I've been getting hooked into 'Inside Catholic' over the last few weeks. They offer a wide range of articles, blog posts, video blogs, and 'symposia' (the last of these on clericalism), all in one convenient location.
For today, this blog post caught my wandering eye:
He went on to speak of the role of media.
(the media) must now be considered an integral part of the 'anthropological' question that is emerging as the key challenge of the third millennium."
As a quasi-journalist in the blogosphere, I couldn’t agree more; but, I also see that there’s a bit of “preaching to the converted” in some of the efforts of the “Catholic media”.
I’m curious as to what our readers think the role of the broader media should be, as well as how you think this blog (and Catholic media) is helping meet (or hinder) the challenge posed by Pope Benedict XVI.
This is a question that I've had to wrestle with over the last year or so as I continue to get more involved with Sacred Heart Radio here in Cincinnati, as well as the Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center where the station broadcasts.
What is the point? Is it to go all Crossroads and Vineyard and search out for the lost masses of humanity? Is it to preach to the choir, those who already believe and need the formation to live out that belief?
It is my strong belief that we in the Catholic world must provide both. We have to reach out to the unchurched, because only we as Catholics have the fullness of the Faith, the Fullness of Truth, and the restlessness in our culture could be greatly settled by re-introducing Christ. Yet, if we fail to nurture and nourish the faith of those who are already baptized, yet havn't grown in their faith, the Body still suffers. Then we have those 'Number 1's' out there who are saving the world singlehandedly.
I see three basic categories: unchurched; baptized non catechized; baptized, catechized, fire-breathing serious Catholics.
So, who is the target of this blog? Who is the target of Catholic Media? Who should be the target?
There are some who argue that we should only be forming those who already get-it. I see EWTN falling into this trap often: they provide programming for committed Catholics, programs based in Apologetics, catechesis, devotionals. Certainly we cannot forget this very important dimension of the Church's faithful. I see this crowd attending the Coming Home Network gatherings, Scott Hahn, Fr. Pacwa, et al.
Yet, if this is all we offer, I fear it is 'jumping in to the deep end of the pool,' so to speak. One thing I found about stories of converts was the times that they needed to wade into the shallow end of Catholicism and 'hide behind the pillar' when attending their first Mass for fear of being recognized as 'Not A Catholic.' Sirius Catholic Radio 159 seems to fill this void. It is more lifestyle based and I have found to be a bit more relaxed in tone than EWTN radio. (As a caveat, I listen to both, often switching back and forth on long drives.)
Yet, how much do we reach out to the unchurched. We seem to leave this aspect to the Vineyards/Crossroads community style churches who have this as a very specific mission. From the very limited interaction I've had with them, I do not detect the overt anti-Catholicism that I see in some Protestant denominations. But their ecclesiology certainly presents problems.
How do we tap into the 'great unwashed'? I would love for the evangelization class at the seminary to develop a preaching program on Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati: handouts, flyers, websites, approaches, et al. (Steal from the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons, at least on technique!) Do I have enough stock to cash in yet to broach this subject there?
How do we develop a broad based plan that covers all aspects: evangelizing the unchurched, forming the neophytes, and feeding the number 1's?
We have to do this every week in a homily, and you wondered what we do Monday through Saturday?