When I was still a miserable atheist in a career as a public policy analyst in Washington D.C. in the early-mid 90s, I would come home at night and turn on cable TV and flip through the channels, and I repeatedly found myself watching EWTN.
When people asked me why an atheist would want to watch this channel, I told them that I found it refreshing to find Catholics who didn’t act like “open-minded,” effete hippies, who dressed the part and unapologetically proclaimed the traditional doctrines of the faith.
“I love this!” I told one friend. “This is like something out of the Middle Ages!”
I particularly enjoyed watching a cackling old nun, the kind that I understood to have been typical of orders in the 1950s, defending her religion and fearlessly denouncing the corruption in the Church. Her name was Mother Angelica. I never met her in person but I hope she can see this post now so I can tell her how much she meant to me.
I believe that of all my Facebook friends only Tom Bethell and Sasha Volokh knew me then, and remember how I was falling apart, despite all of my worldly “success.” Mother Angelica’s TV apostolate is one of the main reasons I’m here today, why I didn’t lose my soul, my mind, and my life. She reached into my northern Virginia townhouse and brought me the truth, and this foolish atheist who had scoffed at and even mocked our Lord finally became a Catholic.
My poor thank you can never be enough, but I thank you, Mother Angelica. You brought me into contact with the glory of the Catholic faith and gave me an example of a fearless opponent of ecclesiastical corruption, one I hope to follow the rest of my life. May you rest forever in the joy and peace of Christ.