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Archbishop to media: Influence culture for good

Journalists research and report, design and discuss, and edit and engage in the process of disseminating news and information to the public. It’s a job known to influence opinions, and demands adherence to a strict code of truthfulness and accuracy.

To support communications professionals in their work, Archbishop Samuel Aquila will celebrate a special Mass for Catholic Journalists and Media Professionals at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 26 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver.

“Our culture is overwhelmingly shaped by what people hear and see on TV, in the newspaper, online, and on the radio,” Archbishop Aquila told the Denver Catholic Register. “If we want to know what is behind what people believe, most of the time those opinions can be traced back to what they saw or heard in the media.”

With such extraordinary influence, Catholics who work in the media “play a crucial role,” the archbishop said.

In March, the newly selected Pope Francis recognized the role of the media as an essential means of informing the world.

“Be assured that the Church, for her part, highly esteems your important work,” he said. “Your work calls for careful preparation, sensitivity and experience, like so many other professions, but it also demands a particular concern for what is true, good and beautiful.

“This is something we have in common since the Church exists to communicate precisely this,” he said.

A meaningful end-product must be the goal.

“Unfortunately in our 24-7 news cycle, journalists are often put into a position where they have to turn around very complicated stories in a short period of time,” Archbishop Aquila said. “This results in a very superficial product that sometimes does not address the more important issues at hand or fails to grasp the background for the decision. This is especially true in media coverage of religion.”

Journalists and media professionals must dedicate themselves to excelling at their work, he continued.

“Be thoughtful, creative, energetic, inspiring and most importantly, truthful,” he said. “It is also important for journalists not to impose their opinions on interviews and to always report in a way that is just.”

Whether in Catholic or secular media, there is opportunity to advance the good news of Jesus Christ.

“Much of the news you have access to … gives evidence that the world is in darkness and in desperate need for the light, truth and hope of the Gospel,” said Roxanne King, editor of the Denver Catholic Register. “We in Catholic media have the special privilege of informing, inspiring and engaging people with the Gospel and the Catholic Church.

“Catholic journalists working in other media,” she added, “have the great opportunity to share their Christian worldview with the secular world.”

All professionals in print, broadcast and online media are invited to the Mass.

“We hope all Catholic journalists and media professionals will join us,” King said. “In the past, the Register has had a Mass of Thanksgiving for our staffers, readers and advertisers … but this liturgy is open to all Catholic media professionals to thank God for the privilege of sharing our faith through our work—because our faith should inform our work whether we’re in Catholic or secular media.”

Journalists and media professionals are invited to sit together in a reserved section during the Mass, and attend a reception to follow in the cathedral basement. RSVP is encouraged by contacting Bethany Doss at 303-715-3230 or bethany.doss@archden.org.

Mass for Catholic Journalists and Media Professionals

When: 10:30 a.m. Jan. 26
Where: Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, 1530 Logan St., Denver
Reception: following Mass in cathedral basement
RSVP or questions: 303-715-3123 or bethany.doss@archden.org

Patron saint of journalists
The Mass is being celebrated Jan. 26, the first Sunday after the Jan. 24 feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists. St. Francis, who lived during the Protestant Reformation at the start of the 17th century, is a special intercessor for journalists because of the tracts he wrote and distributed to teach and evangelize the laity to counter the Reformation. Long before the Second Vatican Council, St. Francis preached the scriptural admonition that all people, not only religious and clergy, are called to holiness.

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