- DO try and comment over there. Let's try and get some promotion of the actual faith, and genuine discussion, not just one sided assertions, on the areas open to debate;
- DO comment here on what you think of the story selection over there, the moderation of comment (any rejected that you know of; any published that you think should have been rejected);
- DO pray for the conversion of all associated with Cath News.
Well, I'm not exactly in a position to advise given my total lack of success of late!
But based on some correspondence with Ms Christine Hogan, publisher of Cath News (see my previous post), if you want to get a comment published over there:
- DON'T bother criticising their editorial policies - save that for over here!;
- DON'T mention Australia Incognita blog or the need to reform Cath News! It will be rejected as part of a campaign;
- DON'T ASSUME the moderator will know what the actual teaching of the Church is - you may need to cite sources and explain where you are coming from;
- DON'T ASSUME they'll know any contextual information around Catholic issues, either contemporary or historical, particularly in areas such as the fight against the culture of death - apparently they've never heard of Planned Parenthood for example over there. So you might need to explain or provide a link.
Is it worth keeping up the pressure?
Effecting change takes time.
The first stage is to get people to understand the need for change.
Everyone operates from a particular view of the world.
When people reject and attempt to subvert Church teaching, they aren't necessarily acting maliciously.
It may just be that they really don't know better - that they've been brainwashed by the secularist mainstream and what they see coming out of all too many dioceses and parishes, affirmed by assorted bishops, and so think that it must be right. They may just be what Lenin termed 'useful idiots'.
From 'pre-contemplation' to 'contemplation'...
So to use a bit of psychological jargon, the first stage is to set up a bit of 'cognitive dissonance', to keep challenging that pre-existing world view with counterfactual information, until the weight of it becomes sufficient that the person starts really questioning what they currently believe.
And I'm not just talking about Cath News staff here - our real target has to be their readers.
In the health promotion area, a good example of this is smoking: most smokers can rationalise away all those health messages they read in the media and other sources by saying to themselves that it's deadly effects will happen to everyone else but him or herself, they'll be the lucky one to beat the odds. Those gory pictures on cigarette packages were about getting in their face and trying to personalise the message! Plain packaging goes a step further, saying 'this is a drug', not something recreational.
When it comes to life issues, our challenge is to shift people from explaining away an unborn baby as a bunch of cells, something not quite human: hence the push to require ultrasounds for those contemplating an abortion, to bring home the reality that this is a life.
When it comes to Catholicism, our challenge is to get not only the publisher and editorial staff of Cath News, but also that publication's readership (and indeed all nominal and modernist-infected Catholics), to understand that Catholicism is not a religion where doctrine 'evolves'. Catholicism does not change just because society does: rather it is grounded in the truth handed down by the Apostles, and guarded by the Magisterium. This is the challenge of the New Evanglization.
So keep the pressure on! Keep criticising what you see, keep challenging. Keep trying to get people to take a fresh look at whether their worldview really stands up to scrutiny, or is filled with contradictions.
Keep hoping and praying that they will open their hearts to grace and see things afresh.
I've said the first step is to challenge people's world view, get them to rethink whether their often unspoken assumptions are correct. Get them thinking in other words.
Our efforts will hopefully go part of the way to achieving this.
But we also need to lobby those in charge of Cath News and the bishops. Let's keep building the evidence base first though!
It doesn't end there though.
Because it is one thing to want to change, another to actually do it.
The next step is to give them the tools, knowledge and support to make the necessary changes.
That's why we should explain why we don't think certain stories should be included in Cath News, and why others should be.
That's why we should explain what the Church's actual teaching is.
So, go take a look at this weekend's edition of Cath News Perspectives and see what you think.
Have a go at commenting over there, and report back here on how you went...
So here is a partial rundown on this weekend's edition of Perspectives.
On the plus side, not a bad mix of stories: Weigel on the US health mandate fight; religiosity and civic participation; a good turnout for a Marian procession in NSW; a story on a Josephite sister actually engaged in practical charity (ie not just political action!); and an interview on the Social Media with Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, the President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
What's with those wacky obituaries?
On the negative, what on earth is the criteria for deciding which obituaries to include!
There have been a string of odd obituaries included in Perspectives, seemingly heroes of the push against the Church. And this week's one is no exception! It is all about a convert who twice left the Church, and apparently spent his final decade an agnostic.
Now I can understand why the UK Bitter Pill included his obituary - apparently he continued to review plays for them two or three times a week even after his departure from the Church (?!).
But why is an apparently unrepentant UK defector from the Church of interest or relevance to Australians?
We can offer our prayers for his soul of course, in the hope that he did repent at the last. But...