TORONTO, Nov. 9, 2005 – The media is an important tool for education and evangelization that Catholics should approach with a positive attitude, members and guests at the recent annual general meeting of the Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) were told.
Keynote speaker Father Thomas Rosica, C.E.O. of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and Television Network in Canada, cited the 2002 World Youth Day in Toronto, and the powerful example of the life and death of the late Pope John Paul II as models of what the media can achieve in reaching believers and non-believers with the Christian message. (Text of speech.)
Discussing his work as National Director and C.E.O. of the 2002 Toronto World Youth Day, Father Rosica said the National Staff made ongoing, positive communication with the media (world, national and local) a high priority during the two-year preparatory period and then during the event itself in 2002. The results of this strategy and preparation bore enormous fruits at World Youth Day and the Toronto event received more positive press coverage than any previous World Youth Day.
One year later when the Holy Father celebrated the 25th Anniversary of his election in October 2003, the Canadian national television network CBC played an important role in making the Vatican celebrations available to the entire country. And few can deny that the groundwork laid in 2001-2002 did not prepare for CBC's extensive and respectful coverage of Pope John Paul II's final illness, death, funeral and the election of his successor in April, 2005.
“Unfortunately, too many of us aren’t as quick to thank the networks for the good things they do as we are to criticize the coverage we don’t like,” said Father Rosica. “It’s essential that we maintain an open dialogue with the media. It’s true that many reporters and editors are not at all knowledgeable about religious matters, and that includes Catholics who have not been well-catechized. The answer is to educate and inform. Building up walls of hostility isn’t the approach to take.
“Nor does it serve any purpose for those in the media to ignore or marginalize the Church and religious issues into banal or trivial matters that don’t deserve serious reflection. We have much to learn from each other.”
The meeting included a tour of the Salt and Light Broadcast Centre. In the business portion of the meeting, members approved the re-election of the League’s executive: President Emeritus Thomas Langan, President Philip Horgan, Vice-President C. William French and Treasurer John Sidle. Alexander J. MacDonald, president of the League’s Antigonish chapter, was elected to CCRL’s board of directors.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; firstname.lastname@example.org