Thursday 26th May 2016

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Covering Catholicism… Fr. John Wauck Reflects On Teaching Communicators To Communicate

July 2, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By TOM HOOPES

(Editor’s Note: ZENIT News Agency reprinted this with permission from the Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College in Kansas.
(ZENIT made the text available; all rights reserved.)

+    +    +

ROME (ZENIT) — Last fall, Fr. John Wauck spoke to the Gregorian Fellows at Benedictine College about Pope Francis, the communicator. Now he will be offering a weeklong seminar in Rome for journalists, “The Church Up Close: Covering Catholicism in the Age of Francis,” organized by the School of Church Communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, September 8-14.
I first met Fr. John in Washington, D.C., when he was a speechwriter for U.S. Attorney General William Barr and have followed his career ever since.
A native of Chicago, he graduated from Harvard. He has lived in Rome for the past ten years and was featured in stories examining Opus Dei with regard to the Da Vinci Code, but his day job is teaching literature. In his life before becoming a priest, he was editor of The Human Life Review, and was a speechwriter also for then Gov. Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania.

+    +    +

Q. John Allen Jr. [then of the National Catholic Reporter] once said of many reporters covering the Church, “This would be like sending me to cover football.”
What are the worst gaffes you have seen from journalists?
A. A particularly amusing case involved a very sophisticated, experienced reporter from one of the most prestigious newspapers in the world, who, in an article, wrote about “a crow’s ear,” when the object in question was a bishop’s “crosier.”
To me, what’s most significant about that isn’t the journalist’s unfamiliarity with a small point of ecclesiastical culture; it’s the fact that no one else at the paper — and we’re talking about highly cultured people — caught the error. No bells went off in the back of anyone’s mind.
I recall being taken aback, at one of our Church Up Close seminars, by the surprise of a journalist (an extremely well-educated religion journalist, as a matter of fact) when he realized that Catholics believe that the Church was founded by Jesus Christ Himself.
It’s a very basic and, perhaps for some, obvious point, and it really changes one’s entire approach to the Church and its affairs.
I think many reporters who have to write about the Church are well aware that they are not experts. That’s one of the reasons why our Church Up Close seminars have been so well received.
Q. What effect has Pope Francis had on news coverage?
A. Right now, one of the most compelling — and most popular — figures on the world stage is Pope Francis, the Successor of St. Peter. This may come as a surprise to many. A former Rome correspondent of The New York Times recently made this remarkable admission.
On my vague mental list of things that might someday come back into fashion, the papacy was never present. I used to cover it for the Times, from 2002 to 2004, and was convinced then that my beat wasn’t just a dying man — John Paul could barely walk and struggled to talk — but a dying institution, at least in the United States and much of Europe.
But the bevy of bulletins from Rome and the merry nature of so many of them suggest that people everywhere, even in the more Godless precincts of the Western world, can’t get enough of this new Pope and are committed to giving him the benefit of the doubt.
There’s no question that we are living through a fascinating moment in the life of the Church and its relationship with modern culture. And the best papers and journalists want to get up to speed.
Increasingly, I think, it’s becoming apparent that, as a news story, religion is not receding.
The Church is not fading away. I think that something that comes through very clearly for journalists who have spent some time in Rome is the truly “catholic” or universal character of the Church.
Going to an audience with the Pope and witnessing the enthusiasm of tens of thousands of people from every corner or the globe is always an eye-opening experience.
Obviously, one knows in theory that there are Catholics from very diverse cultures, but it’s another thing to hear, see, and touch in St. Peter’s Square in the presence of Peter’s Successor.
Q. What stories have been most affected by the lack of knowledgeable religion reporting?
A. I think that coverage of the sex abuse crisis, which was obviously an important story that merited intense coverage, was sometimes marred by many journalists’ unfamiliarity with the Church.
Certainly, the questions of canon law and ecclesiastical jurisdiction were challenging for even well-prepared journalists to cover.
The sheer size of the Church also presents a challenge for putting stories in perspective. For instance, the Church in the United States, where there are 78 million Catholics, is larger than the total population of any European country — except Germany and Russia.
It dwarfs the next largest Protestant denomination, to say nothing of the various Jewish and Islamic communities. Something similar could be said about the institutional longevity of the Church — the existence of a readily identifiable unbroken chain of authority, with the attendant burden of responsibility, over the course not just of decades but of centuries.
These are questions largely of perspective. Then there are issues of doctrine and morality, which often tend to be treated from a secular political point of view, as if they were merely questions of policy, when in reality they touch upon fundamental issues like the nature of the Church and Revelation.

