CATHOLIC PEOPLE ENCOURAGED TO USE NEW MEDIA TO BUILD UP THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND SPREAD THE FAITH
Anthony Horan considers how we can use both old and new forms of media to access a wealth of Catholic resources in order to build up our own knowledge of faith with a view to passing it on to others
Last Sunday was Communications Sunday in the Church and Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow, set out his thoughts on communications in his letter to the faithful across the Archdiocese of Glasgow and the letter can be accessed using the link at the bottom of this page.
It is an interesting letter that, quite rightly, encourages us to use the great wealth of media we have at our disposal in today’s world of advanced technology. This website is one example of using technology to try to increase knowledge of our faith and to make people more aware of the various faith events occurring around us, giving us an opportunity to strengthen our faith with like-minded people. There are literally hundreds of other websites such as Catholic Answers (catholic.com) and Catholic Online (catholic.org) bursting with knowledge of the faith. There is the Holy See website, which gives the latest information on what is happening at the Vatican. There is even a smartphone app where you can follow the Pope live and get the most up-to-date news and homilies; not to mention the numerous prayer aid apps and Bible apps at our disposal.
On television, for those lucky enough to have Sky or cable, you can access EWTN. This is basically the Catholic channel! It doesn’t have nasty news stories, or soaps packed with endless tales of misery and doom. It is a channel full of joy; including regular coverage of the Mass, updates from the Vatican, discussions about faith, and even a cookery programme with a suitably qualified chef who also happens to be a priest! In addition, there are some fantastic children’s programmes which are suitable for the whole family. They are great for entertaining children while gently teaching them aspects of their faith.
For those who are into their podcasts there is a great regular podcast from Catholic Answers which covers a huge range of topics including abortion, same sex marriage, theology of the body, the Eucharist and how to grow in prayer. There is also an interesting regular slot for non-Catholic people to call in and put their questions to Catholic Answers apologetics. The podcasts are updated daily so there is always something to interest everybody. Personally, this has been an incredible source of knowledge for all matters relating to the Faith. The apologetics are all very knowledgeable about their faith and are able to answer every question put to them, without exception.
Also, for those who prefer the more traditional paper, there is a growing range of Catholic literature to satisfy your needs. In Scotland, we have the Scottish Catholic Observer and the Flourish. Add to that the Catholic Herald which is a UK-wide paper and you have a fair choice of Catholic newspapers containing all the latest news to do with the Church including details of events in your area. There are others including the Universe and also The Tablet magazine, so there is always enough to go round. Most of these publications also have their own websites which are updated regularly and they are all well worth a visit.
Essentially, there is no excuse when it comes to access to knowledge about the Catholic Faith. There are great newspapers, there are great websites, there are great apps and podcasts; there are even television and radio programmes! Yes, it’s true that a lot of the resources are US-based, but it’s the same Faith! We are a Universal Church and we experience the same issues and difficulties across the world, whatever country we live in.
If, however, we can continue to increase the popularity of these resources in the UK, who is to say we won’t one day have our won UK-based channel like EWTN? We may even have our own branch of Catholic Answers, based right here in London or Glasgow. Why not? These things grow where demand exists. If we can increase demand for these services then there will be people willing to take them forward.
Communicating the Faith should be a real joy for all of us. If we can use these resources to grow in our own faith and encourage others to join us then the Church will inevitably grow. We shouldn’t be afraid to encourage people to check out a great website dedicated to the Catholic Faith or show them an app that tells you where the Pope will be at any given minute!
Over and above all of this, we should be confident to tell people about the beauty of our faith and of our relationship with Jesus at any given moment in time. I recently heard a priest explain what he felt was the best way to talk about our faith to people who may not know about it or who were perhaps hostile to it. He encouraged us to just talk about how beautiful it is; to not be afraid to explain what it is about our faith that makes us feel good. For example, maybe it’s the Eucharist, or the sacrament of Confession, or perhaps it’s the community spirit, or maybe even the nice hymns at Mass. We should essentially see it as an opportunity to show off how good it is to be Catholic!
The world we live in needs peace; and we can bring about that peace by using the resources at our disposal to furnish us with new knowledge so that we can throw a seed out to the world in need. Together, as a Church, and with the fire of the Holy Spirit working in us, we can change the world!