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 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  

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