April 15, 2016

Letters to the Editor

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Mother Angelica’s greatest virtues included her wisdom and defense of the faith

After reading several tributes to Mother Angelica, primarily those in The Criterion, I am persuaded that something important has been left out. For some reason, everyone seems to have ignored what are arguably mother’s two greatest virtues: her infused wisdom and her combative spirit.

Although Mother Angelica lacked advanced degrees in theology, she was well grounded in the faith. No doubt the Holy Spirit provided her with something much better than a Ph.D. That something was wisdom.

As a teacher and television counselor, she always managed to strike just the right balance: She did not oversimply Catholic teachings, but she made them as simple as possible.

This Poor Clare nun had a rare talent for using small words to express big ideas, and she was spontaneous enough to make audiences double over with laughter. She was, as they say in the world of broadcasters, an “effective communicator.”

Mother Angelica also embodied the principle of Pope Leo XIII: “Catholics are born for combat.”

Because she had cultivated the tough love, she could stand alone and challenge the same high-ranking Churchmen she was bound to obey, especially if she thought they were flirting with a progressive agenda. If they needed to be offended, then she would offend them. She totally rejected the absurd notion that bad ideas should be accepted in the name of “tolerance.”

Sadly, many of her detractors misunderstood her, characterizing her righteous indignation as a “hot temper.” It may well be the case that they focused on her “tone,” so that they could conveniently ignore the substance of what was actually being said.

To me, this is Mother Angelica’s true spiritual legacy. She was a wise teacher who was willing to take up arms in defense of the faith.

- Stephen L. Bussell | Indianapolis

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