my life so much. I’m very grateful to God for the whole process.”

And what a process it was! The reason it took seven long years to get the documentary made was because Wilda had to do all the filming “on the side.”

The Sisters of Providence introduced Filmmaker/Producer Elizabeth Wilda to Maureen and Bob Digan and encouraged her to make a film telling their story. “In the Name of Miracles” airs 1:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 30 on EWTN.

“Whenever I had the time, I’d go film something,” she said. “I had purchased a basic music library that was copyright free so I could use that. And Bob had tons of family photos, which I scanned and used.”

As she worked, Wilda began to see that the resulting documentary, “A Time for Miracles” was, above all, a love story.

“It’s a love story on many levels,” she said, “It’s a love story about God, and a love story with Bob and Maureen. Bob – I think his faith is so rock solid that it’s inspiring. Maureen has a beautiful outlook, such a sparkle about her, she’s inspiring too. I want to let people know that nothing’s impossible. We have a wonderful God and all things are possible. It’s never hopeless.”

Wilda also began to understand on a deeper level than ever before what she calls “the big thing — that God loves everyone.”

Maureen & Bob Digan

Wilda also began reading everything she could about St. Faustina. “I can’t get over what an amazing woman she was and how open to the spirit. With what little education she had, the beautiful writing of her ‘Diary’ is extraordinary. You can’t help but be inspired by it.”

As she learned more and more about the Divine Mercy devotion, Wilda’s sense of purpose grew. She realized that the devotion is more important now than ever. In fact, she believes the Lord meant it for a time such as the one in which we are now living.

“Just looking at the darkness in the world today – people need hope. I want to let people know that nothing’s impossible. We have a wonderful God and all things are possible. It’s never hopeless.”

“In the Name of Miracles,” the story of Maureen Digan whose miraculous healing resulted in the canonization of St. Faustina, is available for purchase from EWTN Religious Catalogue.

Need hope? Need light? There is much more to this story than what we’ve revealed here. Find out more, when EWTN airs “In the Name of Miracles” at 1:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 30. Want to purchase your own copy of this film or discover other Divine Mercy-related items? Check out EWTN Religious Catalogue at

After you watch the documentary, please let us know what you learned and how you think it might change your own life!

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EWTN Celebrates the Legacy of Terri Schiavo’s Life and Tragic Death With A Special Mass

Terri Schiavo in happier times.

Imagine that your married child or sister suffers an unexplained collapse while home alone with her husband, who becomes her legal guardian. You try to discover what happened to her – you believed her to be a healthy 26-year-old woman – but the only information you receive is her ominous discharge diagnosis from the hospital: hypoxic encephalopathy – brain injury caused by oxygenation starvation to the brain

Terry Schiavo after the accident.

Your loved one is not dying. She does not suffer from a life-threatening disease. She is not on a machine or “brain dead.” She has not suffered a heart attack and tests show she was not on drugs. In fact, she interacts with you when you visit. After a short time in physical therapy, she even begins to say words.

You offer to take responsibility for your loved one, but after a couple years – in which her husband moves your loved one to another state, receives a substantial jury award, and marries another woman – he moves your loved one to a nursing home, and ultimately denies you the ability to see her. He also petitions the court for permission to deny her food and water – which will result in a painful death by starvation and dehydration – saying she would not want to live in such a condition. Despite an epic fight in the courts, a judge eventually grants this request and for 13 days, you must stand by as your loved one dies a slow and painful death.

Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, is President of the Life and Hope Network, which assists medically vulnerable patients like his sister.

Bobby Schindler does not have to imagine this. He lived it. This is a synopsis of the story of his sister, Terri Schiavo, who died in 2005 after a 15-year battle.

“Her name is seared into the national memory as a face of the right-to-life movement,” Schindler says today, “but many are now too young to remember her witness.”

