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Mark Shea Comments on the Catholic New Media Celebration

This is our second posting from bloggers who are attending the Catholic New Media Celebration in Atlanta this month. We asked them the question “How has new media like blogging and podcasting changed evangelization?” Here is Mark Shea’s answer:

How the New Media has Changed Catholic Evangelization for Me

I suppose the quickest summation is this: before the appearance of the New Media I was hardly doing Catholic evangelization.  Now I do it all the time.

See, it’s like this: I’m a writer.  Writing before the Internet involved a lot of paper, postage, ink, and time.  You actually had to mail the article to an editor, who then had to do stuff to the paper (either send it back with a polite “No thanks” in the Self Addressed Stamped Envelope or send it on to copy editing to change your esoteric piece titled “Encountering the Mystery of Christ in the Most Holy Rosary” into “My Friend the Rosary”).  Weirdness happened in typesetting.  Editors tend to buff out things they don’t like.  All this took time.

Then came the internet.  Sending article and book MSS became extremely easy (except for Luddites).  That sped up the time in which I could write and turn around articles.  It also made possible the birth of the USENET group and other forms of online “community” where people could chat about the Faith.  This meant new opportunities to meet friends, interesting questions–and jerks.  Conversations ensued.  Those turned into ideas for articles and books.  Those turned into articles and books.  Those turned into a wider audience and people with new ideas for exploiting the technology such as www.catholicexchange.com, which hired me to write for them.

Then help with book projects on various motion pictures such as The Passion of the Christ. Then do radio spots.  Then do podcasts.

All that led to lots of talks around the English-speaking world from Australia to England.  And all the while I was busy writing.  I started a blog called Catholic and Enjoying it which wound up being read by a not-inconsiderable number of folk and which put me in touch with a lot of other bloggers, info sources, and media types, who in turn afforded me more opportunities to talk about the Catholic gospel (aka “the gospel”) on various fora and in various venues.  I’ve talked about the gospel on college campuses, in pubs, on cruise ships, in people’s houses, on the air, in airplanes, on the tube, at parishes, at Protestant churches, with atheists, and a lot of other places that I can’t think of offhand.

And not just me.  The blogosphere has made possibly 50 gazillion creative initiatives for spreading the gospel and doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  Some folk will hear, on That Day, “I was a tsunami victim and you raised funds for me on your blog.  Enter into the kingdom.”

Not a bad use for technology that!

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