Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Catholicism in the Media: Do We Need New Tactics?

With GKC's Fr Brown being on the BBC almost daily, could it get much better?

Well, we have a back-up: the Welsh Benedictine medieval monk detective Brother Cadfael.

I have long believed that outside of the Spiritual, the main battlefield, and the one in which we have surrendered the Catholic World to the modernist world, is the cultural.

When the Latin Mass was done away with, Agatha Christie (the famous detective writer, but not a Catholic) wrote that a jewel of European culture was being killed off. And how right she was, writing as a non-Catholic.

The Church can be many things (made up as it is of sinful men), but it was never foolish. Inspired by the Holy Spirit and refined over the centuries, the Latin Mass was (correct me if I'm wrong) codified during the Council of Trent, during that glorious time known as the Counter Reformation.

The errors and terrors of the Reformation gave rise to the glories and jewels of the Catholic Church during the Counter Reformation. The Catholic Church knew that the Mass was the centre of all, bringing Salvation to the peoples of the world, and it was glorious! Spiritually and culturally - it was magnificent. The humble could have their hearts, minds and souls lifted by the Mass in all its beauty.

But in the modern world... well, as the 60s brought about so many harmful revolutions, so the Mass was changed. So many errors and trends came about. Pews empties. Souls were lost.

Now we have the modern(ist) world, wherein the rabid secularists and atheist zealots seem to hold sway. The people retain what Faith they have had the Grace to have been left with. Yet what assaults us all most of all? The atheist activists have no High Mass to rally their troops around, for they are anti-spiritual. Their battle is won through the goggle-box and the internet.

Oh back in the day the enemies of the Church printed bad books, and they still do. Fox's Martyrs or the cartoons against the Inquisition have given way to Dan Brown and Richard Dawkins' tomes. And they have done damage.

But the real damage is done through other media, and it is in these media that the Catholic Church and we, the Church Militant, should look to fight back, for souls are being lost.

I have long believed that Catholics have given up the "entertainment" to our enemies. So when our sons, daughters, cousins, nephews, grandchildren,mums, dads, neighbours (etc.) watch TV, listen to the radio, go to the cinema... they are more likely to experience something anti-Catholic than pro-Catholic, that harms their soul rather than elevates their soul, that undermines their Faith rather than reinforces their Faith.

We might wish that Catholics didn't interact with these things (and they range from the outright evil to the subtly undermining), but they do. Most of us move about in the world as we work, as we relax, as we socialise etc. And whilst many of may try not to watch crud like Eastenders or read trash like the tabloid media; we are all assaulted - even from advertising hoardings.

So what's my point?

Listening to GKC's Father Brown stories or Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael mysteries, makes me think of what we could have had! A media that gives us enjoyable stories that help us grow in our Faith... The sad thing is that good radio, good TV (such as the Treasures of Heaven programme about saints' relics and the recent BBC4 programme Catholics - which I admit I haven't seen yet) and good films (such as The Rite and The passion of the Christ) are a woefully, pitifully small drop in an ocean of goo, junk and evil.

I suppose the thing is that Catholics need to use whatever means we have at our disposal to produce and promote good works, in print, radio and TV/film. Not just overtly religious (e.g. on EWTN), but crime series, comedy, travel programmes, historic programmes, romcoms, radio shows, music - the whole gamut of entertainment.

The enemies of Catholicism have done so much damage by taking over the entertainment media and using them to promote things that damage Catholicism, society, the Common Good, etc.

I don't have all the answers. I don't have the talent necessary to write a screenplay or produce a film. But there must be Catholics out there that do.

I have a vague recollection of an acquaintance many years ago in London who was a member of a Catholic actors' guild. And a friend once told me that many decades ago the Church (in America I think - but I may be wrong) bankrolled some quite successful films. I also know there is a members' body (guild?) for Catholic solicitors, perhaps they could offer their services for media contracts etc...

I know I'm clutching at straws here in my amateurish and fumbling way (as always!), but I hope I'm making a serious point. If we as Catholics, as the Church Militant, leave the entertainment media to the enemies of the Church then we will lose Catholics to the atheism and relativism of the world every single day.

Our Lord will come to our aid through prayer, the Rosary and the Mass. But just as Our Lord always had everyone do as much as they could before He acted (throwing out the nets, filling the vessels with water etc.) so He requires us Catholics to act in the spheres of the media before He will bless our endeavours and help us not only to save souls, but to convert souls.

In the Middle Ages the Catholic Church won hearts and souls through the beauty of the Mass, but also through agriculture, food production, medicine, healthcare, education and so on. It was never just the Mass. Catholics were never just Chapel Catholics or Sunday Catholics.

Surely if we want to bring Catholic ideals, promotion of the family, the Common Good, against greed, against indifference to the masses, then we have to be working in the media, promoting good works.

Look at the impact the Passion of the Christ had. We, as Catholics, could be doing that and much more. On issues of great importance, or subtly to promote the family... there are 1001 things to do, to promote, to defend and to attack.

Sorry for warbling on. I hope you can pass on the gist of this message to Catholics with the means and the talents to do something. Who knows then what might be achieved. If we as Catholics do not try then we will never know, and with the support of Our Lord, Our Lady and the Holy Spirit, surely all would become achievable.


  1. Spot on! Tim Stanley had a interesting post on Hollywood' influence on same sex 'marriage' Unless we can fight back in the world of culture, including popular culture, we've lost a big part of the battle.

    1. Thanks. yes - the only way one can explain the shift in public opinion on so many social and moral matters is the influence of the media, especially in its liberalising tone.

  2. Gareth, there was a time when there were many Catholic media groups in Great Britain. There was one concerned with film making, I cannot recall its name but my older siblings were support actors and continuity assistants in several productions.
    It was a pro-am mix of acting talent and was only one of several such drama groups - The Genesians was an acting company comprising young Catholic men and women who produced excellent work concerning the faith.
    But, of courses, those were the bad old days of rigid Catholicism!