Media-savvy bishops on talk shows, TV specials produced by the Catholic Church and priests surfing the Internet are part of a future envisioned in a communications plan approved last week by Roman Catholic bishops, whose annual spring meeting concluded here Saturday.
The ambitious plan for evangelizing on the airwaves and in cyberspace comes two years after the approximately 300-member National Conference of Catholic Bishops was stung by the failure of its plan to set up a national Catholic television network, which proved too expensive.
Under the plan approved by the bishops, who set policy for the U.S. church, the emphasis is on using existing media and on training clergy for television appearances, news conferences and meetings with editorial boards.
“It is not enough to use the media simply to spread the Christian message,” the bishops wrote. “It is also necessary to integrate that message into the ‘new culture’ created by modern communications.”
The plan calls for producing documentaries, dramas and other TV programs on Catholic subjects for network or cable television, holding national media relations workshops for bishops and other church leaders, producing public-service announcements and training clergy in the use of new technologies such as the Internet.