Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cardinal O'Malley's Catholic Media Secretariat: Will it evangelize the digital continent or contribute to the digital wasteland?

Cardinal Sean O'Malley, at his Blog, writes: "...I've asked Scot Landry, Secretary for Catholic Media, to discuss what we're doing as an archdiocese to evangelize through the use of media."  And then Mr. Landry chimes in:

"On July 1, 2010, Cardinal Se├ín established the Catholic Media Secretariat. This action instituted a group into the organizational structure of the Archdiocese whose purpose is to implement Pope Benedict’s call to put all forms of media, old and new, at the service of the primary mission of the Church, which is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world. The Holy Father specifically asked the Church at all levels to evangelize the 'digital continent.'"  Mr. Landry then quotes from our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI:

"I ask you to introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives. In the early life of the Church, the great Apostles and their disciples brought the Good News of Jesus to the Greek and Roman world. Just as, at that time, a fruitful evangelization required that careful attention be given to understanding the culture and customs of those pagan peoples so that the truth of the gospel would touch their hearts and minds, so also today, the proclamation of Christ in the world of new technologies requires a profound knowledge of this world if the technologies are to serve our mission adequately...

It falls, in particular, to [those] who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this 'digital continent'. Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the 'Good News' of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people. Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds!" (Message Of The Holy Father Benedict XVI For The 43rd World Communications Day, 24 January 2009).

Mr. Landry asserts that, "Under Cardinal Sean's leadership and initiative, the Archdiocese of Boston has been a leader in embracing new methods to share our faith, connect with others, and inspire others to help us build a civilization of love."

Civilization of love?  Deal Hudson notes here how the Archdiocese of Boston blocked access to the Boston Catholic Insider Blog. He writes, "The controversy leading to this action by the Boston Archdiocese was precipitated by the troubling issues surrounding the proposed sale of Caritas Christi Healthcare, owned by the Archdiocese, to Cerebus Capital. Having watched this story develop for quite a while, and having kept abreast of the ongoing narrative, I agree with those blogging at that the sale is rife with conflict of interest issues. This attempt of the Boston Archdiocese to act in loco parentis towards its employees not only looks silly but also demonstrates an ignorance of how the internet works. Whoever made the decision to block the 'offending' web site will have a hard time blocking all the Catholic web sites containing links to information about the sale of Caritas Christi.."

Yes, feel the love.  While orthodox Catholics are castigated and accused of harming the community, here's what has passed for "evangelization" which builds a "civilization of love."   And let's not forget the "Rainbow Ministry" at St. Cecilia's Parish in Boston's Back Bay.

In an essay on the meaning of evangelization, Father Vincent Miceli, S.J. wrote, "Being the work of God and man in cooperation, it must ever be a thrilling and awesome adventure. We can say, however, that this sanctifying activity proclaims Christ to those who do not know Him, preaches the Gospel to them through catechesis and missionary sermons, confers Baptism and other sacraments and tirelessly exhorts converts to scale the heights of sanctity. Jesus Christ, Himself, the Good News of God, was the very first and greatest evangelizer. He proclaimed an absolute Kingdom of God, making everything else relative. He proclaimed salvation, namely liberation from sin, Satan, death, a liberation that bestowed upon sinners returned to God grace, resurrection in immortality and glorification in the triune God. He proclaimed the price man must pay for his salvation, namely that men must gain Heaven by violence, i.e., through a life of penance, toil, and suffering accepted in the spirit of the Suffering Servant of God. And above all He proclaimed that man must undergo that interior renewal which the Gospel calls metanoia, that is the radical change of heart and mind which destroys 'the old man of sin' and creates 'the new man of grace.'"

Fr. Miceli then explains that there are obstacles to evangelization. He writes, "St Thomas Aquinas teaches that three things are necessary for a soul to find, follow and embrace Christ. First, a person must know what he ought to believe. Second, he must know what he ought to desire. Third, he must know what he ought to do. Now ignorance is the first great obstacle to evangelization. Catholics, therefore, should grow in a profound knowledge of their Faith through a constant reading and reflection on the Gospels and a faithful following of the teachings of the Magisterium. Only thus will they come to appreciate the Catholic Faith as a gift of God that is true, good and beautiful. They then will be moved by the Holy Spirit to bring non-Catholics to share this gift from God with them..."

Finally, surveying the Catholic Church in the United States, Fr. Miceli writes, "Unfortunately, the fact is that the Church in the United States, instead of being the crusading, courageous, evangelizing society Christ founded it to be, has become a cream-puff chaplaincy to the converted - and because of this attitude is failing to hold on even to these...How are we to stir up again the spirit of evangelization? Pope Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi gives us our marching orders:

'On us particularly, the pastors of the Church, rests the responsibility for reshaping with boldness and wisdom, but in complete fidelity to the content of evangelization, the means that are most suitable and effective for communicating the Gospel message to the men and women of our times.'" (Fr. Vincent P. Miceli, citing Pope Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi, No. 40).

With complete fidelity to the content of evangelization!  Without this, the "digital continent" will simply become a "digital wasteland."


Anonymous said...


Wendy said...

Yes, the Archdiocese of Boston does fail to inspire. A yawn is the correct response.

Annunciata said...

I respectfully suggest that the archdiocese return to the Magisterium.

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