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Posted on 03/28/2020 15:00 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
CNA Staff, Mar 28, 2020 / 07:00 am (CNA).- The chairman and CEO of EWTN said Thursday that the media network will remain open and on the air during the coronavirus pandemic. In a March 26 interview, EWTN’s Michael Warsaw said that the organization’s ministry is more urgent than ever.
“I think there's so much anxiety. There's so much fear. People feel untethered. And I think one of the things that EWTN provides is a place that people can turn to ground themselves, to connect themselves with the faith and really to find reassurance that God is there for them in this really difficult time,” Warsaw said on EWTN News Nightly.
Warsaw stressed that although the global pandemic has affected the lives of everyone, including EWTN employees, policies are in place to ensure that news and catechetical output will continue. He said that as the virus spread from the Asia-Pacific region, through Europe - and especially Italy - before arriving in the United States, the global media group adapted to the changing circumstances.
“Most of our employees are working remotely. And we have essential staff who are still on duty in their posts in Irondale and here in Washington and elsewhere,” Warsaw said. “And we're certainly prepared if we need to do more restrictions.”
“The bottom line of that is that we will continue to air our channels. We will continue to produce programming, particularly the Mass, news, other key programming that will continue, and we're prepared for that to continue.”
Warsaw stressed that, in addition to its news outlets, EWTN’s pastoral and catechetical content is an important resource for Catholics, and that with shelter-in-place orders active in many parts of the United States and the world, it is vital to serve as a link with the Church and with the wider communion of the faithful.
In response to the coronavirus, all Latin rite dioceses in the United States have suspended public Masses, with many bishops ordering the total closure of church buildings. Bishops have encouraged Catholic to watch livestreamed liturgies, and to use the media of television, radio, and the internet to foster prayer and spiritual communion. In these circumstances, Warsaw said, many Catholics have told him that EWTN’s output serves as a “lifeline.”
“One of the things that I think we've heard so much about is, with all of the churches closed and the inability of people not just in this country, but globally, really to be able to attend Mass on Sunday, people tying into our Mass and participating remotely in our Mass, has been really a lifeline for many people to the practice of their faith, the ability to watch the Mass on EWTN, both on our linear channels, but also online on EWTN.com,” Warsaw said.
“From its founding, Mother Angelica always wanted EWTN and its audience to be a family. And I think in this time and in this moment we are very much a family for one another,” he added.
During the interview, Warsaw encouraged “three things that our EWTN family can do” together.
“One is, certainly, pray. We need to pray for one another. Pray for the network, as we pray for them. I think, secondly, share what they have in the gift of EWTN. This is a great opportunity to evangelize. If people are benefiting by EWTN, they need to share that with their friends, share that with their family. That's a very effective way of helping others and evangelizing in this moment.”
Third, Warsaw said, “keep us between your gas and electric bill, as Mother Angelica would always say.”
“It's very important that we have the resources to be able to continue our mission and to continue to execute our mission to a much, much larger audience of people that are turning to us at this time.”
“Financial support is critical for us in this moment as well,” Warsaw said. “And we're always obviously very grateful to our EWTN family for that.”
“So many people have commented how much that has meant to them and how meaningful that has been to them -- to be able to have that opportunity to pray and to know that when they are praying, when they are participating in and watching, that they're doing so with people all over the world who are part of that EWTN family.”
Warsaw said that, at a time when so many are looking for meaning and answers in the face of a pandemic, EWTN is “really trying to be a resource for people, and to give people hope, and to remind people that in this moment, what's most important is that we need to keep our eyes fixed on Christ.”
“They're looking for hope and they're looking for answers. And I think them coming to EWTN is a beautiful thing and a way for them to find those answers and to find that hope that they're looking for,” he said.
EWTN Global Catholic Network is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 global TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 300 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories.
EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; one of the largest Catholic websites in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, The National Catholic Register newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.
Posted on 03/28/2020 14:00 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Mar 28, 2020 / 06:00 am (CNA).- Facing limited hours and a shortage of supplies, crisis pregnancy centers are working and praying with pregnant women, helping any way they can during the pandemic.
“I think we need to storm the heavens for all the women in crisis pregnancies, because they are in crisis, which means there’s a crisis at home. And if they’re sheltered-in-place, that means they’re in a situation of crisis, and they can’t get out,” said Mathilde Mellon, founder and CEO of Mulier Care – Pregnancy Help Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread quickly in the U.S., with more than 62,000 confirmed cases on Wednesday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Businesses and non-profits across the U.S. are closing down or limiting their hours for public safety, and to comply with state and local health mandates.
This means that crisis pregnancy centers are having to operate short-staffed, at a distance, or even close their doors completely in a time when they are concerned abortion rates will go up.
Pregnancy centers are now developing new care plans, providing counseling over the phone or delivering needed supplies such as diapers and baby formula to the women who need them.
The Sisters of Life run their “Visitation Mission” in New York City for expectant mothers, and in the past weeks have been ensuring that women have the diapers, food, cribs, and strollers that they need, said Sister Virginia Joy who directs the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of New York.
A volunteer network has been sending food and gift cards for mothers and families, and women are being helped in their moves to maternity homes in different parts of the country.
