This year’s Catholic Press Month theme, “Spread the Word,” pertains to both good and bad news for the Church and Catholic publications.
“Probably never in the history of the United States has the Catholic Church needed the Catholic press more than at this moment,” said Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication. As former editor of Philadelphia’s archdiocesan newspaper The Catholic Standard & Times, Archbishop Foley knows what the Catholic press can mean to the local community.
“The terrible tragedies which have lacerated the Church, as they left innocent victims psychologically scarred and thousands of innocent priests as the victims of undeserved suspicion, have affected the morale and even the religious practice and allegiance of many Catholics,” he said.
“At that depressing moment in the history of the Catholic Church, Catholic publications not only published the truth in its entirety, but also — even more importantly — reminded Catholics that the bad news of clerical abuse was in no way the full story of the Catholic Church in the United States.”
“This past year has been an especially challenging one for you who are involved in the apostolate of the Catholic press,” said Bishop Joseph Galante, coadjutor bishop of Dallas. “You who are committed to spreading the good news have had to report some very bad and tragic news. But you have endeavored to be fair, to be just and to be honest. While pointing out the sins and crimes of a few, you have also supported and pointed out the generous service of the many.”
Archbishop Foley said the “good news” last year included: World Youth Day in Toronto, the canonizations of Padre Pio, Juan Diego and Jose Maria Escriva, the Holy Father’s return to his Polish homeland and his declaration of a Year of the Rosary with the promulgation of five new decades of the rosary.
“All these good news stories, reported by the Catholic press much more extensively than in other media, reassured Catholics that their Church, to which Jesus has promised His presence until the end of time, is indeed alive and well and is continuing to nurture the spiritual lives of Catholics,” the archbishop said.
Good news at the national and local levels included the introduction of the causes for canonization of several Americans, including Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and Father Patrick Peyton; the dedication of the impressive new cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles; and the continuing service of the sick and the poor and the continuing effectiveness of Catholic education.
“When I find that there are Catholics who have not heard the Good News about what the Church is doing, I inevitably find that they are not receiving or reading the Catholic press,” Archbishop Foley said. “Not only is the Catholic press the place to find the rest of the story, but we should also spread the good news — not only about what the Church is doing in the name of Jesus but also about what the Catholic press is reporting regarding the Good News of Christ and His Church.”
(Michael Flach is editor of the Arlington Catholic Herald. This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)