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(Piero della Francesca. Archangel Michael. [Source])
Note: For more details, see The "Medbod" Project (MEDiatic BODy of Christ).
Also, this text is easier to understand if you've seen the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. Finally, we're told "mediatic" (as in "related to the Media") doesn't exist in English. It does in French, and it's close to "Mystic", so please forgive us this poetic license.
Please forgive my ignorance, but has there ever been a project to create a kind of "concordat" between all Catholic media, a kind of "Mediatic Body of Christ"?
The general idea is the following. The Catholic Church is attacked by its enemy, the Liar and Father of lies (i.e. the Devil). This enemy doesn't use a big sword or a ring forged by Elves, but means of social communication (i.e. the "Media").
The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, but poor Jesus has all kinds of trouble these days fighting the Mediatic Liar, in part because of divisions among Catholics. It sometimes seems like the "mediatic Body" of Christ is chopped into pieces, with a headless torso here, a leg over there, etc.
Has there ever been an attempt to "assemble all our mediatic pieces" (web sites, magazines, publishers, radio stations, etc.), given that divided we fall, but united we stand?
I don't have the talent to explain this project in a simple sentence, so you'll have to "mix in your head" the following ingredients:
2.1) A tiny and completely static web portal. In a way, this project would only be three pages of HTML on a web site called "www.mediatic-body-of-christ.org" (or something to the effect). These three pages would be: one page of hyperlinks to Catholic media, one for the Profession of Faith and pledge of allegiance to the Pope, and one for the Charter of Duties of Catholic Media.
2.2) Imprimatur. "A special aspect of the Internet, as we have seen, concerns the sometimes confusing proliferation of unofficial web sites labeled 'Catholic'. A system of voluntary certification at the local and national levels under the supervision of representatives of the Magisterium might be helpful in regard to material of a specifically doctrinal or catechetical nature" [The Church and Internet, #11]. According to us, this would also apply to other media [See Code of Canon Law, #823, § 1]. This project would be a way to give a kind of "Seal of Approval" to good Catholic media.
2.3) Profession of Faith and Pledge of allegiance. If you are a soldier, and you notice that a mutiny is smoldering, your duty is to proclaim as publicly as possible your pledge of allegiance to the General, and to encourage the soldiers around you to do the same. These days, the authority of the Pope is attacked, sometimes quite underhandedly. It would be nice if Catholic media could give a good example to all, by asserting their faithfulness to the Pope and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in its entirety.
2.4) Charter of Duties of Catholic Media. One of the most powerful weapons of the Mediatic Liar is to accuse Catholic media of intolerance, hateful propaganda and religious obscurantism. One of the most effective counter-measures is to make a "pre-emptive strike", by publicly endorsing a kind of "Charter of Duties of Catholic Media", which explicitly condemns violence, hatred, etc.
3.1) "We neither have the money nor the time!" But this project is practically free: I'll pay for everything for the first two years, then a dozen members would have to pay fees of only a dozen dollars a year. And as for the lack of time, three small pages of HTML with no updates will take me only ten minutes!
3.2) "I'll have nothing to do with global bureaucratic monsters!" But the goal of this project is not to eliminate Catholic media by merging them into a formless blob. Such a merger is neither possible nor desirable. What we are talking about here is more like a kind of "concordat" between Catholic media, an application of the Principles of Solidarity and Subsidiarity.
3.3) "A meta-catalog of all Catholic resources would be too big!" But this project doesn't want to draw up a list of everything that has some kind of connection with Catholicism, including votive candle resellers and Holy Water bottle-openers. On the contrary, it would only include "reasonably important" media having a strong dogmatic content. For example, this web site would not be "big" enough to be included. The "small" medias would have to get together to have their own web portal, which itself would then be included as one of the "majors". In other words, the "Mediatic Body of Christ" could be described as a "Federation of mini-concordats between small groups of Catholic media".
3.4) "I've seen too many well-meaning projects fail" This is why the "three little HTML pages" would be protected by a contract, signed by all parties, forbidding any modification. Moreover, this contract would have a "quick release" provision, which would force the webmaster to remove all occurrences of the name of a member, upon reception of a formal request. In other words, at the slightest deviation, everybody could pull out quickly and easily. Moreover, new members would have to be approved by the founding members.
3.5) "I refuse to have my name associated with XYZ!" It depends why:
3.5.1) If XYZ is not faithful to the Pope, he can't participate in this project because of [2.3] above.
3.5.2) If XYZ is hateful, or scatological, or nuts, etc., he can't participate in the project because of [2.4] above.
