Thursday, April 16, 2009

We Didn't Start This Fire...

As I read the first article in Mr. Likoudis' series about the history of The Wanderer, one of the things that struck me was that our generation (give or take a little) likes to think that we invented communication.

It's sobering to picture a group of German Catholic laymen and their pastor meeting together to talk about starting a paper; it's humbling to realize that a paper so started had within a relatively short time of its first printing was not only covering international news of concern to Catholics, but even being circulated overseas.

It's easy to think that we're the first Catholics who've ever been given the mandate to write as Catholics about news, politics, religion, to bring a Catholic eye to bear on the events of the day. I think the truth is that we're just the first Catholics to have this particular mandate made so easy, since at the touch of a button we can foist our opinions onto the world.

This isn't to say that using the new means of communication to spread the Gospel or to witness to the world as faithful Catholics is a bad thing; Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the young to use the Internet to help spread the faith. But in doing what the young (and not so young) do, in writing or blogging or otherwise communicating the joy of our faith to others, we run the risk of thinking that the modern world has bypassed the past, and that the experiences of Catholics who actively promoted Catholicism using the "old media" have nothing to teach us about the attempt to do so with the new.

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