Auspicious changing of the guard
Last December 12, Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle was installed as the new archbishop of the Diocese of Manila. It was an auspicious changing of the guard in ecclesiastical circles, and bodes well for the “mediagenic” future of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, because Archbishop Tagle is one of the truly media-savvy prelates we have.
In fact, he hosts his own religious TV show, in which he discusses spiritual matters with a devout but decidedly contemporary point of view.
In this regard, he calls to mind the late, great Pope John Paul II, who was an actor, director, poet and essayist from his student days in Poland onward, and was a past master at using the media to spread God’s word throughout the world.
Pope John Paul II urged the clergy and all Catholics to use the media to make the church a more dynamic presence in people’s lives, but his call has not been answered to a sufficient degree because some priests and nuns are still in the dark about and sometimes even timorous and downright fearful of the media due to its “worldly” connotations.
We trust that, now that he’s in charge, Archbishop Tagle will educate and inspire his pastors and parishioners to overcome this fear and inhibition, so that they can better comply with the late pontiff’s visionary exhortation.
We trust, too, that Archbishop Tagle won’t stop hosting his TV show but will, in fact, expand its scope and reach, so that it can serve as the TV linchpin of his archbishopric.
He could also take steps to accelerate the growth into real relevance of the TV Maria religious channel, which is generally still too traditional in its view of religious broadcasting to have the desired dynamic impact on viewers.
We watch many religious programs and observe that a lot still needs to be done in this regard—even on the international Catholic channel EWTN. Some hopeful signs include the work being done in Pampanga by the TV program “Men of Light,” originally produced and directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya, which has now also been shown via other cable outlets all over the country.
Connecting with viewers
Talking about local religious programming in general, communicators representing most denominations have much more to do before they can say that they’re really connecting with their televiewers from a spiritual point of view. Some religious programs shown on local TV are even shockingly un-Christian, because they criticize and malign other faiths.
This reminds us of the time, years ago, when we were so shocked to hear a TV pastor excoriating a rival group on TV that we wrote about his show to criticize him in no uncertain terms. You know what happened? The next time we caught the “religious” program, the vile and bilious TV pastor was venting his vicious anger on us!
We trust that, under the stewardship and supervision of more media-savvy religious leaders like Archbishop Tagle, spiritual radio-TV shows on the local airwaves will experience a resurgence and more truly dynamic and ennobling enhancement of spirit. Man’s spiritual life is too important to be limited by the constricted and constricting purview of the clueless and the timorous.
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