Condemned to ineffectivity? Is there anyone out there?

So I was recently with another priest and we were watching EWTN on the big screen. And in the middle of the show he said, “I can’t take it any more,” and he changed the channel to HGTV. It didn’t bother me a bit since we were just relaxing. I began thinking about what had happened and I asked him,”Doesn’t it bother you that you would rather watch a show about houses than watch a show about the thing that is most important to you–your faith?”

So, I talk to many people about EWTN. It is a Catholic network that reaches hundreds of thousands of people across the world by TV and radio. Should be great, right?  What I have discovered is that the largest group of viewers is people my grandparents’ age. There are fewer middle-aged people who tune in and even fewer young people who tune in. So far I have met two young people who watch the network.  The majority of the people that I have talked to (these are faithful Catholic people, mind you) cannot bear to watch the network.  Even the most likely young Catholic is not tuning in.

The story of EWTN is very interesting.  Mother Angelica, with little more than a desire and the help of God, single-handedly pulled together the talent and the technical parts to begin broadcasting as a full-time television station.  The vision, the desire, the commitment were all inspiring.  But now we seem to be left with old sets, old graphics, old production styles, and lots of talking heads.

So, where is the problem?  People talking “about” things simply does not inspire.  Blessed John Paul II said that the young will listen to witnesses.  We need to put peoples lives on the screen using all the modern technology, most of which can be literally downloaded in ten minutes, to tell stories about real people.  To show the beauty of the Catholic faith in a way that moves, in a way that sometimes gives people goosebumps, in a way that makes people want to try to live better, in a way that connects people with a God that is supremely interesting and compassionate.

I have been searching the internet and speaking with people I know about this kind of vision to find out where the people are who are doing this. Grassroots Films is doing it, Veritas Pictures is doing it, Spirit Juice Studios is doing it, now Lolek Productions is trying to do it.  But that is all I can find.

So, I want to know, “Is there anyone out there who wants to inspire the world?  And why aren’t they doing anything?”


5 thoughts on “Condemned to ineffectivity? Is there anyone out there?

  1. Many catholics may be bored with EWTN, but what the Lord did (and still does) with this media outlet is a miracle. The US Bishops have been unable to duplicate this success. Instead of fighting what the Lord has raised up, young catholic production companies may want to join ranks to give EWTN a badly needed facelift. Aren’t we all on the same team here? Be about the business of evangelizing the lost and strengthening the body. Other than that, it is just making movies.

  2. I am just an old fogey (63), but I much prefer to “read,” than to “watch” or ‘listen.” Does this have anything to do with anything? Probably not, but my son showed me this web site and I read and I wrote—and enjoyed. Mary Lou

    • Mary Lou,
      Thanks for posting!
      Reading is quite a gift. The things that others “watch” and “listen to” are things that your imagination provides for you. We must not lose this ability. The aim of good Catholic media should not be to desensitize the young, but to give them a forum to use and cultivate their imaginations. If we get so caught up in forcing our own imaginings without inspiring others to imagine themselves, we have failed.

      Fr. Josh

  3. I think a big part of it is just getting used to it. I know for me (and I’m 24 by the way), I appreciate what EWTN has to offer and will watch it on occasion but it’s just not the type of programming my husband and I are used to watching. Personally, I have really gotten into my local Catholic radio station lately which has a lot of talks from EWTN. But it took me awhile. The first several times I listened I ended up switching the station. But now I’m used to it and my morning commute seems weird without the “Sunrise Morning Show.” I think the programming EWTN has to offer just takes adjustment from the usual shows that fill our tvs.

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