Fr. Thomas Rosica

Fr. Thomas Rosica

May 30, 2016

Commentary on the Catholic Church in online media is suffering from "character assassination" by those who believe themselves to be "the clean, the perfect and the saved," says Basilian Father Thomas Rosica.

In a May 11 talk in Brooklyn, N.Y., the founder of Canada's Salt and Light TV Network said the work of the Catholic media is to build bridges that encourage encounter and inclusion.

Rosica pointed out that Catholic media will be held to accountability and responsibility for creating communion and engaging in a dialogue that is fueled by mercy and understanding.

"The Church must shine with the light that lives within itself, it must go out and encounter human beings who - even though they believe that they do not need to hear a message of salvation - often find themselves afraid and wounded by life," he said.

Catholic use of social media should seek to avoid misunderstandings that add to wounds and vengeance, he said.

"The character assassination on the Internet by those claiming to be Catholic and Christian has turned it into a graveyard of corpses strewn all around," he said in a talk to 250 people at the Brooklyn Diocese's observance of World Communications Day.

Rosica, who is also the English-language attache to the Holy See Press Office at the Vatican, was presented with the Brooklyn Diocese's St. Francis DeSales Distinguished Communicator Award.

Said Rosica: "Often times the obsessed, scrupulous, self-appointed, nostalgia-hankering virtual guardians of faith or of liturgical practices are very disturbed, broken and angry individuals, who never found a platform or pulpit in real life and so resort to the Internet and become trolling pontiffs and holy executioners!

"In reality they are deeply troubled, sad and angry people," he said.

"The light of Christ reflected in the Church must not become the privilege of only a few elect who float enclosed within a safe harbour or ghetto network of communications for the elite, the clean, the perfect and the saved."

Rosica also told his audience that Pope Francis has rebranded the Catholic Church and the papacy.

"Prior to Pope Francis, when many people on the street were asked: 'What is the Catholic Church all about? What does the pope stand for?' The response would often be, 'Catholics, well they are against abortion, gay marriage and birth control.

"They are known for the sex abuse crisis that has terribly marred and weakened their moral authority and credibility,'" he said.

"Today I dare say that the response is somewhat different. What do they say about us now? What do they say about the pope? People are speaking about our leader who is unafraid to confront the sins and evils that have marred us."