SPECIAL REPORT: DETROIT MONEY GRAB premieres Thursday, Oct. 21, during Church Militant Catholic Info Hour at 7 pm ET
Raymond Arroyo recounts in his biography of the nun:
The official response to Mother's outburst was swift. During a phone call on August 15, the president of the National Conference of Bishops, Archbishop William Keeler, told Mother she had "overreacted." Days later he would urge EWTN to shelve the editorial and suspend reruns so as not to fan the flames of controversy. But the flames had already been fanned.
In a blistering editorial, Archbishop Rembert Weakland wrote that the "senseless and heartless condemning of one another" had to stop. He then proceeded to condemn Mother Angelica's "vitriolic" commentary: "For a half hour she ranted and raved about all the abuses since Vatican II, according to her own personal judgment which, of course, she equates with that of the Holy Father," Weakland wrote. "It was one of the most disgraceful, un-Christian, offensive, and divisive diatribes I have ever heard."
"He didn't think a woman playing Jesus was offensive," Mother said of Weakland's criticism. "He can go put his head in the back toilet as far as I am concerned."
Continually dogged by the bishops — including a battle with Cdl. Roger Mahony as well as with her own bishop, David Foley, who objected to offering Mass ad orientem at her shrine — Mother eventually resigned from the board of directors, handing control to a lay board in the hopes of keeping it free from the hierarchy's control. Although the move was well-intentioned and the lay board was initially faithful to Mother's vision, EWTN has since been criticized for going silent on scandals in the Church, avoiding controversy and never criticizing the bishops.
After suffering a debilitating stroke in 2001, Mother Angelica lived life away from the public eye in the cloistered monastery in Hanceville. Incapacitated and having lost the ability to speak, Mother suffered silently, watching the network she founded drift from its original mission.
Father Frank Pavone issued a statement on her passing, saying, "Her voice and her message will be with us for a long time. Thanks to the continued growth of the media apostolate she founded — an apostolate in which we eagerly participate — people will be able to learn and laugh with Mother Angelica for many years to come. We should all recommit ourselves today to echoing her messages."