Tuesday 3 January 2012

Confident Presentation of the Faith

I can't recall when I last - if ever - went to an English diocesan website and thought, "Wow, that's really good!" But if you go the the Diocese of Lancaster site the home page greets you with this video unashamedly announcing who and what the Catholic Faith is. Words and claims for the Church not seen in ages are boldly announced:

We are sacred
We are obedience
We are joy
We are tradition
We are happy
We are Papists
We are universal
We are strong
We are sacred
We are courageous
We are defenders of the Faith

... to name but a few.

The accompanying music is full-on modern and upbeat. All the images are not afraid of showing Catholics acting and dressed as Catholics - nuns, priests, marked with the Lenten ashes, Pro-Life - all positive and highlighting the vigour, youth, tradition, beauty, grandeur and struggle of the Church.

This is the sort of publicity we should be focusing on, a confident, joyful message embracing ALL of the Church's Tradition. If only we could have more like this instead of the mediocre, insipid and lowest common denominator offerings usually served up. Who knows, perhaps this sort of presentation might actually attract people to the Faith.

Confidence in the Faith and it's message is something that I think has been lacking in recent times. After the turmoil induced in the years following the Second Vatican Council the great hopes the modernisers held out for did not materialise - quite the opposite. The secular media is always ready to bash the Church on premises that are occasionally real but usually false or exaggerated. Many Catholics hardly seem to know what we are for and so no wonder we have trouble telling others why they should join up - why it might be imperative that they join up. Bishops, priests and laity, certainly in the Western world, seem to have lost confidence in the power of the message and so the temptation has been t0 compromise it and fit in - in how we look, in how we think, in how we act, even in how we worship. It's only now with a new generation is more confident - not disappointed by the lack of "success" after the Second Vatican Council because they never experienced the let down feeling - only saw their elders rather tired and a bit lost for words - or at least words that meant anything. Confidence doesn't have to mean Triumphalism - it can just mean confidence that the Church really is guided by the Holy Spirit. It is now and it always has been - even before Vatican II and even (if not especially!) in the election of Pope Benedict!

Well done Lancaster Diocese!


Richard Collins said...

That's good news and all merit to Lancaster.

Parate Viam Domini said...

Also interesting Father, is the Bishop of Lancaster's Pastoral Letter this last weekend about C(c)atholic E(e)ducation which was recently noted by Deacon Nick over at Protect the Pope - something which I know is dear to your own heart.

Bishop Campbell is setting a good example - and there was me thinking that he was just a caretaker! More power to his elbow and the 'powers that be' in Lancaster I say!

Anthony Radice said...

Amen! The Oxford Oratory is full of converts, and it's not because the Fathers are mealy-mouthed about the Faith, that's for sure! Unashamed, uncompromising, and proud to be Catholic: that's the only way you're going to attract real converts. And there are plenty of people like this in the blogging community too. So there's plenty to celebrate even amidst all the conflict and confusion.

Joe @ Defend Us In Battle said...


Thank you for the kind words about the video. I am almost wordless at your description and offering concerning it.

The story behind the video is actually quite interesting... which I will share with you here, not fearing it will be read by those in my local area.

The reason the video was created was to promote a new "youth group" that we started in my local area. (Semi-rural Alaska with 2 parishes). The Catechism programs are modern and lacking, and the youth group is "SOCIAL ONLY." Some teens came to me, knowing that I was between their generation and their parents and asked if I would "guide" a group. They knew that I wasn't very well received by the parish, as I am "too conservative and traditional."

I made the video as a sort of "promo." It was a way to show that even when you use modernity to promote the faith, you don't have to "deconstruct the faith" you simply place faith in the modern construct and let it speak for itself. My goal wasnt to make the faith relevant by using modern secular music, but to do the opposite. To make the music irrelevant by the images and words.

I got a lot of grief by my "trad" friends, and fellow bloggers, for the music choice. In fact, some said they loved the video but hated the music so much that they couldnt promote the video.

Thank you again for your kind words!

Fr Simon Henry said...

Dear Joseph,
Well done for such confident and wide ranging expression of the Faith. I think it''s obvious what you were trying to achieve witht he background music. I'm not so shocked that there are Catholics out there who can portray the faith in such a way - rather to find it taken up by an English Diocese. We are a bit moribund over here for the most part!