Front Royal Pregnancy Center in rural Virginia, 75 miles west of Washington, D.C., is still operating but on an “essentials-only” policy. If women call ahead for material assistance, clinic helpers can bring baby formula or diapers to their door, and the clinic is still accepting phone calls for consultations on a case-by-case basis.
“Last week, we had a huge drop in the number of people who came to us for services,” clinic worker Olivia McDonough told CNA on Monday. The clinic normally serves 25 clients in a week, she said, but had just five clients last week.
In California, the state’s governor Gavin Newsom issued a shelter-in-place order on March 19. Marie Leatherby, executive director of the Sacramento Life Center, said it is “challenging” for the center to maintain its day-to-day operations with the mandate.
“Right now we’re running just kind of with the skeleton staff, mostly doing phone consultations, nurse consultations,” she said, as well as “drive-by baby care packages with diapers or baby baskets for newborns.”
Other centers have had to close their doors, such as Nashville’s Pregnancy Help Center.
“It’s devastating, because Planned Parenthood is still open, and our mayor won’t shut them down, and they’ve been deemed an essential service,” Mathilde Mellon told CNA. “Apparently, their abortions are a critical medical procedure, and it’s horrible.”
Mellon also runs a mobile medical unit, but had to halt its operations as well out of concern for the safety of her staff.
Abortion providers elsewhere have either been allowed to remain open or have done so in defiance of state orders.
Planned Parenthood affiliates in New York told Buzzfeed News last week that their doors were open.
In Ohio, Planned Parenthood affiliates continued to perform surgical abortions despite the state’s health department curtailing all non-essential or elective surgeries by the evening of March 18. The state’s attorney general wrote Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio’s Cincinnati surgery center on March 20, ordering them to “immediately stop performing non-essential or elective surgical elective abortions.”
The president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said that Planned Parenthood is “continuing to put abortion and profits before health and safety.”
On Tuesday, Dannenfelser and a coalition of pro-life leaders wrote to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, asking him to urge abortion providers to cease operations and donate their personal protective equipment to hospitals for staff to treat the new coronavirus.
Other states, such as Washington and Massachusetts, have allowed abortions to continue despite canceling other elective surgeries. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, meanwhile, has applied the governor’s order to curtail most abortions in the state.
In New York, pro-life advocates frantically called the Respect Life Office saying that abortion clinics in the Bronx were packed with staff and clients, Sister Virginia Joy told CNA— a clear safety hazard in the very epicenter of the U.S. pandemic.
Tennessee Right to Life has been petitioning the state’s governor Bill Lee to shut down abortion facilities but “have not heard back” from the office, Mellon said. Nashville’s mayor John Cooper has been sympathetic to the abortion industry, she said, and “Planned Parenthood has got a stronghold here in Davidson County.”
And the fact that abortion providers remain open in a climate of fear and economic uncertainty is almost certainly bad news, pro-life advocates warn.
“We’re definitely worried about that,” McDonough told CNA. “I think that the economics is always the deciding factor with women considering abortion.”
“There’s just a lot of anxiety and fear, right now,” Leatherby said, noting that the phone calls and consultations at the Sacramento Life Center “just seem to be the abortion-minded in the past two weeks.”
On Monday the center had several callers hang up in the middle of the conversation. “We couldn’t seem to get women to want to talk to us. They just want that abortion, and that’s it, and there’s nothing we can do for them,” Leatherby said. “
In another case, a woman was told by her family that she was being selfish in bringing a child into the world at this time, Sister Virginia Joy said. In this case, pro-lifers need to be “getting them to be able to answer what they most want,” she said. “I think when you get to the bottom of a woman’s heart, what she most desires is to give life to her child.”
Tennessee’s abortion regulations—an “informed consent” provision and a mandatory 48-hour waiting period before having abortions—are still in effect, Mellon said, perhaps helping to reduce the number of abortions for women who are traveling to facilities in the state.
With the new coronavirus has come mass restrictions on businesses, and layoffs of workers have begun. U.S. consumers also began “panic buying” non-perishable items including baby diapers, which affected the supplies of local pregnancy care centers.
Leatherby noted that “the stores are all out of diapers and wipes,” and that several women had called the center looking for supplies as their baby showers had been canceled.
In Front Royal, women who had lost their jobs did request formula or diapers last week, McDonough said, adding that “we’re expecting to see a lot more clients like that over the next few weeks.”
Centers are also concerned about donations coming in. “Our fundraisers are all going by the wayside,” Leatherby said, noting that “anybody that could spare a gift would be really great, because I think that’s going to be a big worry coming up.”
“God is good. He’s taken care of the Life Center for 48 years now,” she said.
Prayers, however, are most needed, pro-life leaders say.
“It’s a supernatural grace that these women have to receive to choose life. It really has to be a work of the Holy Spirit,” Sister Virginia Joy said.
Last week, five women reportedly turned around before entering area abortion clinics even though no sidewalk counselors were present, she said.
They had seen people praying outside the clinic, and “that, kind of gave them a surge of hope,” she said. “They saw it as a sign to reach out for a different sort of help, not abortion, but to actually be able to choose life.”
The present crisis also presents a critical “opportunity” for society to rediscover the human dignity of the most vulnerable, she said.
“This could potentially be a huge moment of conversion, this desire to preserve life in the face of this virus,” she said. “May it be an opportunity to preserve and uphold the dignity of every human life at all stages.”