What a great idea! To celebrate the diversity and colour of the wealth of Catholic Media we have laid on for us – free, gratis and, as they say, for nothing.
Four years ago, I knew nothing about Catholic Media. Unlike our friends in the States, there are no Catholic radio or TV stations in the UK; even EWTN, the sole source of Catholic TV and radio programming is buried deep in BSkyB’s channel list. I bought the Catholic Herald every week and took it home to read (a great orthodox Catholic newspaper, by the way), but apart from that, I didn’t even think of searching for a regular Catholic media fix! It was only when I read something in the Herald about Father Z, that I took a breath and dived into the world of Catholic Media.
We are so blessed in the year 2011 to have an unprecedented bounty of Catholic Media. Like any bounty, there will be the occasional rotting fruit sitting buried deep down the pile, but overwhelmingly if you are a Catholic and you are looking for resources to help you understand, defend and explain your faith, then the answers are there waiting for you.
Stepping into politics for a moment, had it not been for New Advent, ‘The World Over’ on EWTN or the Catholic News Agency, I would never have heard about the shocking behaviour of Notre Dame and its invitation and honouring of Obama, nor of his roughshod trampling over the rights of Christians in the medical profession opposed to abortion, nor of his attitude to marriage – I would still have the UK media’s rosy-glowed, sepia tinted view of Obama. Had it not been for SQPN and its amazing band of podcasters and behind-the-scenes volunteers and staff, I would never have dreamed of starting my own podcast and would never have found such a wonderful community of friends and people sharing in the same challenges I face as a ‘single Catholic’ parent. Were it not for New Media, how could the pro life voice even be heard in a world which does the equivalent of sticking its fingers in its ears and singing ‘lalalala’? Yet it is, and the voice is getting louder day by day.
But the internet gives us so much more than consumable Catholic Media. It gives us a community, a community which stretches across time zones and continents, through social classes and abilities, all bound by their love of God, of the Church and in a way, of each other. We can participate as little or as much as we want or have the time to, but there is always a welcome and a desire from those old-timers in the podosphere or blogosphere to hold out the hand of friendship to we newcomers.
There is a limit to what our pastors can tell us in their 15 minute homily each Sunday. There is a limit in what we can teach and learn from each other in our parish environments as we lead busy and demanding family and work lives. There is no real limit, however, on how much we can get from, and give to, each other for Christ through the world of Catholic Media.
So when I sat down and tried to pick my top Catholic podcasts, blogs and other wonderful resources, I couldn’t limit it to three of each only: To do so would do a disservice to those who I would have to leave out. So, as New Media broke all the rules, so will I! I give you:
Catholic In A Small Town (God Bless You Mac and Katherine, you really inspired me).
Catholic Pilot (Thank you Jeff for being a friend and giving Just A Catholic Dad the boost it needed, and for giving me the confidence to stand up and be counted.
Catholic Weekend – for its wonderful presenters and its ability to make me think and brighten my day.
The Break – For Father Roderick, a truly inspirational leader. The Rodfather!
The Busted Halo Cast – for making me laugh out loud with Fr Dave!
The Catholic Laboratory – for Ian’s ability to let us see how science and faith can live side by side, and for giving us all an amazingly powerful weapon in the fight against ignorance of the Church’s relationship with science.
The Blog of The Courtier – for Billy’s erudite and entertaining insights.
The Hermeneutic of Continuity Blog – a great British Catholic blog.
What Does The Prayer Really Say – a blog written by a giant of Catholic Orthodoxy and defender of the Holy Father.
The Catholic Herald – a great Catholic Newspaper; New Advent.org and CNS marvellous Catholic news resources.
To Sean McGaughey of the Catholic Roundup, Lisa Hendey of Catholic Mom, Sarah Reinhardt of the Snoring Scholar, Dan Smrokowsi and Daniele Rossi - To all of you, and to those whom I have forgotten to include at the end of a long working day – thank you.