3.5.3) If you can't stand XYZ because you lack Christian charity, then this project is for you! Physicians are for the sick!
3.5.4) If XYZ is "intensely perfectible", in other words that XYZ is not heretical or criminal, but that XYZ is far from Christian perfection, then this is a golden opportunity for mutual aid! Christian charity isn't only condemning serious heresies, it's also helping our neighbor with fraternal correction! If anybody should help each other on planet Earth, it's the Catholic media!
3.6) "An equivalent project already exists!" Finally a bullet-proof objection! Where is this "Mediatic Body of Christ", so I can replace my Profession of Faith and Pledge of allegiance by a simple hyperlink to theirs? Where is their Charter of Duties of Catholic Media so I can add it as one of my Legal Considerations? Where is their list of Catholic media, so I can eliminate my Few Good Hyperlinks, which are most imperfect?
3.7) "This project overrides the authority of the Pope!" If a group of laypersons created a web site, and started to decide autonomously who was a Catholic, and who was not, then this group by definition wouldn't be Catholic. By definition, to be Catholic is to be in communion with the Pope, and in communion with the Bishops who themselves are in communion with the Pope (see among others "Who is the General of the Army of Mary?"). Of course, this project would be conducted in full communion with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church (but not in communion with religious leaders who pretend to be faithful to the Pope).
3.8) "No matter how detailed our by-laws, some people will embrace them, and yet teach things that are completely heretical!" At some point of time, for this project to succeed, we need a minimum of common sense! If somebody claims they agree with all the teachings of the Catholic Church (i.e. they claim to pass the "P-2865 Test"), and that later on this person claims that abortion is fine, or that the pill is excellent, or that the Eucharist is only bread, then we have to act. We would expel this person from our group, because of a violation of the agreement signed by all at the beginning (something which is even recognized by civil authorities). Since this process would be public and well-documented, and since we'd also submit it afterward to the ecclesiastical authorities, we'd put all the chances on our side.
In increasing order of importance, here are a few:
4.1) Instant brand recognition. Marketing experts know just how important it is to have a logo, a slogan, a look that makes a product different from all its competitors. This project would give a kind of "brand image" to all participating Catholic media (web sites, newspapers, magazines, radio stations, etc.).
4.2) Free publicity. If all Catholic media "point" to each other in a centralized and organized way, each one should increase its customer base, and all (because of their union) should attract new customers that they wouldn't have been able to attract otherwise. If only we could have the equivalent of such a web site for our material life! Imagine, if you were lucky enough to find one good car mechanic, you would automatically be directed to one good dentist, one good family physician, one good lawyer, etc. And if you first found the good family physician, you would also automatically be lead to the good car mechanic, etc.! Wow!
4.3) Self-defense. If all Catholic media stick together, then an attack against one becomes an attack on all. For example, if unjust laws try to gag a small newspaper in a remote location in Mexico, then all Catholic media in the Americas (and perhaps the world) will be able to rush to the rescue (for example by running a special news bulletin on their web site, newspaper, magazine, etc.).
4.4) Quality Assurance. If things aren't going well for the Catholic Church these days, it's largely because of the sins of Catholics. The more we will sanctify ourselves, the more truth will shine. Practically speaking, the simple fact that some media will be rejected because they don't respect the Charter of Duties of Catholic Media, and that others will have to improve themselves to be admitted, is a step in the right direction.
4.5) Protection of good religious leaders. The fundamental assertion of this web site is that the health of the Church depends first and foremost on the health of its religious leaders. Even if we admitted that no Deacons, Priests or Bishops were heretics, it would still be true that many shepherds are terrorized, and therefore don't defend the teachings of Christ in their fullness. If all Catholic media united, they could take under their protection the religious leaders who dare to speak and proclaim the Gospel in contradiction with the spirit of the world. This protection according to us would be very effective, since one of the fundamental weapons used by wolves is behind-the-scene intimidation. When those wolves are surrounded by microphones and cameras, they often become as gentle as lambs!
"If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand" [Mk 3:24].
Basically, this project is only a little common effort to proclaim explicitly and in a single location what we already say implicitly and in a scattered way.
You could say we are trying to give back to Christ our King his sword, reforged in the fire of Charity, from its three pieces (the Catechism of the Catholic Church, allegiance to the Pope, and the good manners our mother has taught us), a bit like Narsil, the sword of Aragorn, son of Arathorn.
If we succeed, the Father of Lies and his Orcs had better watch out!
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