A Crash Course

Q. What success have you seen in your work with journalists?
A. Our Church Up Close seminar offers journalists from around the globe a chance to get to know the Church in Rome personally. Another quite specific benefit that the journalists receive is contacts. While they’re participating in the seminar, they meet people — often otherwise hard to approach — who can help them with future articles and perhaps, in some cases, serve as sources.
The seminar in September, which we do every other year, is really an outgrowth of a monthly seminar that we do at the university in Italian for Rome-based Vaticanisti.
That monthly seminar was so successful that we decided we ought to offer it in English for journalists who have to cover the Catholic Church but don’t have the luxury of living in Rome. To facilitate things, we also compressed it into one week.
So, it’s basically a high-level crash course on the Catholic Church as seen from Rome. Along with specific contacts, the journalists get a better sense of who’s who and how things work at the Vatican, and I think that, for most of the participants, their historical and cultural perspective on the Church is broadened, both by the various speakers and by international group of journalists with whom they spend the week.
They learn a lot from each other.

+    +    +

(© 2014 Innovative Media Inc.)

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

34% of “Pro-Choice” Women Who See This Viral Video Turn Against Abortion

A new four-minute viral video is causing over a third — 34 percent — of “pro-choice” women surveyed to view abortion “less favorably.” And 28 percent of pro-choice women who watched the video stated there should be more restrictions on…Continue Reading

‘Biblically wrong’: Oklahoma lawmakers urge Obama’s impeachment over transgender bathrooms

Lawmakers in Oklahoma have introduced legislation calling for President Barack Obama to be impeached because of his administration’s support for transgender bathrooms. Another bill calls for a declaration of emergency in the state. In a measure called Senate Concurrent Resolution…Continue Reading

Oklahoma legislature passes bill making it a felony to perform abortions

Lawmakers in Oklahoma approved a bill Thursday that would make performing abortions a felony and revoke the medical licenses of most physicians who assist in such procedures. This sweeping measure, which opponents described as unconstitutional and unprecedented, now heads to…Continue Reading

Unanimous Win for Little Sisters of the Poor at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the government cannot fine the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Supreme Court vacated the lower court rulings against the Little Sisters, accepting the government’s admission that it could meet…Continue Reading

Conservatives outraged over Obama transgender directive to public schools

The Obama administration’s directive Friday that every public school provide transgender access — or face the loss of federal funds — drew swift and strong condemnation from conservatives, with one public official blasting it as presidential “blackmail.” The administration’s directive…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Leaders Decry Scandals, Urge Catholic Colleges to Reject Culture of Death

Concerned by recent high-profile events at Catholic colleges featuring pro-abortion leaders — including Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, Bill Clinton, Wendy Davis and Vice President Joe Biden — 31 Catholic and pro-life leaders joined a statement urging Catholic colleges to “stand firm…Continue Reading

ACLU launches campaign to strip Catholic hospitals of federal funds

NEW YORK, May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic hospitals across the U.S. are “withholding emergency care” and denying “essential health services,” the ACLU is alleging in a new campaign. They also inflict harm on “transgender and gender-non-conforming patients” “when seeking…Continue Reading

Harvard Law Professor Says Pro-Life Christians Should be Treated Like Nazis

Every day, it seems, the United States is becoming a more hostile environment for people with pro-life and conservative positions. Abortion activists constantly challenge pro-life laws, stall abortion industry investigations, force religious objectors to pay for abortions and attack life-affirming…Continue Reading

Obama plans new push for transgender rights in schools

The divisive and politically combustible issue of bathroom access for transgender individuals is about to become further inflamed, as the Obama administration is expected in coming weeks to aggressively reinforce its position that transgender student rights are fully protected under…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Notre Dame is Wrong

Notre Dame’s Great Scandal: Honoring Vice President Biden By Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family: The University of Notre Dame has announced that they intend to confer the Laetare Medal, an honor given to Catholics “in…Continue Reading

DoJ to North Carolina: You Have Until Monday to Reverse Bathroom Bill

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory received a letter from the Department of Justice that gives him until Monday to reverse his state’s controversial bathroom bill, reports The Hill. The DoJ said the law is in violation of the federal Civil…Continue Reading

Lavender Graduations Harmful to Students at Catholic Colleges

At least eight Catholic colleges across the country are hosting “lavender graduations” this spring — many of them as part of an annual campus tradition — to celebrate and honor students with same-sex attraction (SSA) or who identify as lesbian,…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Commentary

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .      

Today . . .

Catholic College Presidents Hopeful for Resolution in HHS Mandate Challenge

The presidents of two Catholic colleges involved in the U.S.Supreme Court challenges to the HHS mandate applauded the Court’s recent decision to vacate all lower court rulings and expressed their hope that a positive resolution for religious freedom would soon be reached. “I am pleased that Supreme Court has offered us a way forward which doesn’t require us to participate in the provision of the services which – See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/4914/Catholic-College-Presidents-Hopeful-for-Resolution-in-HHS-Mandate-Challenge.aspx#sthash.MOQCZdCV.dpuf

Pope Francis: Christians live God’s love with joy, astonishment

(Vatican Radio) No Christian can exist without joy: that’s what Pope Francis said in his Homily at Mass Monday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse. The Pope stressed that even through life’s difficulties, the Christian knows he can trust in Jesus and find hope. The Pope also reminded the faithful they should not allow riches to dominate their lives because they ultimately lead to sadness. Christians live in joy and amazement because…Continue Reading