However, the Schindler family will never – can never – forget. In memory of Terri, the family founded the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, whose purpose is “to uphold human dignity through service to the medically vulnerable.” Since its founding in 2005, the Network, where Terri’s mom and sister also work, has advocated for and assisted more than 2,500 medically vulnerable patients and families. The Network’s services – which include patient and family advocacy, attorney and physical crisis referrals, spiritual and emotional support, advanced directive guidance, and ethical guidance – are available to any at-risk individual or family by calling 1-855-300-HOPE (4673) or by emailing

More than a decade after this tragedy, EWTN will commemorate “Terri’s Day” with two special events. First, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput will celebrate Mass at 8 a.m. ET, Friday, April 7, with encores at noon ET and 7 p.m. ET. The Mass is part of an annual day of prayer and outreach, which focuses on medically vulnerable patients and families who must fight for their right to proper care. Archbishop Chaput will speak during the Mass about issues impacting America’s medically vulnerable.

Father Mitch Pacwa will also interview Bobby Schindler and Archbishop Chaput about the fate of individuals who are treated as less worthy of care and medical treatment by the healthcare industry. However, you will have to wait to see that one. It’s scheduled to air at 8 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 28 on “EWTN Live” – so mark your calendars.

Mary Schindler visits with her daughter Terri in the days before her visitation rights were withdrawn.

Thanks to her loving family, Terri’s life and legacy means that the medically vulnerable now have hope of receiving the help that Terri herself was denied in her lifetime.

Note: On this same day as Terri’s special Mass, the Network is pleased to present two related programs. First, at 10 a.m. ET, Friday, April 7, EWTN will air “Death With Dignity? A Closer Look at Euthanasia.” This program provides an exploration of the moral, political, and personal aspects of the euthanasia and features candid interviews with proponents of euthanasia as well as poignant accounts of victims of involuntary euthanasia.

Second, don’t miss “Vulnerable: The Euthanasia Deception,” a chilling look at the effects recent euthanasia and assisted suicide laws have had on society. This program, featuring personal testimonies and expert legal and medical analysis, airs 5 p.m. ET,  Friday, April 7.


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EWTN United Kingdom Is Getting Its First Studio: Guess Where!


The Slipper Chapel Shrine

EWTN will soon open its first studio in the UK. If you’re from England, you’re not allowed to guess at the location because you’ll almost certainly know the answer as soon as we start with our clues! But it might not be so easy for the rest of the world! Ready?


The Cloister Garden

Clue #1: The studio will be located in a village named for a Shrine, which is located about one mile away.

Clue #2: The Shrine is one of the four great pilgrim sites of Medieval Christendom.

Clue #3: Prior to the Reformation, every King of England, including Henry VIII, came on pilgrimage to this famous Shrine. In fact, Henry VIII was a great benefactor of the Shrine, until the Pope denied his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. The enraged King then ordered the complete destruction of the Shrine!

Clue #4: The Shrine, built in 1061 at the request of Our Lady, is a replica of the Holy House of Nazareth, where the Annunciation took place, and predates the Holy House of Loretto by 200 years.


Abbey Grounds

Clue #5: The Shrine was raised to the status of a minor basilica last year!

By now, many of you have probably figured out that we’re talking about the Village of Walsingham, which Msgr. John Armitage, rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, said is “one holy mile” from the Basilica. To get to the Shrine, which is visited by about 300,000 people annually, you have to pass through the village. The rector calls it a “holy mile” because many pilgrims go to confession in what is popularly known as the village’s “slipper chapel” (a term for sandals), and then walk that mile barefoot as a form of penance.


Way of the Cross

In May, EWTN will officially open a small studio in one of the pre-existing homes that line the village’s main thoroughfare. The three-story home will be called Annunciation House and will also serve as headquarters for several other apostolates such as the Catholic Grandparents Association and Youth 2000. EWTN Regional Manager Ian Murray is excited by the possibilities.

“Now we are being exposed to all of the pilgrims,” he said. “We’ll have our studio and a reception area with TV screens running clips and short information introducing EWTN to those coming to the Shrine. We’re working closely with Msgr. John and Youth 2000. We will also go out into the parishes to run missions.”


