The Church and its message

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ve commented once or twice or 429 times about how the Catholic Church around the world, and in Australia and New Zealand in particular, often fails to adequately communicate the message of Jesus Christ to the faithful, not to mention to non-Catholics. It’s hardly a view that I alone hold; plenty of others are making the same case and trying to offer advice on how the Church can do better.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a hotel room in Perth working on my six-weekly (or so) column for NZ Catholic, the newspaper I worked at for five years until 2010. It was not long after my friend James Bergin had given a stellar performance on national television talking about the election of Pope Francis, and I’d also been observing the work of a group of young Catholics in Australia also being asked to comment on the conclave, the papal election, the choice of Pope Francis and so on.

And so I wrote this column:

Did anyone else catch James Bergin on Q&A a few weeks back, talking about the election of Pope Francis?

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, James Bergin is a good friend of mine and someone I work with on a regular basis on Church projects, so I am biased. But I thought he did an outstanding job when being interrogated by a woman who would now be considered one of New Zealand’s leading interviewers.

Internationally, this phenomenon of young Catholic professionals speaking about the Church in the media is taking off. My first observation of this effort was during World Youth Day in Sydney, when a small group of young Catholics were part of the Sky News coverage of the event. Rather than having professional reporters trying to explain something they knew nothing about, young Catholics were part of the massive crowds, shared their experiences and, when necessary, explained what was happening during Mass or the Stations of the Cross. Continue reading


Gavin Abraham, a journalist for more than a dozen years, has spent most of the last six years working in Catholic media.

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News category: Analysis and Comment.

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