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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Faith Formation: Past Use or Non-Use of the Media

Sharing a few personal thoughts…

Organizational history may be helpful in this regard. Back in the 1970’s and 80’s we saw the proliferation of video and audio resources, although quality was often dubious and much of it was neither initiated nor trusted by ecclesial authorities. Even now, many lay Catholic evangelists write and produce media for apologetic purposes with little or no official oversight. Cardinal Wuerl was one of the few American churchmen to embrace the media with his Teaching of Christ television program being a staple in certain markets for almost two decades.

The early effort of the bishops to create a satellite channel never really got off the ground and paled by comparison to independent efforts like Mother Angelica’s EWTN and the smaller private or diocesan efforts as in New Orleans and Boston. I recall attending several local meetings where directors bragged about the thousands who could watch (for a hefty fee) the round-table discussions and catechesis. However, large satellite dishes were required and recipients were often reduced to large schools and hospitals. The sad truth that we had to face was that almost no one was really watching. Millions of dollars were wasted.

The Archdiocese of Washington had an opportunity to take possession of a low-power television station back in the late 1980’s but the priest who was our communications and media director turned down the opportunity. I suspect that it entailed more work than he was prepared to render. Here was a case where instead of putting our best people on a project, the Archdiocese assigned a troubled priest who had returned to ministry after an unapproved leave-of-absence. He eventually walked away entirely from his ministry as an archdiocesan priest to pursue teaching musical theater at American University. He is now a renegade “gay” priest who regularly offers Mass at Dignity gatherings.