A detail of the Reredos

Because the Basilica is a National Shrine, Murray says the hope is to bring together “a network of Catholic Shrines – of which there are many across England – so people can rediscover the walking pilgrimage,” which they hope will include Shrines in England, Wales and Scotland!

Msgr. Armitage says the Basilica, which has been dubbed England’s Nazareth, attracts people of many ethnic groups include Sri Lankan Tamils, Poles, Ukrainians, Orthodox, Melkite Greek Catholics, and more. But Americans are by far the largest group to descend upon Walsingham every year.


The Slipper Chapel’s Altar & Shrine

“During World War II, American troops were based here before D-Day,” said Mgr. Armitage. “The first Mass celebrated post-Reformation, on the site of the original Shrine that was destroyed, was celebrated by an American Army Chaplain in 1944 in preparation for the invasion.”

That tells Catholics all they need to know about the Allied Troop’s success in that seemingly impossible and very bloody battle.

Today, Msgr. Armitage says: “The Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham is a place of great healing.”

With its new studio, EWTN hopes to advance its mission of evangelization throughout Europe and the world, and to help bring pilgrims to the Shrine so that the wishes of Our Lady of Walsingham might be fulfilled.

As Pope Leo XIII famously said: “When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England.”

Posted in Blessed Mother, Catholic, England, EWTN, Our Lady, Religion, Television, TV, Uncategorized, Walsingham | Leave a comment

‘The Father Effect:’ A Documentary That Just Might Change Your Life


John Finch has transformed his own life and that of many others with his new apostolate, The Perfect Father Ministries, and a powerful 60-minute docu-drama, “The Father Effect,” which airs this week on EWTN.

When John Finch was 11 years old, his dad committed suicide.

As a result, the fatherless boy, who grew up in government-assisted housing, would become a self-described social alcoholic, a traveling salesman with an unlimited account, and a “Johnny Good Time” life-of-the-party kind of guy, who was always ready to buy a round of drinks.

“I was trying to get affirmation from others because I didn’t get it from my dad,” Finch says as he looks back over the first 30 years of his life. “My mom was the sweetest angel in the world. If it wasn’t for her, no telling where I would be. But she couldn’t be a dad.”

About six years ago, a friend brought up the concept of a “father wound.”

“In that conversation, God planted a seed. I started to understand the issues I had and how it was a result of the suffering I experienced after my dad abandoned me. If my dad didn’t want to have anything to do with me, then I bet God was the same way. God began to show me more and more about my father; how he too grew up without a father. It was a generational thing I didn’t even know existed. I said, ‘This is going to stop here.’”

screen-shot-2013-10-30-at-5-33-28-pmFinch sought the advice of a counselor who he says posed questions he would never have thought to ask on his own. “In one of those conversations, the counselor said: ‘How can you be so bitter, resentful, and angry with a man who didn’t know how to be a dad?’”

In that moment, Finch suddenly realized he could forgive the man who had “abandoned” him.

“That power and forgiveness that God showed me for my father radically changed my life as a man, husband and father. Walking out of the office, the sky was bluer, the grass was greener.”

Bestselling Author John Eldredge on the set of “The Father Effect.”

As he began to share his story with others, Finch also came to understand that “father wounds” are an epidemic – and he began to feel that God was calling him to do something about it.

The result is a new apostolate, The Perfect Father Ministries, and a powerful 60 minute docu-drama, “The Father Effect,” which airs at 10 p.m. ET, Saturday, Dec. 3; 1 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Dec. 7; 5 a.m. ET, Friday, Dec. 9; and 5 p.m. ET, Saturday, Dec. 10 on EWTN. Find out more at

The first half of the film explores the different challenges fatherless boys face; it also touches on the effect that growing up fatherless has on girls, although he intends to explore this even more deeply in his next project, “The Father Effect 2.”

