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SAN SEBASTIÁN (LifeSiteNews) — A newly-installed Spanish bishop close to Pope Francis has banned content from U.S. Catholic television network EWTN on his diocesan TV channel. 

Bishop Fernando Prado Ayuso of San Sebastián approved a decree in December prohibiting Betania, the channel of the San Sebastián diocese, from broadcasting “any content of the channel EWTN,” according a report by InfoVaticana.

Prado Ayuso, who was appointed a bishop by Pope Francis in October, justified the order by stating that he was “trying to favor the communion of the diocese with the successor of Peter.”

He didn’t specify how broadcasting content from EWTN, which is faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, would not favor communion with the pope. EWTN received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross for distinguished service to the Church from Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

Prado Ayuso’s decree was dated December 19, 2022 — just two days after his episcopal ordination.

EWTN has rankled Pope Francis and his allies in recent years for airing criticism of the pope’s blatantly heterodox and controversial statements and decisions, particularly on Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over. 

READ: Fr. Gerald Murray slams Pope Francis’ comments on homosexuality, African bishops

Pope Francis attacked EWTN in 2021, describing unfavorable coverage of him on the channel as the “work of the devil.” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin appeared to chastise EWTN again in October 2022, telling the network that Catholic media should operate in a “spirit of communion with the Pope.”

Parolin’s comments came shortly after EWTN aired an explosive interview with Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith, on The World Over in which he rebuked leaders of Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality for undermining Catholic teaching.

READ: Cardinal Müller says Pope Francis’ Synod is a ‘hostile takeover of the Church’ in explosive interview

While assailing EWTN, Pope Francis has lent his support to dissident and heterodox Catholic writers and journalists, including LGBT activist Fr. James Martin, SJ, and papal biographer Austen Ivereigh.

Prado Ayuso and Pope Francis

Before being appointed bishop of San Sebastián, Prado Ayuso, a Claretian missionary and director of the publishing house Publicaciones Claretianas, conducted a book-length interview with Pope Francis in 2018 titled La fuerza de la vocación. La vida consagrada hoy (The Strength of the Vocation. The Consecrated Life Today).

In 2022, Prado Ayuso published another book-length interview with scandal-ridden papal advisor Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop emeritus of Tegucigalpa, celebrating Pope Francis’ 2022 apostolic constitution Praedicate Evangelium that reformed the Roman Curia. Pope Francis had written a preface for the book.

Praedicate Evangelium has faced sharp criticism, including from Cardinal Müller and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, for undercutting the authority of bishops, centralizing power in the papacy, and allowing members of the laity, including women, to hold curial positions.

Cardinal Müller has described the reforms of Praedicate Evangelium as “not progress in ecclesiology, but a blatant contradiction to its fundamental principles.”

Cardinal Maradiaga has been accused of covering up the sexual abuse and misconduct of his auxilliary bishop, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, protecting homosexual seminarians, and diverting millions of dollars of Church money to fraudulent investment schemes, as LifeSiteNews has reported. Maradiaga, who stepped down as archbishop of Tegucigalpa in January, was a member of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinal Advisors from its founding in 2013 until last week.

READ: Fr. Murray: The Vatican’s ‘persecution’ of Latin Mass Catholics is ‘damaging the Church’