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Raymond Arroyo in 'The World Over,' April 12, 2018.EWTN / screen-grab

WASHINGTON DC, April 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – When Robert Royal told EWTN’s The World Over host, Raymond Arroyo, that he perhaps regretted writing a column about Gaudete et Exsultate last week because of the visceral responses it elicited from his readers, Arroyo chimed in:  “You must’ve been looking in my mailbox!  I get this every week.”  

Holding up his hands, as if there were a gun pointed at him, Arroyo said, “Don’t shoot the messenger…all we do is cover this [news].”

“We all love the Holy Father, and the viewers of this program do,” said Arroyo.  “It is up to us to respect him enough to take [his] words and evaluate them in the context of the times, and of the moment.”

“And if we look the other way for portions, or pretend we’re not seeing it, we’re letting the audience down and we’re not being, to my mind, good Catholics,” added the EWTN host. (See the exchange on this between Arroyo and Royal in the video below from 9:27 to 11:22.)

Royal, president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, DC, had said that “One set of people read [my column] one way, and one set read it another.”

“Two of my readers wrote to me and said, ‘you’re the one exacerbating all these differences in the Church,’ as if somehow we created this large-scale international controversy.”

“On the other hand, other people are writing in saying ‘you were perhaps too charitable’”  to the Pope, said Royal, because he had noted that there were “good things” in the papal document.

Shooting at the Papal Posse ‘Messengers’ 

“Papal Posse” members Robert Royal, Fr. Gerald Murray, and Raymond Arroyo are now accustomed to dodging bullets from fellow Catholics who are critical of the show’s fair and balanced approach to reporting on the Vatican. 

Patheos writer Mark Shea, who calls Arroyo the “Pied Piper of EWTN,” says Arroyo’s balanced reporting “leads the sheep away from the teaching of the Church and toward the sundry Right Wing Culture Warriors and liars at war with Pope Francis and the Magisterium.” 

Another Catholic blogger, Mike Lewis, unhappy with the ‘papal posse’s’ reporting and discussions, tweeted, “Does EWTN host Raymond Arroyo place politics ahead of the Catholic Church's teachings and fidelity to @Pontifex?” 

Earlier this year, Papal confidante Father Antonio Spadaro retweeted a call for EWTN to be severely censured “until they get rid of Raymond Arroyo.”

The call for an “interdict” to be imposed on the Catholic media empire started by Mother Angelica came from Anthony Annett, Assistant to the Director at the International Monetary Fund’s Communications Department, because of a February 15 The World Over segment.

“Make no mistake,” tweeted Annett, the show’s discussion of a recent Spadaro speech and ultra-liberal Cardinal Blase Cupich “represent ‘total war’ on the papacy of Pope Francis.”

Arroyo was a close friend of Mother Angelica. He is the author of numerous books. As confusion has mounted during Pope Francis’ reign, his signature show, The World Over, has analyzed troubling developments in the Church. Arroyo often does this with the help of Father Gerald Murray and Robert Royal (the “papal posse”).

Spadaro, a Jesuit who is often called the pope’s “mouthpiece,” frequently criticizes critics of Amoris Laetitia’s ambiguity or the Francis pontificate. He is the editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica.

Royal responded at the time:

Heartfelt thanks to all of you who expressed support and offered prayers over the past few days after stories appeared about a retweet by Antonio Spadaro S.J., a close collaborator of the Holy Father’s, calling on EWTN to fire Raymond Arroyo for his criticisms of various recent papal moves (and no doubt for the now five-year run of the Papal Posse). Or be placed under interdict.

This was either a weak attempt at intimidation or a lame attempt at humor – in either case, quite imprudent from someone who knows that what he says is taken, rightly or wrongly, to reflect back on Pope Francis.

Be assured, this portends no serious harm to me. This is why we have independent think-tanks and publications like The Catholic Thing, so that at least some in both Church and society may speak freely. Fr. Murray is most likely fine as well. But it’s not entirely a laughing matter for a prominent media figure like the talented Mr. Arroyo. If you want to express support, take a look at #imwithRaymond.

In any case, it will have no effect on our labors to understand and speak truth as we see it. – RR.