Viewers of both sexes will benefit from Finch’s interviews with more than 80 people from all walks of life – including prison inmates.

Viewers of both sexes will benefit from Finch’s interviews with more than 80 people from all walks of life: experts, bestselling authors, a former USC champion, an exotic dancer, prison inmates, self-made millionaires, counselors, a former South African rugby player, and a rabbi – to name a few!

In the second half of the film, Finch also tackles solutions, which he hopes will be as helpful to others as they were to him. One interview that had a huge influence on Finch – at least from a spiritual perspective – was with a former NFL quarterback and All-American.

“Before the interview, I’d say this grand prayer with my children every night and walk out of the room patting myself on the back, thinking to myself ‘That was awesome, really good!’” Finch says with a laugh. But he was “hit hard” when the athlete described his own dad as a real prayer warrior who prayed for HIM before and after the games. The athlete said, “There’s nothing like a child hearing his father pray for him out loud by name in that manly fatherly voice.”


Finch said sometimes he can provide a practical solution to a problem, but more often than not, the problems deal with the children’s emotions about various situations that occur in their lives. “Once we start talking it through, the kids kind of understand and calm down. There’s a comfort that comes from hearing you pray for them. The next day. I’ll say, ‘How did the test go? How did the thing you’re struggling with go?’ They see I’m interested in what’s going on in their lives.”

Finch said that, to a certain extent, he even allows his children to see his own struggles when he prays with them. “It’s important to show my kids the real me. Not to pretend that everything is okay, but to be authentic and transparent to my kids. I’m not perfect, so they see they don’t have to be perfect. They see that life is not fair, but we do the best we can to stay focused on God and to put our faith and hope and trust in Him.”father-effect-poster-car-on-road

As the testimonials on Finch’s websites show, this film has been truly life-changing for many fathers and for their wives. Please share this with everyone you know and tune in. Even if you feel you’re already a pretty good dad, this just may provide you with answers to questions you didn’t even know you had!

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EWTN To Air “The Hidden Rebellion:” What America Can Learn From France’s Reign of Terror

Today, more and more people in America like to say they are socialists. But do most of us understand what this means?

posterDuring the Reign of Terror in 1793, French Catholics – who lived in a country that was predominantly Catholic – found out. You can too when EWTN airs “The Hidden Rebellion,” an original docu-drama which describes one of history’s most chilling instances of genocide – a genocide in which 70% of those slaughtered by revolutionary mobs and soldiers were not nobility, as is commonly supposed, but fellow commoners. (Airs 10 p.m. ET, Saturday, Nov. 5 on EWTN,

Writer/Director/Producer Daniel Rabourdin believed in the importance of this project so much that he gave four years of his life to film this docu-drama in his native France. You’ll learn about the overthrow of King Louis XVI, a strong Catholic who forgave his persecutors before he was beheaded, his wife killed, and his children disappeared. But most of the program follows the farmers in the Vendee who rebelled against the revolutionaries who tried to send their sons into war in Prussia (now Germany); who began jailing priests and bishops and substituting lay people to say the Mass; and who began raising taxes to support an army which grew ever more massive as they appointed political officers to shadow the real soldiers and to report on them.

pic-1Most importantly, you’ll come to understand the ideology that led the revolutionaries to slaughter so many of their own countrymen.

“The French Revolution is considered a shift from the monarchy to democracy, but the new ‘democratic’ government became more and more radical, eventually becoming what we would today call ‘socialist,’” says Rabourdin, who was born in France and became a U.S. citizen six years ago because he wished to live in a freer society. “It was also a shift from a Catholic civilization to, at best, a deist civilization; at worst, an anti-Christian civilization.”

During the program, viewers will get a clear understanding of the difference between a free market society and socialism.

chl_0077Says Rabourdin: “In the free market, in a free republic, we say to citizens, ‘Feel free to create and to prosper. We will, as a government, only stop you if you commit a crime. We’re not the ones who reward you either. We are only here to do justice.’” 

