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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  March 1, 2007
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Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality

Different people observe Lent in different ways.  EWTN's News Director, lead anchor and host of "The World Over Live," EWTN's weekly one-hour news and interview program, Raymond Arroyo, is releasing a new book, Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality and beginning a massive book tour.  “Titanic” director James Cameron and TV-director Simcha Jacobovici are claiming they have evidence of a Jerusalem tomb that allegedly houses the remains of Jesus and his family. 

Mr. Arroyo's massive tour promoting fundamental religious values versus a massive fraud perpetrated by secular extremists hell-bent on separating humanity from God as well as totally separating church and state, banning God and religious values from the public square and replacing traditional American values with hedonism.

William Donohue, President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, lamented: “Not a Lenten season goes by without some author or TV program seeking to cast doubt on the divinity of Jesus and/or the Resurrection." The wisdom, wit and exemplary life of Mother Angelica can serve as an effective antidote.

On 1961 Mother Angelica, the Roman Catholic nun known simply as "Mother" to millions of people around the world, established Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Birmingham, Alabama.  Twenty years later she founded The Eternal Word Television Network, now the world's largest religious media organization. Her television program, Mother Angelica Live, in rerun since her stroke, made her internationally beloved and remains one of the most popular programs on EWTN.

Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles, released on September 6, 2005, is the definitive biography of the remarkable nun who founded EWTN.   Authored by Mr. Arroyo, it is an unauthorized biography written with the subject's full cooperation. Mr. Arroyo worked on it over five years and finished his interviews with "Mother" for the book shortly before the stroke that incapacitated her and "sealed her memory" (as Mr. Arroyo put it).

"Mother" dispensed spiritual wisdom to her worldwide “family” in her feisty and funny way.  There is a wealth of "Mother" material on which to draw.

So Mr. Arroyo shifted from biographer to editor and is about to present Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality, an inspiring collection of Mother's profound spiritual insights, comic musings, and blunt advice culled from never before seen interviews, private lessons, and recorded broadcasts (some not heard in more than thirty years), to which Mr. Arroyo had exclusive access.

Who better to capture Mother Angelica’s spunky spirit and profound wisdom?

In Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality, "Mother" explains:

  • How to find God’s Will in your life
  • How to pursue inspirations fearlessly
  • How to make sense of pain and suffering
  • How to spiritually overcome personal faults and trials
To celebrate the release of the book (and perhaps gather material for a book on the impact of "Mother" on individuals, there is a contest.  A hundred autographed copies of the new book will be awarded to people who share how something "Mother" SAID transformed their lives life.

Entries must be 700 words or less (so I won't enter) and should include mailing address, day time phone number and the full name of the contestant.

Entries may be sent to: raymond@raymondarroyo.com

or mailed to:

EWTNews  ATTN: Book Contest
5817 Old Leeds Rd.
Irondale, Alabama 35210

For those familiar with "Mother," the new book will be released on March 6, 2007 and that's all you need to know

For those unfamiliar with "Mother" but curious about her, I will relate one important incident in her memorable life: the epic battle between the feisty, physically handicapped little nun, a bride of Christ who would not tolerate any disrespect of her Spouse, real or imagined, and the powerful Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a prince of the Church who discovered that "Mother" would prostrate herself before God, but not bow to him.

In the inspiring biography, Mr. Arroyo related how "Mother" resisted a wrathful Cardinal--and God apparently confirmed the rightness of her implacable resolve by doing the miraculous. On November 12, 1997, on her live show on EWTN, "Mother," believing after browsing one of his pastoral letters that Cardinal Mahoney did not fully embrace the doctrine of transubstantiation (the belief that consecration literally transforms bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ), commented: "In fact the cardinal of California is teaching that's its bread and wine before the Eucharist and after the Eucharist. I'm afraid my obedience in that diocese would be absolutely zero. And I hope everybody else's in that diocese is zero."

The same Cardinal Mahony who was refusing to enforce Canon 915, which prohibits the distribution of Communion to "[t]hose... who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin" and who would invite Senator John Kerry, the presidential candidate of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, to receive Communion in 2004, was not only demanding an apology, but familiar with Canon 1373 (which forbids individuals from inciting disobedience against the Pope or bishops), and eventually determined to figuratively bludgeon "Mother" into reciting a formal apology four times (as though she was reciting the "Hail Mary" as penance) and utterly frustrated by his failure to do so.

"Mother" had read a long pastoral letter by Cardinal Mahony that she evidently found confused, in part because she was not a footnote reader and mostly because it was poorly written. She seemed to anger the Cardinal in a way that tens of millions of abortions had not, by deeming him unworthy of obedience. And he immediately demanded a formal retraction.

Mr. Arroyo opined that "Mother" believed that she "had to step up and defend the teaching of the Church" and personally attested that she said at the time: "I have to say what I believe, and I can't back down. What's the worst they can do to me, send me back to my monastery?"

On November 18, 1997, "Mother" returned to the air to provide what she considered an appropriate apology and clarification. She read excerpts from his complaint to her and responded: "So, I do want to apologize to the cardinal for my remark, which I'm sure seemed excessive. But he's asked me for a clarification. And this is what I would like to do this evening. This is my opinion and this is how I saw it when I read it."

Mother Angelica's opinion: "It is very confusing to people when leaders seem to ignore the real problems in the Church that need to be addressed, seem to tolerate and encourage liturgical fuzziness and practices that don't, to me, show or manifest the holiness of the Sacrifice of the Mass."

Mother Angelica's conclusion: "His Eminence asked for a public clarification. And I want to say to him I don't mean to cause you any problem. I don't mean to deny the Church or cause anything. I'm just confused, because I don't understand. I'm not here to correct anybody.... I'm not here to teach in place of anybody either. I know my place and I try to keep it. But it is my duty, because the Lord has asked me to enlighten the people, not to give them my ideas and theories but just to say, Here, this is what the Church teaches....I hope I satisfied the cardinal's request. I will pray for him, and I hope he will pray for me. So Your Eminence, if I have mistaken your letter I'm very sorry, but I still find it confusing...."

After "Mother" finished her show, mostly a devastating point-by-point critique of that pastoral letter, "the Cardinal from California" probably wished he had not written it and had ignored her. But he was angry and insisting on another apology and hoping to silence her, if he could not cow her.

"Mother" was uncowable. She refused to surrender her principles. Her attitude: "I couldn't walk into that chapel and face the Lord if I gave in just because he's a cardinal. I can't."

Her bishop would not order her to do so, much to Cardinal Mahony's consternation. New York's then Cardinal O'Connor told her in person that she "must" placate Cardinal Mahoney, "beating a tabletop" for emphasis. But "Mother" was loyal to a Higher Authority and her loyalty was steadfast. The Vatican, where the late Pope John Paul the Great and then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) then resided, declined to silence "Mother."  Because, in the words of an elderly curial cardinal quoted by Mr. Arroyo, "Mother Angelica has the guts to tell him [Cardinal Mahoney] what we do not."

God must have been pleased with "Mother," for "Mother" received a healing while Cardinal Mahony was still squealing.

In short, as Mr. Arroyo put it, "the legs she had not commanded for forty-two years...walked the length of the studio." And, as Mr. Arroyo explained in detail, "[t]hree physicians who independently examined Mother Angelica...insist that the healing of her legs was anything but fake."

Much can be learned from such a person (and Mr. Arroyo is a splendid intermediary).

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.


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