Tuesday, June 08, 2010

On the Media

Having read The "Blueprint" laid out for the American Catholic press on Thursday in New Orleans, CNS has filed a report on Friday's unprecedented bishops-media discussion on ecclesial fidelity, journalistic integrity and, above all, where the two come together.

As a highlight -- and a good start -- the Crescent City's Archbishop Greg Aymond proposed "a 'bill of rights' of sorts outlining both the bishops' expectations of the Catholic media's role in the church and what those media organizations expect of the bishops."

That said, while this year's (official) Catholic Media Convention didn't even bother to update its advertised blog last week (or, for that matter, hasn't since last year's gathering in Anaheim), it's worth noting that this summer offers a key opportunity for the already-underway conversation to continue: early August in Boston brings the growing "Catholic New Media Celebration," now in its third year, and slated to be headlined by Beantown's (blogging) cardinal-archbishop.

Along these lines, it might be the kind of thinking that would drive the Establishment -- and probably some of the newer crowd, too -- into fits, but it's pretty clear that each side can learn much from the other, that the divide(s) which exist can (and should) be crossed... and, well, that we're all in this together. (Or are we?)

In other words, what if somebody (i.e. The Church) tried getting everyone -- old and new, web and print, institutional and not, behemoths and upstarts -- together in the same room?

Sure, at first, it'd probably make for the kind of thing you see in National Geographic films, but something seems to say that, as things stand (and on both sides of the coin, really), such is the state of things now that there's nowhere to go but up... and in its wake, you could probably bet that not just the craft would benefit, but the ecclesial voice in the public square, to boot.

Again, just a thought. But for all the places where "official" church communications has excelled in the vision department over recent years, maybe an enhanced impulse toward the groundbreaking, and a new sense of synergy in the work, is just what the doctor ordered....
If the full saving message of Christ is to be presented effectively and convincingly to the world, the Catholic community in your country needs to speak with a united voice. This requires not only you, the Bishops, but also priests, teachers, catechists, writers – in short all who are engaged in the task of communicating the Gospel – to be attentive to the promptings of the Spirit, who guides the whole Church into the truth, gathers her into unity and inspires her with missionary zeal.
--B16, Ad Limina Address to the Bishops of England and Wales
1 February 2010

PHOTO: San Francisco Chronicle File