A major factor in the secularising of most of Australia's Catholics has been the mass media. The Church's means of communication are a drop in the ocean in comparison given the massive outreach of the nation's TV, radio, magazines and newspapers.
Weakened family life, inadequate religion teaching in Catholic schools and widespread confusion (even among some priests) as to what constitutes the essence of the faith have contributed to the swelling ranks of the unchurched, a situation aggravated by the mass media's generally un- or anti- Christian output.
Even the best of Catholic families and schools face an uphill battle as day after day false, coarse, nihilistic messages bombard the young ever more blatantly via popular music, advertising, fashions, movies, Internet, computer games and even news and current affairs programs.
If the media can frequently become a vehicle for moral and spiritual decay, it can also be a source of good, and nowhere more so than in the amazing emergence of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) since the 1980s.
Many informed Catholics have longed for the day when EWTN would be conveniently and inexpensively available in Australia. Now, as recent reports in this journal have indicated, this day has arrived.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of several dedicated individuals (see page 12) it is now possible for any Catholic family to connect to EWTN for relatively little cost and so provide a potent antidote to the poison emanating from much of the secular media.
And in dioceses where the Catholic faith lacks a clear or adequate presentation, EWTN offers an array of programs that provide a comprehensive coverage of authentic Catholicism for all age groups.
Michael Gilchrist: Editor (email - firstname.lastname@example.org)