The recent malicious attacks on Archbishop Pell have highlighted the need for a pro-active Catholic media role.
We are well aware of the fact that that media warfare is directed, not only against the Catholic Church, but against Christianity in general, and against the moral code of the Judeo-Christian tradition and family values, openly seeking to replace them with irresponsible hedonism and the culture of death.
Pope John Paul II has stated as recently as March 2002: "The special challenge before you is to find ways to ensure that the voice of the Church is not marginalised or silenced in the modern arena of the media. Jesus Christ must be proclaimed to the world."
In Perth, Archbishop Hickey has formulated a Ten Point Plan, with emphasis on evangelisation, and especially re-evangelisation of the baptised, and has stated: "New initiatives that we have not even thought of yet, need to come from our common consideration of the problems the Church is facing ... If we continue to do what we are at present doing, the drift from the Faith will continue".
Unfortunately the majority of practising Catholics in Perth and throughout Australia appear to be unaware of these calls to evangelise and to utilise all forms of media in so doing. Only a small majority read authentic Catholic journals and newspapers. We must seek to find means of breaking through this apathy and unquestioning acceptance of the viewpoint of the secular media.
The recent visit to Australia of the relics of St Thérèse was an inspiration to us. Her ardent wish was to spread the Gospel Good News on every continent simultaneously. Now her dream has become a reality through the efforts of Mother Angelica in launching the Eternal Word Television Network, (EWTN) which is totally loyal to the Pope and the Magisterium. In twenty-one years EWTN has become an international success, reaching millions of homes worldwide.
It offers a wide variety of inspiring programs ranging from devotions and Scripture studies to defending Christianity and the rights of all who wish to bring up their families according to standards of decency recognised throughout history by peoples of all cultures and creeds.
There are programs for children and youth and important topics such as "Reclaiming your children and grandchildren for the Faith", an explanation of the Vatican II documents (as opposed to the so-called "spirit of Vatican II") and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Music, drama and art are also featured.
The group with which I work, The Rosary Christian Tutorial Association, provides weekly programs for community TV channels, Briz 31 in Brisbane and Access 31 in Perth. These programs each cost $300 a week. Without support we may be unable to continue much longer.
In Perth we have launched a Three Hundred Club of persons who pledge to contribute one dollar a week.
We have three objectives - to make EWTN available on community TV, to encourage Catholics to ask for EWTN from secular providers, making clear that it is the only channel in which we are interested, and to make EWTN tapes available Australia-wide.
There are committed Catholics in most States working to attain these objectives, and we are seeking to form a communication network, and hopefully a newsletter, so that we can all keep in touch with current developments.
Anne Moira Kirkwood is a Perth (WA) writer and former academic librarian who can be contacted at 13 Haig Road, Attadale WA 6156, (08) 9330-1170, email: firstname.lastname@example.org