Catholic convergence

By  Catholic News Service
  • April 7, 2008

This newspaper is heading into some uncharted territory (at least for us) in our coverage of Pope Benedict's first North American visit. First, we are experimenting with this blog and offering daily news coverage on the web site. And, second, we will be collaborating with Salt+Light TV , Canada's Catholic television network, to provide a richer Canadian perspective on the news.


As I've mentioned, I will be present in Washington and New York at as many of the papal events as possible to provide news reports and some commentary. But, for the richer sensual experience of liturgy and the crowds, nothing can outdo TV. So we'll be turning to Salt+Light for this.

If you don't know about Salt+Light TV yet, you should. Since its arrival on the Canadian digital TV scene in 2003, it has grown exponentially and now broadcasts on cable networks across the country in English, French and even Mandarin Chinese. It has an excellent troupe of young committed Catholics working there under the leadership of Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, and they bring fresh energy and passion to reporting on the Catholic Church and its intersection with the modern world.

 Some of those young Catholics will be with me in the United States: Anchor David Naglieri, producer Chris Dymtrenko and camera operator Wally Tello will be on hand to provide daily coverage for the nightly Church affairs program ZOOM and regular updates on their own blog.

Why have such a significant Canadian Catholic media presence for an American papal visit? I'm going to let Fr. Rosica have a crack at answering that first, as he related to me in an email exchange:

 "Our goal is to help communicate to our viewers in Canada, and throughout the world via internet, the essence of Benedict's message to the Church in the United States. The theme of the Holy Father’s visit is “Christ our Hope.” Pope Benedict wrote in his encyclical on hope, Spe Salvi, that the great hope of our lives can only be God who encompasses all of reality and who can give us what we cannot obtain. This hope is a gift from God. This is a much needed message in the United States where hopes often reside in the accumulation of money and success. . . the American Dream!

"As Catholic journalists we hope to go beyond the secular media's concentration on papal statements on sex abuse, the irregularities of Catholic education or the 2008 presidential election. For sure, we will cover any and all papal statements on these matters. But it is likely that the core message from the Pope will carry a spiritual significance that might easily be ignored by the mass media's penchant for sensationalism and controversy."

 Say I: exactly! Yet there is also a need for a specifically Canadian filter for viewing this visit. Despite our many similarities, there are some key cultural differences between Americans and Canadians, and between American and Canadian Catholics. We will offer an arm's length look at American issues addressed by the Pope and ask how and whether his words have a bearing on what's taking place in our own nation.


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