But he says the French Revolution Ideologue – and today’s Socialist – is there to educate citizens about the “correct” way to work, the “correct” way to contract work relationships with others, the “correct” way to decide of salaries, etc.

vendean-fleeing-2-chl_9542-copy“So they had, and still have today, a plan for micromanaging human life,” Rabourdin continues. “It is in the DNA of their ideology. It’s why they want to take charge of the education of children. It’s why they try to outlaw home schooling. It’s why today we feel the oppression of political correctness. It’s oppressive because they attempt to reach into the smallest actions of our lives: actions such as what words we must use when we address a woman or a man.”

As viewers will see “the mob in the French Revolution had power in the streets almost as strong as the army had.” Similarly today, Rabourdin says, the media and educators have some people so converted to a socialist ideology that “their violence is barely veiled. They enforce intolerance against people of good will and Christians. Forgiveness is not a Socialist principle, but it is a Christian principle, which includes true tolerance.”

chl_8862Despite all the above, Rabourdin isn’t pessimistic. He says that today’s Catholics face a battle for hearts and minds, maybe even their own hearts and minds – just as they did during the French Revolution — and it won’t be won by “a sad version of Christianity.”

Instead, he says: “This is a healthy alert for us to stop being lazy culturally and to invest in education, with a lot more good colleges than we have now. Also, to produce a lot more writers, movie producers and even musicians. Because the Reign of Terror in 1793 did not start at the beginning of that year. It started culturally with people like Descartes a century earlier. They were novelists, very good writers. They could seduce the hearts and minds – and that took time.”

chl_8678He also believes this is a time when Catholics need to do a better job of re-learning the social teachings of the Church; teachings such as subsidiarity. “By this we mean that if a ‘lower’ level of society, like the family, can do a job well, such as educating children, the higher level of society, like the city, must not do the job of the family. What the city or the government can do is to help the family to do its job well with such things as tax breaks and allowing families to make their own decisions about how they want to educate their children. This is the alternative to the micro-management of top-down socialism.”

chl_8942In 1801, after seven years of terror, Napoleon would eventually sign an agreement with the Pope admitting that Catholicism was the religion of most of the French people and declaring that they were again free to publicly practice their religion. Nevertheless, to this day, church buildings in France remain property of the state. Rabourdin said the school system also remains “extremely anti-clerical so the young have been indoctrinated against the Faith and many other things for 200 hundred years now. It’s not surprising then that only 4% of the population still practice the faith.”

chl_9787Says Rabourdin: “I came to America because there is more freedom here for a man of good will; double that for a man who is Christian. But I can see the signs that America is becoming like France now. And I speak of the France affected by the excesses of the French Revolution. It’s still up to us to have a better society. We should never give up the fight. We should do it in peace,” he says, “but do it!”

NOTE: To purchase a DVD, stream the full-length version of this program or bring it to your church, please visit

Posted in beheaded, Christian persecution, Culture of Death, Defending Life, religious persecution, Socialism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EWTN’s New Mini-Series Reveals The Real Truth About ‘The Inquisition’

Were you taught that the Inquisition was a series of events fueled by religious fanaticism and rife with cruelty and terror? If so, prepare to be surprised by the truth of what really happened. Get the facts when EWTN premieres “The Inquisition,” an original four-part docudrama co-produced by EWTN, Stefano Mazzeo, and Lux Communication.

cardinal-inquisitor-at-prayerThe mini-series airs 9:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 26-29. The Wednesday airing will be preceded by a special “EWTN Live” interview at 8 p.m. ET with Producer, Writer, and Director Stefano Mazzeo, and Professor Thomas F. Madden, chair of the Department of History at St. Louis University, both of whom EWTN viewers will remember from their work on a previous blockbuster mini-series: “The Crusades.”

inquisition-2-img_3077“The mini-series features live action drama sequences and interviews with leading historians and churchman to reveal the truth about one of the most misunderstood periods in Church history,” said EWTN President & COO Doug Keck, who served as Executive Producer of the series. “There were, in fact, multiple “inquisitions” in different countries over the centuries, including the widely misunderstand Spanish Inquisition.”

