Gatineau Archbishop Paul-André Durocher. Photo by Vanessa Santilli

Church needs to accept the media doesn’t get it

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  • May 18, 2013

MONTREAL - The relationship between the Church and the media will always be one of tension — something the Church must accept, Gatineau Archbishop Paul-André Durocher told a conference on the New Evangelization and Catholic Communications.

“There is a disconnect between the Church and society,” said Durocher, chair of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (CCCB) Standing Committee for Communications. “But I would be scared of a Church where there is no more disconnect because then it would mean the Church is an image of society… We have to remember that Jesus was crucified because He did not fit into the images that were there in society.”

Hosted by the Association of Roman Catholic Communicators of Canada (ARCCC) and Communications et Société — its francophone counterpart — the conference took place May 8-10 in Montreal with about 100 participants. The bilingual conference included simultaneous translation via transmitters provided by the CCCB.

Speaking on the Church’s expectations of the media, Durocher said he would have expected that major media outlets would entrust journalists covering the Church to be knowledgable about religious issues. But often that isn’t the case. He frequently has to start at the grassroots level by clarifying the role of a bishop before delving into questions.

“I dream of being able to deepen the questions,” he said.

Following up on the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith, Antigonish Bishop Brian Dunn and Saint-Hyacinthe Bishop François Lapierre — delegates at the Synod — continued the conversation through a New Evangelization 101 workshop.

“The New Evangelization refers to those who are Christian in name, come from Christian backgrounds, are familiar with Christianity and believe they know Christianity but no longer practise that faith in a meaningful way,” said Dunn. “That applies to at least 80 per cent of the Church, not only in Western countries but all over the world.”

“It is necessary to proclaim the Gospel to those who have already heard it,” said Dunn, adding that witness is the heart of the New Evangelization.

“The inclusion and exclusion of topics considered worthy of coverage by the mass media is one of the most subtle devices employed for forming people’s ethical imaginations. What the media decides to report on — whether it’s euthanasia or abortion — that becomes the issue that people hear.”

(Santilli is a Toronto-based freelance writer.)

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