It's difficult to know how to approach this subject; how to even refer to those Catholics who have either never known the doctrinal teachings of Holy Mother Church or those who have genuinely forgotten them.
My good friend Jason at Ascending Mount Carmel has a few interesting points to make on the subject.
This yawning gap of knowledge does need bridging and the Holy Father has instructed the troops to set about creating re-evangelisation programmes but, if this process is in the hands of the you know whos, don't expect anything too riveting, or immediate, or effective, or in line with Church teaching.
I have called them the great unwashed. I don't mean to be unkind; I could call them casual Catholics or CINOs or Modernists but "unwashed" says it all to me.
They are in need of help to get them back on the path to salvation, to retrieve them from the wilderness of the past 50 years, to clean them up so that their Faith sparkles as it should.
I have touched on this subject before and received many kind, positive comments, mainly by email.
I cannot help but believe that those Catholics who blog have a role to play in the re-evangelisation process - the trouble is, we are addressing a section of the community who know nothing of blogging and its global network.
How do we reach out?
One way is to produce a newsletter at regular intervals either carrying basic and brief items of current Catholic affairs or, indeed, carrying snippets from the Catholic blogging world.
This newsletter would then be made available online and those who have an interest in doing so would print it off and leave it at the back of their parish church (after first checking with their PP).
One commentator, whom I shall refer to as 'MC' as I do not know if he wishes his name to be revealed sent me the following message:
1. The way I see it is that 'the message' needs to go beyond those that read Catholic blogs. It seems to me that those who need to hear the message very rarely hear it.
2. There is a need for an antidote to The Tablet. We already have one it is called the Catholic Herald but once again the people who need to read it do not seem to be the ones that ever read it.
3. Who is the target audience?
- Those who are generally un-catechised.
- Those who love Catholicism but are embarrassed (due to the present climate)
to go that step further i.e. the lady whom I mentioned who said that she was too
embarrassed to ask for Holy water because she felt the priest would look at her
as if she had gone mad. We need these people to be more confident and start
talking openly about all aspects of Catholicism. We can encourage these people
to be open about Catholicism once again. No more closet Catholics.
- Those 'fringe liberals' who can still be 'saved' if they had it properly explained to them why the rules of the Church are actually present.
- Catholics always pick up anything that is free (sad but true).
- If it is short then the chances are at least one article will be read - Long diatribes must be avoided.
- Copies could be distributed in the editors own Church (and further a field if they could afford to print more).
- The headlines and the article must be pithy and get over the points of view within 2 sentences.
6. We need a network of enthusiastic Catholics who want to get the word out there.
- It seems to me that we already have a network of enthusiastic people, they are called bloggers and many have the same goals. Of course, not all will be interested but that does not mean that bloggers can not be approached. I am quite happy to contact bloggers up and down the country to drum up support. Even if we only get 10 to start with then this is still a start.
MC makes other points but these are the ones I would like to address first.
MC believes that this might be a series of individual efforts whereas, I think a corporate approach might be best. Say, 6 bloggers who produce a monthly item that is then incorporated into the overall newsletter and then carried as a post by X number of bloggers who then proceed to print it off and distribute.
MC has done some good groundwork here and produced a facsimile draft newsletter - I will post this shortly, meanwhile, please donate thoughts and comments and please remember, this is just one step.....others could follow - always eat the elephant slice by slice (old Pembrokeshire saying).