|Logo of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation|
- source of consistent hostility to the Catholic Church and Christian Morality
Pope Francis has rightly urged the Church , and thus all its members, to take her message of the Good News of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ out to the world - indeed to the very periphery of our society. The message is of course not new : " ...As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you."( John 20 :21) And again :".... Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation." ( Mark 16:15).
So the task is not new. It has never been easy. Think of how it must have seemed to that motley crew of Galileans , citizens of the most despised and pathetic corner of the mighty Roman Empire. Yet with the Grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, they did just as they were bid.And they used the very arteries of that Empire to do so : travelling the Roman roads, sailing the seas made safe by the might of Rome, even travelling as a prisoner of Rome ( in Saint Paul's case).
To-day there is no universal political power directly impeding or unintentionally aiding the spread of the Gospel message. But there is another force which has been taking on the former role : the Mainstream Media - the Press, Radio and Television. But the world is rapidly changing as Bob Dylan once sang. And, increasingly and with great rapidity a vast multiplicity of Internet resources is displacing the Mainstream Media and circumventing its hostility to the Gospel message, Christian Morality and the Catholic Church in particular. And this is part of a wider impact on the Mainstream Media by Internet forces.
So great is that impact, and so rapid has been its onset, that it seems increasingly likely that in 10 years time, there may no longer be any national newspapers, and that broadcast television will be radically transformed. Papers like the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are now financially in very difficult circumstances as is the virulently anti-Catholic New York Times.They are all being hit from two directions : a decline in readership and a decline in advertising - with Classified Advertising almost gone and display advertising much reduced as advertisers and buyers move onto the Internet.
That same Internet is providing wide opportunities for Catholic teaching and preaching to be very widely disseminated and for news supporting Catholic positions to be reported even when the Mainstream Media will not mention it.
A classic example of the latter type of event occurred recently. The case of extraordinarily vile activities by an abortionist in the United States involved babies born alive despite the abortionists' efforts , and their sickening and horrendous treatment before and after being ultimately killed. The Mainstream Media refused to handle the story - no doubt because it tended to undermine their support for the pro - Abortion cause. However, the story was widely reported across the Internet and through Facebook by dedicated Catholic Bloggers and Catholic Websites.
The Mainstream Media " ban " was entirely frustrated.
This is only one example of a flourishing Catholic presence on the Internet. And it must be said most of it is not because of the institutional Church, but because of the personal exertions of lay Catholics and individual Priests who " go out to all the world and tell the Good News".
Not that the institutional Church is inactive. Far from it. From the Holy See itself which maintains a vigorous presence via the Holy See Website and also Vatican Radio Website to live streaming television of special occasions. In addition many Dioceses maintain good Websites - others may be no more than adequate - often the difference depends on their resources , but also on the initiative and inventiveness brought to the task.
The remarkable thing is that this flourishing Catholic presence on the Internet is almost exclusively solidly authentic and orthodox. The false " spirit of the Council" folk have by and large proved to be sterile, incapable of reproducing - merely parasitically feeding off what is.
There are indeed good things happening.