Evangelization: Speaking Truth to Bad News Print
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 09 March 2010 07:31
A window into the complexity of our world, via Cathnews India

Recently, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, gave a one-hour speech in Dhaka, Bangladesh, based on Pope Benedict XVI’s message for World Communications Day next May 10.

In that message, the Pope invites priests “to make astute use of the unique possibilities offered by modern communications.


In Dhaka, the archbishop said, “The Catholic Church must be present in this digital world because the Holy Father inspires us to use modern media and communications tools to fulfill the Church’s mission of proclamation.

At this point, your average blogger is practically yawning: Well, that's obvious. What's the problem?

It seems that the young people in the audience didn't know what he was talking about.

Impossible! Unless you live in Bangledesh, apparently.

"Poverty, an irregular electricity supply and limited access to cyberspace in Bangladesh hamper involvement with the computer-based world of digital media. The presentation reportedly did not take these facts about the audience into account. So, a talk that might have been a successful presentation in Europe, and perhaps even has been, was a failure."

Then author Fr. William Grimm makes a very astute point:

"The problem lies in our failure to present the Good News as a real answer to bad news. We often present the Church and its Gospel as a “package deal.” “This is how it is, it is good for you, take it.”

But something that is perceived as an institution unrelated to the concerns and problems of real people in a real place is not going to be good news to them. If we do not present the Gospel in such a way that people see that it answers the bad news in their lives, they will ignore us.

Therefore, in addition to being shaped by the message of the Church, we must become expert in bad news. We must know what shape the bad news takes in various times, places and lives. Then, we must tailor our communication to answer that bad news. Only then does evangelization become the communication of the Good News as a hope-instilling, joy-producing answer to the “joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties” of the world’s people.

If we fail to preach the Good News as an answer to the world’s bad news, we fail as communicators, we fail as evangelizers, we fail as a Church."