Filmed on location in six European countries and beautifully scored by Chorus Salvatoris, the mini-series takes on myths and heresies that are prevalent even today – as well as the real reason Galileo got into trouble!

inquisition-with-cardinalFor example, did you know that many misrepresentations about the Spanish Inquisition were developed over four centuries ago by Protestant Northern Europe as part of a propaganda campaign against the Catholic Church? Producer Mazzeo says that Spain was the Catholic superpower of the age and the Protestant countries needed a stick with which to attack Spain and the Catholic Church in order to cement the Reformation and secure the loyalty of their converts. In other words, they needed to give people a reason not to want to be Catholic! Of course, that’s not the only reason. There was also the fact that England and Spain were locked in a battle over land in the New World, and more.

What most people don’t know is that “[t]he Spanish Inquisition was set up to deal with Jews and Muslims who were converting to gain social standing and power, not [because they believed in the faith],” Mazzeo said.

actors-who-played-the-inquisitionsThe problem is that these fake Catholics were introducing heresies and immorality into the Church. “The main reason for the Inquisition was [to help insure] that everyone would go to heaven,” Mazzeo continued, which is one reason only those who had been baptized were tried. “They did not want people to lose their souls. [Many will be surprised to learn that] while heresy was a crime punishable by death by the state, “the clerics of the Inquisition were forbidden to engage in torture or even to pronounce the death penalty!”

In fact, secular “justice” in the 16th Century was so cruel that, in England, many Catholics were being tried and executed for simply being Catholics. By inquisition-3-crucifix-from-avila-cathedralcontrast, in countries that had an Inquisition in place, many prisoners in secular prisons blasphemed in order to be transferred and tried by Inquisitors because they were much more lenient.

Yet myths about Spanish torture and cruelty – which the Spanish called “the black legend” – abound. So how did the black legend get started? Those expelled from the country for infiltrating the Church with their heresies began to use the printing press to write lies about the Spanish. Today, Mazzeo said, new “black legends” are being created by the modern secular media and some are still aimed at the Catholic Church.

the-scribe“The way Pope Pius XII is treated is a black legend,” Mazzeo said. “The Crusades was a black legend of the Enlightenment period. Today, militant secularists create black legends that the Church is anti-women. For example, the witch craze hysteria that swept Protestant Northern Europe in the Early Modern Era saw thousands of women being executed on hearsay of or the testament of a jealous neighbor. In Catholic countries, where the Inquisition was in place, if someone was accused of things like sleeping with the Devil or flying, the Inquisitors became very skeptical; they were university-trained canon lawyers and theologians!”

When EWTN asked Mazzeo to create a mini-series about the Inquisition for EWTN, he said, “I wanted to look into why this has such a bad reputation. Why can’t people see it for what it really is? What surprised me was how in favor of the Inquisition I became.”

Please take note of this series and share it with your friends. It’s television worth seeing!


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This Year’s Must See Film: EWTN’s ‘A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’

22-saul-alinsky Why is political discourse so bad right now? How have Christian beliefs, particularly Catholic beliefs, and those who hold them come to be reviled by so many in the secular culture? Where did political correctness, gender conflict, gender confusion — and so many other aspects of the Culture of Death — come from?

The answer to these, and many other questions, can be found in the EWTN Original Documentary “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,” a chilling look at the impact of Community Activist Saul Alinsky, whose “Rules for Radicals” still wields a huge influence on American culture – and the world. If you missed the premiere of this blockbuster event, then tune in at 10:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 1 for the encore, which EWTN is bringing back by popular demand!

