question for Fr Michael Kelly
As previously telegraphed, there are no lead commentaries published on Catholica on Thursday's and Friday's at the moment but that doesn't mean everything stops in our domain. Tony Robertson has a great post on the forum this morning explaining how the commentaries of Peregrinus and Andrew on Capital punishment became a significant resource for a group of people in Brisbane who have come together to campaign for abolition of the death penalty. It is a moving story. Thanks for sharing it with us Tony.
There's plenty of other great discussion on the forum including a couple of strings on "the 'problem' with prayer" in both the public and members' forums which I started yesterday.
What really caught my eye on the CathNews bulletin this morning though was the advertisement for the Day 3 Digital Conference: "Giving the Gospel a Digital Future" which is being convened by Fr Mick Kelly, Sr Adele Howard, Br John Howard and John Murphy. It's to be held at the Mary McKillop Conference Centre in North Sydney on 16th March. [For further details click HERE or the advertisement above.]
I have a question for the organisers, and also for the Australian Bishops who ultimately have the control in "setting the agenda" for Catholic Communications in the Digital Age. My question is this: "It is all very well organising these sorts of conferences, and it is all very well expending huge sums of money on fancy websites, but what do you do when effectively a lot of those websites end up driving more people away from Catholicism than they attract?"
What we have seen going on with the CathNews Discussion Board (www.cathnews.com/discuss/ or www.cathchat.com) in recent years is a graphic "case in point". It has now spawned a number of private discussion communities, including Catholica Australia, because people end up getting literally "driven out" of the public forums by this element in the Catholic Church who believe everyone else are "sinners and heretics" unless everyone conforms to their narrow and insecure interpretations of what Catholicism teaches and who Jesus Christ is.
The internet, like the pulpit, can be a communication channel that attracts people to the "Good News" of Jesus Christ. Like the pulpit, it can also be a medium used to drive more people out of the Church than it attracts in. I actually do not believe the problem rests with the likes of people like Fr Michael Kelly — who has management responsibility for the CathNews Discussion Board. It rests with the pathetic game of ducks and drakes that everyone has to play in the Church in Australia today with this enormous split amongst our bishops who literally don't know whether they are supposed to be "preaching the 'Good News'" or "appeasing and encouraging all 'the little darlings' who make life a misery for everyone else on places like the CathNews discussion board".
On second thoughts, perhaps this question should be addressed to Archbishop Hart (who has executive responsibility via the ACBC for CathNews) and the collective Australian Catholic Bishops. Do they understand that their pulpits can be used to drive people away as much as they are used to bring people to Jesus Christ? Is that not what has at least partly been happening in the wider Church today where 85% of our congregations have slipped out the door to continue their faith journey and exploration in other places? Do they understand that the internet only multiples that power to drive people away many times over if the methodologies and content are not carefully constructed and the channels monitored?
on your day wherever you happen to be in the world, and in life,