Friday, August 05, 2005

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Bishop Bob Finn -- remember him? -- devotes his new column in the Catholic Key to the role of the Catholic press in distinct contrast to secular media. As predicted, he's beginning the process of turning his diocesan paper into a faithful, well-crafted, informative and orthodox alternative to The People Down the Street (NCR, as they're known).

Again, Finn knows a thing or two about Catholic press -- he served five years as editor of the St. Louis Review. The background shows:

Journalism prefers a language of more practical concepts: "short, simple, striking." So here's the challenge: How do we transmit the content of the faith and the values of Christianity in this way: short, simple, striking. How do we translate it from theology and not strip it of its depth of meaning? How do we use the means of social communication to "do" the work of the church?

Can it be done? Of course. It must be done. It has to be done. The incompatibility between the Gospel, theology and journalism is not insurmountable. It takes people who love the faith - who love the church - who believe in the church and who also study and practice the means of communication, who know journalism, who train themselves to become expert communicators. So, we are saying, it is vital to form journalists who become witnesses to the truth. This is one significant example of a true lay vocation in the church that is capable of contributing to the transformation of the world in Christ.

We have a message. It is the message of Jesus Christ. We have a mission to transmit it, and the many means of social communication offer us a monumental vehicle for reaching people. It is not an option really....

Problem is, the newspaper is a dying form -- the proportion of 18-35s who read any paper on a regular basis is just horrific. But they're here, this is their medium -- our medium -- and the offerings here have taken hold of loyal, eager audiences. Not to mention it's cheaper to produce and much more accessible....

Communication by all means, yes. But to reach what the church sees as its future, the Internet now needs to be regarded as the first and most important means of outreach.



Blogger Jeff said...

Are there diocesan newspapers that have attractive and useful internet versions? Is there any hope of getting any?

5/8/05 23:15  
Blogger CDE said...

I think you're right that the Church needs to avail itself more and more of this medium.

The blogosphere is one example of an effective outreach. I have co-workers who admit to reading my blog... and they seem to enjoy it... it's a non-confrontational way for them to learn what I believe.

Rome gets the vision, but there's need for greater implementation. I think podcasting - and video podcasting - will be the next major cybermissionfield.

If you're looking for docs that Rome has issued re: using the Internet, stop by my archives page. I've created PDF, printer-friendly study versions of four texts, with footnotes (rather than endnotes).

6/8/05 04:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The easiest way to transmit the largest content of Christianity quickly is by displaying beauty in terms of meaningful but beautiful scenes. The builders of stained glass windows, cathedrals and icons knew this back when Europe was first converted....

The internet is a Godsend for transmitting truth quickly by means of beautiful panoramas of the faith.

6/8/05 08:15  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

The problem with the internet, of course, is that any old fool with the time and a gift of gab can present him(her)self as an "expert" Catholic. Lord only knows, we've seen enough of THAT in the various sites in St. Blog's parish. Those of us who prowl these sites realize that opinions are like butts: everyone has one.

Many folks who preach long and hard about aligning oneself to the teachings of the Holy Roman Magisterium are perfectly willing to preach against anything that they don't like that comes out of Rome.

As with anything else that one reads on the 'net, when it comes to learning about Catholicism, "caveat emptor big time."

6/8/05 09:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any old fool can present himself in print also. And it's not like that hasn't been done!!!! There are heretics' books up the yinyang that have been used in Cahtolic schools for years.

No, we are talking about sheer evangelism here, in terms of bringing the faith to the world...and nothing succeeds like beauty. This is not a conjecture; it is the evidence of centuries. Beauty is one of the voices of faith.

6/8/05 09:27  

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