Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Friday, April 28, 2006

Vatican PR

A friend of mine brought this piece by John Allen to my attention. He interviewed a group of Catholic college students at the University of Texas. By in large, they love and respect John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and they embrace the Popes teachings wholeheartedly. However, they felt they Church's beautiful message was being lost because it is not communicated in a way that is relevant to the modern world. They seek a new modernization:

[These] 20-somethings share something of the desire of the Vatican II generation for a more "modern" church -- but, unlike Baby Boomers, by "modern" they mean technological sophistication and savvy about engaging the cultural debate, not doctrinal change or structural reform.

"The church has to modernize, not in the sense of changing its mind, but in strategies to communicate its ideas," said Puccini.

They bring up a good point, but they are barking up the wrong tree if they expect the Vatican or the USCCB to change their methods (although the latter is more maleable). The Church thinks in terms of centuries and has a multitude of cultures and peoples to evangelize. The Vatican does not have the resources adapt her message to the tastes of any particular demographic. Nevertheless, the need is there, but the vehicle to fill that need is the lay apostolate. Thus far, there are numerous lay organizations proclaiming the Church's message in ways very relevant to today's American culture. Here are a few of the best:

These sites do a good job of communicating the Church's message. But I cannot end this post without making a plug for the Catechism of the Catholic Church and for the Vatican website. They may be too dry for the tastes of John Allen's subjects, but they provide the Truth freely and clearly. Finally, let me once again recommend Pope Benedict's XVI Deus Caritas Est. It is very relevant and accessible to young people in the modern world.


  • All of those larger organizations do wonderful work, but even they don't make much sense if you aren't already plugged into the church. What these young people are searching for has to be provided on a parish level.

    After confirmation, most Catholics are left to fend for themselves. And for the most part, they grow up with a high school understanding of theology -- unacceptable. The church must do a better job of educating lay people on a consistent basis. The Protestants call this Sunday School, and it's probably the most brilliant idea they've come up with.

    By Anonymous Diane, at Friday, April 28, 2006 9:38:00 AM  

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