A special “EWTN Live” episode, in which Fr. Mitch Pacwa interviews “Wolf” Producers Richard and Stephen Payne of Arcadia Films, will also encore in the hour leading up to the documentary (9:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 1). This film is especially interesting because EWTN’s Fr. Mitch is interviewed in this film about his own experience with Alinksy’s tactics.

saul-alinsky_lrg_parallax_4500x2531As a young novice, Fr. Mitch – like most of us — had no idea what Alinsky-style community organizing was all about until he, and several other novices, were assigned to a Chicago parish that just happened to have two priests trained in the technique. These priests wanted to stop the violence between the Hispanic, Black and Italian gangs and touted Alinskyian style organizing as a way to do this.

Notice that the goal is worthy. Father Mitch says Catholics are particularly vulnerable to these techniques because our faith teaches us to help others. Unfortunately, Alinsky’s community organizers use Marxist techniques that call for someone or some group to be cast as an “enemy” who must be isolated and demonized. They are taught to treat people not as individuals but as symbols.

Father Mitch notes that the Catholic faith, in contrast, teaches the importance of “solidarity” and respect for the individual. As most Catholics who were around when Poland achieved its freedom from Communist rule and the Berlin Wall fell, Pope St. John Paul II was a particularly strong proponent of solidarity.

Alinsky further teaches: “The end justifies almost any means. All effective actions require a passport of morality. You do what you can and clothe it in moral garments. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Make the enemy live up to its own rules. Moral rationalization is indispensable at times of action, whether to justify the selection or the use of ends and means.”

10504116-standardYou’ll have to tune in to find out what happened in that Chicago parish, but suffice it to say that Father Mitch personally witnessed the execution of a former gang member – as a result of this demonization and stirring up of “enmities” with the goal of trying to help people – which had a profound effect on him.

And that’s another part of the problem. When people work in “solidarity” with one another, great things can happen. But even when these community organizers win the battle – and they often do – they lose the war.

“Even in the communities where there has been Alinskyian organizing, do we see less racism? Or, do we see more polarization?” asks Alinsky Biographer Stephanie Block. “Do we see less poverty, or are there problems with poverty greater now? There’s a real good argument that they’re greater.”

Block also notes that Alinksy “may have had a utopian vision, but what he’s laying out is a situation whereby it has to create the very unrest and disparities that he would say he’s trying to fight against.”

As the film shows, Alinksy was a socialist who utilized Marxist theory; a student Machiavelli’s book, “The Prince;” and an activist who spoke admiringly of Communists as being on the right side of things.

rochester_rallyFor many Catholics, it will be enough to know that this Community Organizer dedicated his most influential work, “Rules for Radicals,” to Lucifer. You read that right. His dedication reads: “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgement of the very first radical who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom, Lucifer.”

Alinsky’s supporters make light of this, but unfortunately this was not the only time this Community Organizer expressed his admiration for the dark side. In a “Playboy” interview, a few weeks before he died, the film tells us that Alinsky said: “If there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell. Hell would be heaven to me. … Once I get into hell, I’ll start organizing the ‘have nots’ over there with a smile. They’re my kind of people.”

Alinsky did not work in a vacuum. As the film notes, he was helped by “the great tsunami wave of European cultural Marxism that would sweep over post-World War II America and empower him in organizing what St. Pope John Paul II termed, the Culture of Death.” Key members of a Marxist institution known as the Institute for Social Research, which was brought to the U.S. from Europe after World War II, “developed ‘critical theory’ as a strategy to change, revolutionize, and bring down America by criticizing it.”

People from the Institute also developed “what we now call political correctness” as well as the “sexual revolution, the search for pleasure.” As the film also points out, “Critical theory exploited the differences between the sexes to excite gender conflict. It exploited their commonalities to incite gender confusion.”

jim-morlino-saul-alinskyNorman Thomas, America’s Socialist Party candidate in the 1940s once said: “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without knowing how it happened.”

Watch this film. Become aware of their tactics. Do not be deceived.

And always remember what Jesus taught: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” (MT 7:15-16)

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