Thursday, 23 February 2012

What to do about the masses?

No, not the Masses, the masses. The millions of Catholics who never watch EWTN, read a Catholic publication, belong to a religious group and who mistakenly believe that blogging is something rather distasteful and dirty.

They know nothing of Summorum Pontificum, of Catholics being murdered in Pakistan and massacred in Iraq, to them Rick Santorum sounds like an instruction in Latin, in red, of course!

To them, IVF is a great and wonderful scientific advance and abortion is not nice but, when push comes to sweeping things under the carpet, it's OK.

They probably could not name more than two bishops of their country and, there are great lumps of Catholic knowledge that they have forgotten.

A destination for many Catholics
....they have forgotten that there is a dress code for Mass, that chattering loudly before and after is totally wrong, that there is a need to abstain on Fridays, go to Confession and Holy Communion during Lent, to be in a state of grace before going to Holy Communion, to kneel to receive the Body of Christ.....and they are not to blame for all of this.

No matter who is to blame, that is not what this post is about, it's about re-evangelisation......about informing, educating and guiding those who are lost and do not know it.

I do not mean, in any way, that these souls are inferior, necessarily than any other group of Catholics but two things of major importance struck me at the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma meeting last Saturday.

The first was that we  some Catholic bloggers are erudite in the extreme; that was more than obvious at the meeting. Their posts reflect their knowledge and their gift of communication but, much of what they write would go way above the heads of the group that I am focusing on, the average Catholic man or woman on the London bus or Manchester tram.

There is a need to find a means of communicating, without condescension and without patronising them, that gets the message of change, renewal and reform a la Benedict, across to them so that they begin to appreciate that it is forty plus years since they looked in a mirror.

The sector that I speak of are not the straightforward working class Catholics so much as the liberal Middle Class; they are the ones who have moved to Anglican mode and pick and choose their moral code according to their whim of the day.

Gregg, at A Brief Encounter has a good and informative post about Lent.

It is brief and simplistic but it flags up the main points that are not widely known, certainly by non Catholics and, uncertainly, by Catholics en masse.

With a marketing hat on I would say that posts and articles aimed at this section of the faithful need to be written in a language style that they comprehend, and it must still hold the attention. That does sound patronising does it not? But it's basic communication savvy.

Our Lord did not mention the Hypostatic Union when he was on earth but he did speak in the parable format that his audience knew and understood.
He, of course, was the ultimate communicator.

Now, not many editors will be tripping over themselves to "dumb down" the intellectual style of their magazine or newspaper but Catholic bloggers could do so very easily.
Not in every post, perhaps just once a week or fortnight there could be an inspirational post that would have both mass appeal and Mass appeal.

Providentially, I have never suffered with overtly intellectual overtones!


  1. You make some really excellent points. I find myself praying for the graces to write like C S Lewis and avoid the smarty-pants patronising stuff that the average man rejects as piffle. Images are incredibly important, I think they need to tell the story of the blog post.

  2. The average man rejects because Jesus said, "Many are called, but few are chosen." Meditation at:

  3. This all weighs very heavily on my heart. I'm sometimes overwhelmed when I consider that at age 45 I have never known anything but the current continuing crisis of faith in the Church. Sometimes it's all just too much. At first glace, I laughed when I saw the bus to "nowhere in particular" but it's really pathetic. It's so true.

  4. Servusmariaen - as Archbishop Sheen used to say, these are marvellous times in which to be a Catholic! It's easy being a Catholic when you go unchallenged.
    I take comfort from those words.

  5. Winston Churchill said that the best English is expressed in the simplest language. Intellectual argument explained in those terms is not impossible. The Pope often does it. The best teachers have always done it.
    I think many of us of a certain age will have been exposed to it in our own upbringing as Catholics. It's precisely this which has been chucked down the drain, mirroring the shift in general education towards not hurting the brains of the little dears. In both cases we see the results.
    There seems to have been an unspoken consensus that the majority of people are too simple to take in complex or abstract ideas. This has not come from genuine intellectuals but from those less endowed and it's poppycock.
    I think this attitude has been misguided rather than deliberate. Nevertheless, if you keep people in a twilight of semi-knowledge they do not have the means to challenge or to engage in lively debate and you retain control.
    And, whilst I'm on my high horse, I'm getting rather tired of the "middle class" being excoriated for the mess we're in. At the three parishes within striking distance (lucky me) the leading lay lights are definitely not middle class. So flippin' there!