Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

The Catholic Publicity Paradise

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 23, 2010

The Catholic Church should be a rallying point for all who oppose the culture of death. The press is on our side in this. All it takes to get incredibly widespread publicity is for bishops and priests to speak out forcefully against the prevailing culture and, for even better coverage, to exercise discipline on these matters in their dioceses, parishes, social service agencies, hospitals and schools. Believe me, everybody will know when this happens. The publicity may not be favorable, but the name “Catholic” will be spelled right.

This is, of course, contrary to the strategy followed by most Church leaders, at least in the West, for the past fifty years. The inroads of Modernism, the treason of the intellectuals in colleges and universities, the seduction of many traditional religious orders, and the desire of bishops to avoid conflict (and be perceived as players) have all led to a public image for the Church as something of a fiddler—fiddling, so to speak, while Rome burns.

I have said many times over the past couple of years that this is changing—that more and more of the newer bishops are speaking out strongly and beginning to put their houses in order. I was reminded of this again by Bishop Philip Tartaglia’s letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron had made a speech encouraging religious organizations to solemnize same-sex unions in their temples and churches, but Tartaglia, who is Bishop of Paisley, Scotland, shot off a letter to the Prime Minister stating, point blank:

[Y]ou and your Government need to be aware from the outset that the Catholic Church will not register civil partnerships nor celebrate same-sex unions: not now, not in the future, not ever, no matter what legislation or regulations your Government enacts or endorses.

Note that the story was accurately covered. And so on this and other issues relating to the culture of death, here is the recipe which Church leaders should follow:

  1. Speak the truth to persons in power clearly, simply, directly and boldly.
  2. As needed, match your actions to your words.
  3. Ensure that your subordinates convey exactly the same message, also in word and deed.
  4. Remove them from their posts if they don’t.
  5. Ensure that subsidiary institutions under your control also convey this message in the way they offer their respective services.
  6. Reform them as quickly as humanly possible if they don’t.

These simple steps will create a veritable publicity machine. Everybody will know where the Church stands, and many of those who are either already opposed to or deeply suspicious of the culture of death will flock to the Church. Those who aren’t prepared to take that step will at least respect Catholic leadership. Sadly, Catholic leaders have too often regarded all this as a public relations nightmare. But that's the wrong way to look at it. In reality, it's a publicity paradise.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: wojo425627 - Aug. 02, 2010 9:17 AM ET USA

    It needs to be sent to the USCCB.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 28, 2010 8:41 PM ET USA

    Dr. Jeff, You've written perhaps THE best How-To instructions that every Catholic religious should be aware of and use regularly. Someone needs to send off this puppy to Rome, via Fedex, and NOW!

  • Posted by: - Jul. 27, 2010 3:38 PM ET USA

    A straight forward solution. We'll see what happens. You are certainly correct that the news has gotten better in recent years. Still far to go, but starts have been made...

  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Jul. 24, 2010 11:39 PM ET USA

    I am reminded of Saint Paul's 2 Letter to Timothy when he says that there will come a time when men will not endure sound doctrine; they will turn away their hearing from the truth, preferring fables instead; therefore, preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, reprove, entreat, rebuke with all patience and teaching. Following Saint Paul's advice of course means paying the a price of rejection and alienation by the world, and in Paul's case, martyrdom.

  • Posted by: jimtotter - Jul. 24, 2010 12:30 AM ET USA

    The magisterium needs to say "LEGE VITAM" loudly and in choir!

  • Posted by: - Jul. 23, 2010 3:48 PM ET USA