Pope Angelus: The Holy Trinity, where there is love there is God

(Vatican Radio) “The feast of the Holy Trinity invites us to engage in the daily events to be the leaven of communion, of consolation and of mercy.” Those were Pope Francis’ words during his Angelus address on a sunny Trinity Sunday from his studio above St Peter’s Square. Drawing inspiration from the Gospel of St. John, the Pope said that Jesus knew how to be close to the realization of the Father’s plan, which will…Continue Reading

Pope emeritus: Third Secret of Fatima was released in full

popeben

(Vatican Radio) Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said he never told anyone the publication of the “Third Secret of Fatima” in the year 2000 was incomplete, and confirmed the document was published in its totality. A Communiqué was published Saturday by the Holy See Press Office on various articles regarding the “Third Secret of Fatima.” “ Several articles have appeared recently, including declarations attributed to Professor Ingo Dollinger according to which Cardinal Ratzinger, after the…Continue Reading

Pope: Understanding for sinners, no negotiating the truth

(Vatican Radio) Announcing the word of God should never be dissociated from the understanding of human weakness. That was Pope Francis’ message during the daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the Gospel passage in which Christ speaks with the Pharisees about adultery, he said the Lord overcomes the human vision which would reduce the vision of God to a casuistic equation. The Gospel, the Pope said, is full of examples of the…Continue Reading

Cicero In An Election Year

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY In the midst of the turmoil that characterized the mid-decades of the last century, the English jurist Sir Patrick Devlin wrote, “If a society’s laws are based on a particular worldview and that worldview collapses, the laws themselves will crumble.” His 1965 book, The Enforcement of Morals, is still worth reading…Continue Reading

Eastern Orthodoxy And The Particular Judgment

By JAMES LIKOUDIS In previous articles (The Wanderer, July 3, 2014; June 25, 2015), it was observed that: “Perhaps to the surprise of some Catholic ecumenists, Catholic doctrine regarding the Particular Judgment remains obscure, confused, or even denied among the Eastern Orthodox. They have no clear official teaching that the just go to Heaven immediately…Continue Reading

Obama To Visit The Land Of State-Owned Enterprises

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + President Barack Obama will visit Vietnam, which his own State Department last month certified is still controlled — four decades after the fall of Saigon — by the Communist Party.…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Why Should Pro-Lifers Be Concerned About Dissent?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of the book Call to Action or Call to Apostasy, consisting of a detailed description of the current forms of dissent and how to fight them, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) +…Continue Reading

Sharpening The Mind With Words

By DONALD DeMARCO My biology teacher of many moons ago took perverse delight in terrorizing his students while they were taking an exam. “Plagiarism,” he would bellow, “is arousing the suspicion of the proctor.” He enjoyed the sound of his own voice and repeated this warning many times. He intended it to be more intimidating…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Cardinal Mueller Reminds The Church Of Her Marriage Doctrine

By MAIKE HICKSON Part 2 (Editor’s Note: We are publishing this commentary from Gerhard Cardinal Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as reported by Maike Hickson, in two parts. The first part appeared in last week’s issue. (OnePeterFive graciously gave The Wanderer reprint permission for this article. All rights reserved. See: www.onepeterfive.com/cardinal-muller-reminds-church-marriage-doctrine/. (Dr. Hickson, born…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Spiritual Exercises

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The way the human body physically works can teach us something about virtue and the way God’s grace works spiritually for each of us: We must use it to grow it. As I reminded our Life Teens and their families at Mass recently, if they slack off on physical exercise during the summer, come fall…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church . . . One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 1 After investigating the Inquisition, now we take a good look at the greatest marvel on this side of eternity: the Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. To rule a country is not an easy job. That is why no head of state these days can…Continue Reading

The Seven Sacraments — Categories And Effects

By DON FIER Each of the seven sacraments, according to the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, was personally instituted by Christ during His visible stay on Earth. As we saw last week, the details of institution for some — even the precise words for administration — are taken directly from Scripture. However, as Christoph Cardinal Schönborn states in Living…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. What is the official standing of Fr. Nicholas Gruner, who believed that the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary had not been done properly? He was known as “the Fatima priest,” but I always thought that title belonged to Fr. Robert Fox. — M.S., Kentucky. A. Fr. Gruner died at the age of 72 on April…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustine Of Canterbury

By CAROLE BRESLIN A Celtic cross erected in 1884 marks the spot in Ebbsfleet, Thanet, East Kent, where St. Augustine of Canterbury is said to have landed in 597. While some form of Christianity in England may be traced back to the times of the Roman occupation, it did not become a strong presence until the arrival of St. Augustine,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Crispin Of Viterbo

By CAROLE BRESLIN In March 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica of Our Lady of the Vine (Oak) located in Tuscany, Italy, to proclaim our Lady patroness of the Diocese of Viterbo. The tradition of visiting the image of Our Lady of the Oak began 600 years ago in 1417 when Mastro Baptist Magnano Iuzzante commissioned an image…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading