Gloria Purvis: Faithful and Fearless
When Gloria Purvis was twelve, something remarkable happened to her. Praying before the Blessed Sacrament, she suddenly felt a spiritual fire move throughout her soul. It was the kind of thing one reads about in the lives of saints—except that Gloria wasn’t even a Catholic at the time, much less an aspiring mystic.
When she was growing up in South Carolina, her Protestant parents wanted to send her to the best school in town, which just happened to be Catholic. It was there, under the care of the school’s dedicated nuns, the Oblate Sisters of Providence, that Gloria’s original “Catholic moment” took place.
It was not something anyone saw coming—least of all Gloria. Up until then, she had been like a younger version of the protagonist in the film Ladybird—a non-Catholic in a Catholic parochial school, appreciating her education, but wondering what this whole “Catholic thing” was about, and occasionally wrestling with it. But the beauty and mystery of the Church’s teachings and liturgy kept tugging at her heart, leading to that indelible moment.
On the day it occurred, Gloria and her classmates had gotten into a food fight, which did not go down well with their teacher, Sister Carmelita. Even though the children quickly cleaned up their mess, Sister didn’t leave the matter there. Gently but firmly, she asked each of the students to stand up and acknowledge their sin, then brought them to the school’s chapel for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as an act of reparation. It was there, during Gloria’s supernatural encounter with the Holy Eucharist, that her life began to change: She was convinced that God was calling her to become a Catholic. Eventually she announced her intentions to her family. Expecting resistance, she received only love and support. Gloria’s parents, who attended a Methodist Church, respected their daughter’s decision to become a faithful Catholic and actively helped her become one. They drove Gloria to Mass every Sunday and made sure she observed each Holy Day of Obligation. Her Baptist grandmother even taught Gloria how to pray the rosary—not to mention accompanying her to see Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II.
Along with her family and friends, the Church became an indispensable part of Gloria’s life, and helped her endure the harrowing racism she encountered as a child. As she revealed to a reporter:
I grew up in the cradle of the Confederacy. I remember as an elementary school girl, coming home from Catholic school, waiting on the bus in downtown Charleston, when a pickup truck of Citadel cadets drove by. One guy pretend-aimed at me like he had a rifle or gun and he was shooting me dead. And I just remember the vulnerability of standing out there as a child at that moment and thinking to myself, “Why?”1
The contrast between the serenity of her faith and the cruelty of the world was stark, but Gloria drew strength from the Church’s teachings on justice, truth, and equality. As Gloria matured, she became such an effective witness for Catholicism that all her siblings also entered the Church.
Today, Gloria Purvis is one of the best-known lay Catholic evangelists in America.2 Although she never set out to become one, her resounding affirmation of Catholic teaching, especially its defense of human life and dignity, has placed her at the forefront of the pro-life and racial justice movements. Rather than separate the two, Gloria believes passionately that both movements are inextricably bound—and that expanding the pro-life vision, rather than restricting it, will increase its vitality and influence.
That Gloria has achieved such prominence as a woman, an African American, and a Catholic—even while battling misogyny, racism, and anti-Catholicism—speaks to her resilient character. She has never feared proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, nor let the prejudices of others stifle the joy and hope that is within her.
A Second Baptism by Fire
While Gloria’s early Catholic conversion was a pivotal event in her spiritual life, it wasn’t the only one. After graduating from Cornell University, she was blessed to marry a man who shared her faith and values; in addition, she soon experienced professional success in the mortgage and finance industry. Just when things seemed to be going exceptionally well, however, another unexpected jolt upended Gloria’s world.
Attending Mass with her husband at St. Augustine Church in Washington, D.C., the mother church of African-American Catholics, Gloria was reciting the Nicene Creed. As she came to the part that proclaims, “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life,” something extraordinary happened. “It was like, ‘Boom!’” Gloria recalls vividly:
I heard a voice say, “Are you lying? Are you blaspheming? How can you say you believe I am the ‘Lord, the Giver of Life’ and yet do nothing to defend my gift of life on earth? How do you expect to receive the gift of eternal life when you have done nothing to protect life as I have given it?”
Gloria fell to her knees and asked for the Lord’s guidance. Immediately she experienced an overwhelming desire to better understand Catholic teaching and spread its message far and wide.
At the time, Gloria was as sincere a Catholic as she had ever been, but (as she explained to me in an interview), “I was more of an in-the-pew practicing Catholic,” not one involved in any Church ministry. That all changed after her “spiritual chastisement,” as she calls it, which she describes as a loving but necessary wake-up call from the Lord.
From that day forward, Gloria began living out her faith in a more meaningful way. She and her husband began actively promoting the full complement of Catholic teachings—educating their fellow parishioners about chastity; upholding the sanctity of marriage; combatting the serious sin of racism; defending the poor and oppressed; protecting the environment; leading Catholic youth groups; and organizing pro-life discussions. But that was not all. Committed to Vatican II’s “call to holiness” for the laity (and not just for the clergy and members of religious orders), the Purvises went to Confession frequently and practiced the corporal and spiritual works of mercy (such as feeding the hungry and visiting the sick).
Holding firm to the Church’s magisterium as authoritatively interpreted by the popes was also essential to Gloria’s formation, for it provided the foundation that allowed her Catholic evangelization to flourish.
Before long, word of Gloria’s dynamic orthodoxy spread, and she was in demand as a speaker, teacher, and commentator about all things Catholic. She began appearing on major news programs, and her speeches garnered attention. One of her most memorable talks occurred at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., in 2012, shortly after the Obama administration passed its highly controversial contraceptive mandate. Gloria’s response was pointed and effective:
“I am going to talk to you about this from a woman’s perspective as a woman’s issue, because I think we should talk about that as Catholics, right?” she began. “. . . So let me just start off by saying that this whole idea of contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients as being necessary for a woman’s health is actually demeaning to women.”
Undergirding this idea, she continued, “is the perception that women, because of our fertility, are deficient and we need ‘fixing.’”
Women are told “we need pills to be made whole,” yet when the pills fail, “we are suddenly told we need something stronger”—invariably, abortion. And women supposedly need to abort their offspring “to be made free, but we know that isn’t true.”
“The fact that our government is mandating contraceptive coverage be made available and free to all women further presses this false perception into the American psyche. If left unchallenged, what will be the effect upon future generations?”
Gloria then offered her own prediction of America’s dystopian future if these alarming trends continued: The commodification of sex, fueled by birth control, would quickly lead to the commodification of the human person. As a result, the classic conception of human beings would disappear, for gender would no longer be considered a distinct, objective fact, but “merely an idea in one’s head.” Marriage would no longer be defined as a solemn union between a man and a woman, for “there will be no such thing as male and female”—sexual identity having been reduced “to a mere surgical choice.” The biblical conception of marriage would be seriously undermined, as would much of our Judeo-Christian heritage. Nothing stable about the human person or sexuality would remain, as everything would be up for grabs in a brave new world of unending relativism.
Gloria ended her talk with several striking questions: “How much more unhinged from reality are we going to become? And at what cost to our society, to our families, to our nation—and most importantly, to our souls?”3
Gloria’s talk was delivered a decade ago, but it sounds as if it was given yesterday, for the contraceptive mandate is still aggressively promoted, same-sex marriage has been legalized in all 50 states, and gender ideology has become a new social dogma in Hollywood, the media, corporate America, the academy, and even large segments of our Churches.
Gloria’s speech was not only prophetic: It was a breakout moment for her, and she quickly emerged as a leading Catholic voice in America’s public square.
At that point, Gloria made a bold decision. Determined to build up her treasures in heaven rather than on earth, she left her lucrative financial job to become a full-time Catholic evangelist. It was not only a spiritually rewarding choice, but one that was liberating, for “the hostility in the business sector toward women who believe in traditional morality, especially those who want to become moms, is just astonishing,” she told me. Gloria cannot count the times she was scolded by fellow workers for being a practicing Catholic, or lectured about how oppressive and backward the Catholic Church supposedly was. But she vigorously defended her faith whenever challenged; and left the business world on her own terms, without backing down on her principles.
A Big Break and the Miracle of Life
Gloria’s first major break in her renewed walk with Christ occurred when EWTN, the popular television network founded by the late Mother Angelica, entrusted Gloria (along with Damon Owens and Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers) with hosting a series entitled Authentically Free at Last. Over a dozen episodes on topics such as conscience, true love, marriage, and vocations built upon the theme that society confuses freedom with license. Authentic freedom, the hosts emphasized, means following God’s plans for our lives and avoiding the deceptive temptations of secularism, which defines “freedom” as the right to do whatever we want, rather than what we ought. By acting morally and responsibly, they explained, we not only avoid the quicksand of sin, but contribute to the common good and overall health of our society. As winsome as it was educational, Authentically Free at Last remains a model of how to evangelize the culture without downplaying biblical truths, but communicating them with love and affection.4
A Private Cross
Even as Gloria’s work received acclaim, she was carrying a cross in her personal life.
As soon as they were married, Gloria and her husband sought to start a Catholic family. But their dreams were dashed when the couple discovered they were infertile—or so they thought. For fifteen years they tried to conceive without success; what made their pain even more acute was that their struggle to conceive was occurring at the same time they were exhorting other Catholic couples to remain fully open to new life. Some people began whispering behind their backs: Given that Gloria and her husband had no children themselves, were they practicing what they preached?
The Purvises suffered these unfounded suspicions in silence, but they never gave up hope or allowed their difficulties to shake their faith. Nor did they pursue in vitro fertilization, knowing it violates God’s plan for marriage. Though they were informed by certain specialists that they would never have a child of their own, the couple continued hoping and praying, even visiting the famous healing shrine at Lourdes. And Gloria eventually became pregnant! After all those years of infertility, Gloria and her husband were thrilled. It was a moment of overwhelming gratitude, and a powerful example of the efficacy of prayer. Yet no sooner did their rejoicing begin than a host of unwelcome forces tried to end it.
Running Through the Anti-Life Gauntlet
When Gloria went to discuss her pregnancy with her obstetrician, she expected warm congratulations and compassionate counsel. Instead, she received a heavy dose of the culture of death. The doctor said little about nurturing Gloria’s unborn child—but dwelt on everything that could go wrong with her pregnancy, given her age and medical history. Frightening scenarios were described. Then the doctor revealed her real agenda: to advise Gloria to have an abortion, since that would be “the most loving thing one could do” to avoid the suffering brought on by a “problematic” child.
Gloria was shocked. “The medical establishment says it believes in a woman’s choice, but my experience taught me that it believes in choice only when the human lives involved are ‘perfect,’ according to their worldly standards.” Gloria told her doctor that she and her husband had no fear of a child with special needs, were well-insured, and would spare no expense to sustain her pregnancy. In addition, they would never consider any child of theirs imperfect, much less a “problem.” Still the obstetrician pressed Gloria: “What might your husband think about having a severely disabled child?”
At that point, Gloria, barely containing her indignation, did not hold back. “Doctor, you don’t want me to leave this room and tell my husband that you want me to kill his firstborn—believe me, you don’t want to go there. And neither will I.”
The doctor, stunned and embarrassed, quickly changed the subject, saying, “OK, thank you very much; the appointment is over.”
But Gloria’s pregnancy was not over, nor were her battles with other doctors and ultrasound technicians who also discussed “termination” of her pregnancy. Gloria had to fight the anti-life gauntlet—as many expectant mothers do—right up to the day of her delivery.
But what a day that was! Her new baby girl, “Lourdes Grace,” was born perfectly healthy, and her parents named her after the famous grotto where they had prayed for her conception.
A few months after the birth, Gloria revisited the obstetrician who had campaigned for Gloria to undergo an abortion. The moment the doctor saw Lourdes, “you could see that she was visibly chastened,” recalls Gloria. After gathering herself, the doctor finally exclaimed, “She’s so beautiful!”
“Yes,” affirmed Gloria, “and more importantly, she is a child of God.”
Yet Gloria expresses only good will for her former doctor today: “My hope is that having seen firsthand the miracle of Lourdes’ birth, she will never again counsel a woman to have an abortion—however bad things may look.”5
Morning Glory and the Cost of Discipleship
While embracing her role as a new mom, Gloria spent a period of discernment, awaiting her next opportunity to evangelize. When EWTN offered her one that allowed her ample time to raise Lourdes with the help of her husband, Gloria welcomed it. In 2015, the network gave Gloria her own early morning radio program, designed to speak to contemporary Catholics. Entitled Morning Glory, it was a lively wake-up show covering current events inside and outside the Church, in-depth discussions of theological and moral issues, and light-hearted segments on cooking, travel, and entertainment. Each program began with a reading from Sacred Scripture and ended with a prayer of thanks to God. While the show benefited from several thoughtful co-hosts, including numerous priests, Gloria remained its irreplaceable constant, offering robust Christ-centered commentaries to her global audience.
When Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, whom Gloria had worked so well with on Authentically Free at Last, became her permanent co-host, Morning Glory hit its stride. Five years into its run, the radio show was earning widespread praise as one of EWTN’s best programs.
Its popularity and success, however, were thrown into controversy in 2020, when the Texas-based Guadalupe Radio Network—EWTN’s largest American radio affiliate—“temporarily suspended” the show for an alleged “spirit of contention.”6 The announcement came as a complete surprise to Gloria and her hosts, who remained the best of friends, even when they had respectful disagreements on air. Although EWTN initially gave Morning Glory a vote of confidence after Guadalupe’s decision, pledging that the show would continue on EWTN’s main airwaves, there was a sense that, from that moment on, Morning Glory was on thin ice.
It wasn’t lost on many observers that Guadalupe’s announcement suspending the program came shortly after the brutal police killing of George Floyd—which Gloria had powerfully condemned on Morning Glory, describing it as symptomatic of the history of racism and police brutality in America. In addition, the two “contentious” episodes Guadalupe cited in suspending Morning Glory were precisely the ones in which Gloria had addressed these topics frankly.7 She also spoke forcefully on the show about the history of racism in Christianity—including in the Catholic Church, which once had leaders who owned and sold slaves, held segregated Masses, and barred blacks and other minorities from entering religious orders. Many Catholics have little or no knowledge about this tragic history, because it was never a part of their public (or even parochial) curriculums—an omission Gloria consistently tried to remedy on Morning Glory, recommending historical works and many Church documents against racism.8
Gloria’s overriding theme in all her discussions on race-relations was and is that racism is a life issue, and that resisting and opposing this grave sin is as much a pro-life imperative as defending the lives of the unborn.9 That is why, after watching the agonizing nine-minute video of George Floyd’s murder, she compared the experience to “watching an abortion”—a comment that directly challenged both those who abhor racism, but not abortion, and those who passionately protest abortion, but not racism.10
“If we truly believe that everyone is created in the image and likeness of God and that everyone has an intrinsic worth and dignity,” she told me, “then that applies to all human beings without exception—no matter what their stage in life, and no matter what they may have done.”
One of the most disturbing aspects of George Floyd’s killing is how many self-described prolifers attempted to minimize his death by citing his previous arrest record, as if that somehow lessened the gravity of his gruesome murder. “It was an effort to dehumanize George Floyd and erase the flagrant violation of his human rights,” Gloria says—something that, to their credit, prolifers never do when the victims are the unborn, the elderly, and the disabled. “Unless we condemn the radical evil of racism as strongly and consistently as the radical evil of abortion,” she continued, “we will betray our principles and contradict the Gospel of Life.”
As for speaking honestly and openly about the Christian community’s complicity in racism, past and present, it may be uncomfortable or even painful at first, she says, but it is the “responsible and moral thing to do—and the first step toward a heartfelt racial reconciliation between all peoples.”
Evaluating the history of American racism through a deep spiritual lens, Gloria asserted, “If we do not call out racism whenever we see it, then we let the devil continue to confuse and divide us. Can you imagine going to Confession and saying, ‘Father, there is something I know which is very sinful, and which I’ve been a part of, but I don’t want to talk about it?’ I mean how else are we going to rid ourselves of the sin of racism unless we name it, repent of it, make amends for it, and ask for God’s forgiveness and His grace and blessing in helping us not commit it again?”
If anyone expected that Guadalupe Radio’s effort to undercut Morning Glory would go unnoticed or impede Gloria’s mission, they miscalculated. No sooner did Guadalupe make its announcement than something remarkable happened, revealing how unifying and respected a figure Gloria was. Catholics across the theological and political spectrum—from the National Catholic Reporter’s Heidi Schlumpf and America magazine’s Fr. James Martin to March for Life President Jeanne Mancini and Princeton’s Professor Robert George—rallied to Gloria’s defense. So too did a host of religious and high-ranking Catholic leaders. The day the suspension of Gloria’s show was announced, Bishop Michael Sis, whose San Angelo, Texas, diocese encompasses the headquarters of Guadalupe Radio Network, tweeted: “I hope the beloved Morning Glory program with Gloria Purvis and others will soon return to the GRN. As we confront the sin of racism, we must fully acknowledge the hurt and injustice, listen in a spirit of mutual respect, and seek more constructive ways to live with one another.”11 Samuel Aquila, the Archbishop of Denver, followed with his own wholehearted support: “Gloria, you are helping Catholics and society see the sin of racism as an attack on human life! You are a great witness to the culture of life, the dignity of every human person no matter their color, & you are a beloved daughter of the Father! Persevere! Blessings!”12
For her part, Gloria continued to express her Catholic beliefs on Morning Glory, including the Church’s teaching against racism. This unsettled some listeners and even pushed some over the edge. After Gloria discussed the need to reform certain police departments that had notorious records against minorities, she was accused of wanting to abolish the police; and when she expressed qualified support for the black lives matter movement—sharply distinguishing between the radical organization that holds views antithetical to Christian beliefs, and the far broader peaceful movement which simply wants to defend the fundamental civil rights of blacks—she was accused of sanctioning attacks against the police, and even of being a “Marxist.”13
The first charge carries no weight, and the second is manifestly absurd, but detractors have not hesitated to twist her words and misrepresent her. Like Pope Francis, Gloria is an ardent advocate for the rights of minorities, but an equally strong opponent of political violence.14 Gloria has both relatives and friends in the police force, and strongly supports them. In 2016, after five police officers were ambushed and brutally murdered in Dallas, she called their killings “horrific,” and declared that “violence against police must stop.”15 She confines her criticism of officers and departments to those that engage in reckless, immoral behavior, and calls attention to their crimes because she has such high expectations for their calling—to protect the common good and uphold the public trust.16
Gloria’s support for police officers who serve honorably, combined with necessary reforms and accountability for those who don’t, reflects what Dr. Clarence Jones, one of Martin Luther King’s closest advisors, recently advocated. As Catholic San Francisco reported:
The man who helped Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. draft his historic “I’ve Got a Dream” speech in 1963 called George Floyd’s killing a “tipping point,” but said racial injustice will not be healed without acknowledgment and accountability He called King America’s “preeminent apostle of love, non-violence and commitment to the pursuit of personal excellence and social justice.”
Despite calls from some activists to defund police, Jones said he is not a proponent. However, he said, police budgets should be reviewed to see if they are “rational” given the other needs in African American communities.
“There is nothing in my work and legacy working with Dr. King that suggest we don’t want police,” Jones said. “Let’s get sensible and real,” he continued. “The African American communities, we need the police. I want the police to be in our communities. I just don’t want them kneeling on our neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and killing us.”17
As for the far-fetched allegation that Gloria is a Marxist, her Catholic credentials speak for themselves. In addition to her appearances at many Catholic venues, she has been a board member of the Northwest Pregnancy Center and Maternity Home in Washington, D.C.; an advisory member of the Maryland Catholic Conference’s Respect for Life Department; a member of the National Black Catholic Congress’ Leadership Commission on Social Justice; and the Chairperson for Black Catholics United for Life. She is also a Third Order Carmelite who spends many hours in prayer cultivating her interior spiritual life, drawing sustenance from saints like Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales, and Catherine of Siena. Gloria Purvis is no more a Marxist than are the Little Sisters of the Poor.
In a world that has become excessively polarized and politicized, she has striven to place her faith above ideology. “I’m not a conservative. I’m not a liberal. I’m just Catholic,” she affirms.18 “When I talk about racism, it isn’t because I am ‘woke,’’’ she declares. “It is because racism is a sin and people go to hell for it.”19 She has exhorted Catholics to “expel this demon of racism” through fasting and prayer.20 Talking to the New York Times, she denounced racism in biblical terms: “Racism makes a liar of God. It says not everyone is made in His image. What a horrible lie from the pit of hell.”21
For expressing such views while still hosting Morning Glory—and notwithstanding her impeccable record of defending traditional Catholic teachings that “progressives” stridently dissent from—Gloria told me that she continued to receive “terrible” messages of abuse from self-proclaimed devout Catholics.
In response, Gloria reached out to her misguided critics, appealing to their better angels: “I sincerely pray that people consider that what they opposed was not me but rather an invitation to broaden their view of the human family to include Black people and to love us as they love themselves in accord with God’s plan.”22
I would like to report that Gloria’s heartfelt appeal won her critics over, and that Morning Glory was restored to its rightful stature on the airwaves, but its run did not end happily. Ignoring Bishop Sis’s appeal to resume airing the program, Guadalupe Radio Network turned its “temporary” suspension into a permanent cancellation. Ironically, Guadalupe’s home page on the internet highlights Bishop Sis’s 2014 endorsement of their network—without mentioning his more recent hope that Morning Glory would continue.23 By the end of 2020, EWTN also quietly dropped the radio show, without explanation.24 Just like that, Gloria’s years at the network were forgotten, and she became persona non grata. The price Gloria paid for speaking out against racism, in the manner she did, compelled by her conscience, recalls what Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great Lutheran theologian, wrote about “the cost of discipleship.”25
Gloria, however, has no second thoughts about taking her stand against racism, any more than she regrets championing the rights of the unborn: “I will never, ever, ever have regrets for shining the light of the Gospel on a situation that was surrounded by darkness.”26
A Welcome Return
Never one to hold grudges, Gloria graciously moved on after EWTN canceled her show.
In May 2021, Gloria announced that she would be starting a new weekly podcast, The Gloria Purvis Show, produced by America Media, the Jesuit communications ministry that includes America magazine. Not surprisingly, Gloria has hit the ground running; she has already aired podcasts on topics ranging from abortion, racism, capital punishment, religious liberty, and human sexuality, to sin, violence, seminary formation, and proper reception of the Holy Eucharist—thankfully, without interference from her employer. America Media knew when they hired her that they would be getting nothing less than the full-dimensional Gloria Purvis.27
In addition to reclaiming much of her old audience from Morning Glory, Gloria has attracted a new generation of followers who are eager to hear an independent Catholic voice like hers, and she is excited and appreciative to engage them.
Recognizing her achievements, Our Sunday Visitor named Gloria one of their “Catholics of the Year” for 2020; and in 2021, the University of Notre Dame’s Office of Life and Human Dignity appointed Gloria their inaugural Pastoral Fellow.28 Despite all the efforts to “cancel” her, Gloria’s witness is stronger than ever.
Throughout it all, Gloria has retained her immense gratitude for the Lord’s guidance, and humility about her own accomplishments. “I’m just an ordinary Catholic encouraging people to reject sin and get on the path to holiness,” she told me, after I expressed an interest in writing about her. “There really isn’t anything special about me.”
But that is one comment her admirers might respectfully contest—for Gloria Purvis’s whole life and witness testify to the transforming power of the Gospel; and there is no one quite like her on the American scene today. She is a gift to the Catholic Church and a tremendous asset to the pro-life and racial justice movements, knowing how to combine the two with eloquent persuasion. Faithful and fearless, Gloria is a true inspiration to prolifers everywhere—and will be, no doubt, for many years to come.
1. From Gloria’s interview with Brian Fraga in “‘I Honestly Think Racism is Demonic,’: Despite Critics, EWTN’S Gloria Purvis Not Afraid to Call Out Injustice,” Our Sunday Visitor online, June 25, 2020.
2. For a moving first-hand account of how Gloria became a Catholic and why she remains one today, see her introduction to chapter two, “Knowing and Loving the Body of Christ,” in That Nothing May be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion by Rev. Paul D. Scalia (Ignatius Press, 2017).
3. See “Gloria Purvis—HHS Mandate Is Anti-Woman: Catholics Need to Speak Up,” on YouTube, March 7, 2012; and Gloria’s more recent podcast, “The Transgender Movement,” Real Presence Radio, #9234 (available online). Gloria has always expressed compassion for those with gender dysphoria, while firmly upholding Catholic teaching on the sexes, affirmed in “Male and Female He Created Them,” issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, on February 2, 2019.
4. The whole series of Authentically Free at Last is still available to purchase from www.ewtn.com; and also www.amazon.com.
5. Quotes and details for this section of my essay (“Running Through the Anti-Life Gauntlet”) are from Gloria’s extensive interview with me and three excellent articles: “A Voice for Life” by Katie Bahr in The Arlington Catholic Herald online, April 24, 2013; “EWTN Personality Gloria Purvis Shares Her Story of Life at St. Gianna Benefit” by Patrick J. Buechi, Western New York Catholic online, March 1, 2018; and “Purvis Delivers Keynote on Racism, Abortion and Medical Care,” The Iowa Standard online, no byline, October 7, 2019.
6. See “EWTN’s largest radio affiliate drops Morning Glory, as host Gloria Purvis continues to speak out about racism” by Brian Fraga, Our Sunday Visitor online, June 26, 2020.
7. The two Morning Glory episodes in question aired on June 17, 2020, and June 25, 2020, and are still available on YouTube: see, “Morning Glory 06/17/20,” YouTube; and “Morning Glory 06/25/20,” YouTube.
8. Gloria frequently recommends that Catholics—and not just Catholics—study such important works as The History of Black Catholics in the United States by Cyprian Davis (Herder and Herder, 1995); Authentically Black and Truly Catholic: The Rise of Black Catholicism in the Great Migrations by Matthew J. Cressler (NYU Press, 2017); Parish Boundaries: The Catholic Encounter with Race in the Twentieth-Century Urban North by John T. McGreevy (University of Chicago Press, 1998); Desegregating the Altar: The Josephites and the Struggle for Black Priests, 1871-1960 by Stephen
J. Ochs (Louisiana State University Press, 1990); Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience by LaReine-Marie Mosely, et al. (Orbis Books, 2009); Black Catholics on the Road to Sainthood by Michael Heinlein (Our Sunday Visitor, 2021); Slavery by Another Name: The ReEnslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas Blackmon (Anchor, 2009); The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (Liveright, 2018); and the PBS series’ Eyes on the Prize and The African Americans (by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr.); along with the individual and collective pastoral letters on racism by America’s Catholic bishops, especially their most recent collective one, “Open Wide Our Hearts” (2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops).
9. This was the theme of an important panel discussion at the University of Notre Dame, “Racism Is a Life Issue,” including Gloria Purvis as a participant, available for viewing on YouTube, July 28, 2020.
10. See Gloria’s comments on the George Floyd video in the roundtable discussion “Racism in Our Streets and Structures,” hosted by Georgetown University, available on YouTube, June 5, 2020; and “For Black Catholics, Fighting Racism Means Putting Faith in Action” by Sophie Martinson, The Angelus online, June 30, 2020.
11. Tweet by Bishop Michael J. Sis, June 26, 2020.
12. Tweet by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila on June 26, 2020.
13. Gloria mentioned this in my interview with her; for additional details, see “Paying the Price for Anti-Racism Work” by Heidi Schlumpf, The National Catholic Reporter, July 1, 2020.
14. See “Pope Francis Condemns Death of George Floyd, Calls U.S. Unrest ‘Disturbing’” by Valentina DiDonato and Delia Gallagher, CNN online, June 3, 2020.
15.“What’s Missing from the National Conversation on Race, Violence, and Lethal Force? You,” by Gloria Purvis, Catholic News Agency, July 14, 2016.
16. See Gloria’s comments in “The Role of Catholics in Fighting Police Aggression” by Adelaide Mena, Catholic News Agency, October 18, 2016.
17. See Jones’s comments in “USF Speaker: Racial Reconciliation Futile Without Accountability,” Catholic San Francisco online, no byline, June 24, 2020.
18. See “Gloria Purvis: I’m Not a Conservative. I’m Not a Liberal. I’m Just Catholic,” her introduction to her new podcast, America magazine online, May 11, 2021. See Gloria’s comments at the American Solidarity Party’s “Faith and Politics” discussion at its 2021 National Convention, available on YouTube, July 8, 2021.
19. Gloria Purvis on Twitter, May 28, 2020.
20. See “How Catholics Can Work to ‘Expel this Demon of Racism,’” Catholic News Agency, July 1, 2020.
21. See “Racism Makes a Liar of God” by Elizabeth Bruenig, The New York Times, August 6, 2020.
22. Gloria Purvis on Twitter, April 21, 2021.
23. See Bishop Sis’s 2014 letter to the Guadalupe Radio Network in the “Bishops Endorsements” section of Guadalupe Radio Network’s main website, at https://www.grnonline.com/en/documents/ parish/5-bishop-of-san-angelo-letter/file
24. See “Morning Glory Officially Out at EWTN” by Nate Tinner-Williams, Black Catholic Messenger, December 30, 2020; and “Gloria Purvis’ Radio Show Morning Glory Pulled from EWTN’s Airwaves,” by Christopher White, The National Catholic Reporter, December 30, 2020.
25. See Bonhoeffer’s classic work The Cost of Discipleship (Touchstone, 1995).
26. See “Former EWTN Radio Host Gloria Purvis Has No Regrets Talking About Race” by Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, January 5, 2021.
27. See “Gloria Purvis to Host New Podcast on America media” by Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, May 12, 2021.
28. See the University’s online press release, “Notre Dame Office of Life and Human Dignity Welcomes Gloria Purvis as Inaugural Pastoral Fellow” by Anna Bradley, October 13, 2021. In her new role, Gloria will be developing new programs for the Church to enhance respect for human life and dignity, “particularly around timely and pressing issues like racial justice.”
William Doino Jr., a contributor to Inside the Vatican and First Things, among many other publications, writes often about religion, history, and politics. He has published an 80,000-word annotated bibliography on Pope Pius XII, which appears in the anthology The Pius War: Responses to the Critics of Pius XII (Lexington Books), available in hardcover, paperback, and in Kindle format.
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I love Gloria and I believe she is a faithful daughter of the church. I learned alot from her on Morning Glory, BUT.As a faithful listener looking for a good way to start the day, I started to hate the show. During covid she was very judgemental and lacking in charity. She quoted false Twitter stories and I have proof.I don’t think it was intentional but she used Twitter to get her news and as a result bore false witness! She was very rough with her cohosts as well, both of them. Covid was bad enough I didn’t want to listen, but I hung in because of the past good will. I am glad she is continuing. She is a necessary, wonderful voice. I don’t know what happened with GRN but I am a listener who became lost enthusiasm because Gloria’s lack of Christian charity on the show.Case in point, her rather enthusiatic announcement about EWTN’s Fr Rutler accusation who it now seems was falsely accused. DEACON Sivers had to remind her that he was “accused”.