To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
Beginning the week before Pope Benedict XVI’s April 15 visit to the United States, Raymond Arroyo will begin hosting EWTN’s “The World Over,” which has been based in Birmingham, Ala., for 12 years, from Washington, D.C.
BY Tim Drake
Raymond Arroyo has hosted EWTN’s “The World Over” from
Birmingham, Ala., for 12 years.
Beginning the week before Pope Benedict XVI’s April 15 visit
to the United States, Arroyo will begin hosting the program from the Pope John
Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., in front of a live audience.
During the Pope’s visit, EWTN’s coverage will also be available at
Pope2008.com, the Register’s papal visit blog.
He’s kicking off the program’s move with an April 11
interview with President George Bush about the papal visit. He recently spoke
with Register senior writer Tim Drake about EWTN’s planned papal coverage while
sitting in traffic in Los Angeles.
Is it true EWTN will
be the only television station providing wall-to-wall coverage for the Pope’s
trip to the United States?
Yes, we’ll be covering the Pope’s visit from the Pope John
Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., and we’re anchoring part of it
from St. Joseph’s Seminary and part from a studio in New York.
And you’re moving to
Yes, the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center will be the home
base for “The World Over Live” beginning the second week of April. It will be
the first time that we’ll have a live audience with the show.
Visitors to Washington, D.C., will be able to send ticket
requests to EWTN.com to be in the audience. We’ll be able to accommodate about
Being in D.C. will afford access to great newsmakers that we
can’t get to Birmingham. We’ve had to rely a lot on satellite interviews. This
way, we’ll be able to bring in people from various aspects of the culture —
theologians, playwrights and policy makers, and have them all weigh in on the
issues, as well as having the audience participate.
It’s going to add to the texture and energy of the show.
The John Paul II Cultural Center has become a nexus of
dialogue for the past year or two. Cardinal Angelo Scola [of Venice] came there
to dialogue with Muslims, and head of the Iraqi parliament also came there to
give a speech. It has become kind of the Pope’s meeting place with other
religious and world leaders.
We’ve been working on this for a year and a half. When the
announcement came of the papal visit to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center,
I saw it as Providence.
How do you think the
secular media will cover the papal visit?
As I talk to my colleagues in D.C., they’re going to be
spending an enormous amount of time covering the Democratic primary races. The
Pennsylvania primary takes place on April 22 — a primary that’s likely to
decide the Democratic presidential nominee. That’s going to consume them.
The Pope’s visit also comes at a time when networks are
hemorrhaging. They don’t want to dispense huge numbers of reporters and
commentators to venues.
My guess is that they will take some of the feeds from the
visit — the White House, the visit to Ground Zero, and the U.N. event — and
that will just about do it. They won’t pull away for an hour to cover his talk
at The Catholic University of America.
Are there any events
you think that the secular media will cover?
Of all the events, the Pope’s speech to the U.N. will be the
most widely covered. That was the first event.
He was invited to give a speech at the U.N., and the rest of
the events were built around it. The rest of the events will be ignored as
sleeper news events.
Why do you think that
They really don’t know Benedict. For them, the last time he
came out of the hole was Regensburg. There’s a great deal of ignorance. They
don’t know his work and they don’t see him as compelling as Pope John Paul II
was. He doesn’t have the same resonance.
I’ve received a lot of calls over the last three months from
the press corps in Washington and New York asking me to translate this for
them. They’re curious about the event at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
and Catholic University of America, and want to know why they should care. It’s
all very foreign to them.
The processes of the Vatican are difficult for a journalist
who is used to moving in a certain way. The protocols are difficult for them to
get used to. Consequently, it’s easier for them not to cover.
That seems like a
golden opportunity for EWTN.
It is. Most of the events will be ignored by the media. The
Mass, for example, my colleagues say isn’t news. It’s a Mass. They say that
they’ll have him at other places. It’s not of national importance in their
For Catholics, it’s a golden opportunity. When Pope John
Paul II visited Cuba, all the major newscasters were there — [Tom] Brokaw,
[Dan] Rather. They covered the arrival of the Pope, but then the Monica
Lewinsky scandal broke and they were all pulled out, leaving only EWTN to
provide gavel-to-gavel coverage.
For us it’s fantastic. There will be nowhere else where
people are exposed to these events. This is our Olympics. It’s the high point
of our year, and perhaps it’s better that way.
We have the people to provide the proper context — Father
Richard John Neuhaus, Helen Alvare, Carl Anderson, Laura Ingraham, Mary Ann
Glendon. It’s a nice mixture of people from across the Catholic culture
dropping in to talk about how the visit is affecting them. Both Father Neuhaus
and Carl Anderson have the advantage of knowing the man. They’ve known him for
For us, this is a homecoming. I know no other network will
cover it this way. Given the logistical and financial realities, I don’t think
they’re capable of covering it the way we will.
When our peers are focused on the things that will dissolve
into yesterday’s headlines, we’ll be covering the eternal story.
Knowing Pope Benedict and listening to him, he’ll have a
message that is direct, profound, and commands our attention. I hope people
will be listening.
Tim Drake is based in
St. Joseph, Minnesota.