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Ever since Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council, Catholics have been expecting a “new Pentecost.” So where is it?
BY The Editors
Ever since Pope John XXIII convened the
Second Vatican Council, Catholics have been expecting a “new Pentecost.”
So where is it?
Today, we are too often like the
apostles before Pentecost. They hid away in the upper room — and we often
surround ourselves with like-minded people, and enjoy our faith out of view of
the nastiness that bothers us in the world.
But then the Holy Spirit came and
gave them to courage to step out. They began speaking to people from every
land, and every one of them understood them in their own language.
Today, the Holy Spirit still “makes
hearts capable of understanding the languages of all, as he re-establishes the
bridge of authentic communion between earth and heaven,” said Pope Benedict
XVI. “The Holy Spirit is Love.”
In honor of Pentecost Sunday, here
are some of the languages that prevail in the world that Catholics need to
speak. Catholics can reach the world in any of these languages — as long as
they use the international language of love.
1. The News.
Now, more than ever, people are
obsessed by the news.
Newspapers may be failing, but more
people are reading the news than ever before. In fact, reading news online has
become a major factor in many corporations. Where employees have instant access
to the news, they use it — constantly.
Whenever a major event occurs, we
either read about it ourselves within hours, or hear about it from someone who
has. We hear about major court decisions and legislative achievements,
massacres and natural disasters, while those involved in these events are still
reeling from their effects.
can be easy to lose perspective in all of this. In fact, it is common to lose
perspective. We give greater attention to bizarre crimes and celebrity
embarrassments than we ever could before.
A new Pentecost of charity can
transform the way we deliver — and receive — the news. Catholic journalists can
become fluent in the news, presenting both sides of an issue fairly and
accurately — including giving Church’s teaching its due place. And audiences
can become better stewards of the news, giving victims of crimes,
embarrassments and mishaps — even celebrities — the privacy they are due, and
not putting our own purity of heart in the hands of random reporters.
Broadcasting by radio has become
cheaper and easier than ever before — and the number of avenues for reaching
listeners is far greater. Catholic AM and FM stations can be run by a single
person with a computer. But in addition to traditional radio, there is Internet
radio, podcasting and satellite radio.
A great number of Catholics are
answering the call to reach souls over the airwaves. The Catholic Channel on
Sirius satellite radio and Relevant Radio are two organizations that regularly
feature the National Catholic Register as a source of news.
Other radio apostolates include EWTN
Global Radio Network with a worldwide reach, the Catholic Radio Network, Ave
Maria Radio and Saint Joseph Radio. A new Pentecost can encourage 1,000 such
projects to blossom — in mutual encouragement and support.
Newton Minow described television as
“vast wasteland” in 1961, when television consisted of a few channels of
programming that would be considered fairly high-quality in our day. Today,
television has gotten far more vast and far more empty. First came cable
television. Now comes online video sites, such as YouTube, which put
professionals and non-professionals on equal footing.
As our front-page story attests,
Catholics are learning this new language, too.
But “YouTube Catholics” have a tough
job. The medium’s audiences are unforgiving. They want quality, and will click
away from anything that doesn’t provide it.
Video apostles who want to reach an
Internet audience with Catholic content have to be just as vigilant about
quality — or they will never deliver the
message their audience needs.
Whether that is fair or not, or
whether it is ideal or not, is beside the point.
As the Holy Father put it in Brazil:
“We must not limit ourselves solely to homilies, lectures, Bible courses or
theology courses, but we must have recourse also to the communications media:
press, radio and television, websites, forums and many other methods for
effectively communicating the message of Christ to a large number of people.”
When will the new Pentecost come? It
has begun already, and will grow stronger as more of us learn to speak out in
the world’s language.
Charity demands it.