If You’re Reading this Blog, You’re Way Above Average. A Recent Study Shows Some Startling Data Regarding Catholic Internet Sites

Some rather sobering, even shocking data is available over at the CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) blog. The data stunningly refutes the claim that the way to reach young Catholics is via the Internet.  I must say I was more and more startled as I read the data, thinking, “This can’t be so.” But the bottom line seems that if you are a Catholic, reading this or other Catholic blogs for information or encouragement about your faith, you are a very rare bird. If you are under 30, and reading Catholic blogs and news sites, you are the rarest of birds.

Let’s look at the data. The text from the CARA report is in bold black italics, my comments are plain text red. The full CARA post is here: CARA on New Media

Millennial Catholics (born after 1981) represent about one in five adult Catholics (19%) and….are sometimes described as the digital or new media generation. Many in the Church assume that the way to connect with this emergent generation of Catholics is not through traditional print media, television, or radio, but online—through blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter accessed on smart phones, tablets, and e-readers. The hope is often stated that we may be able to use new media to get this generation “back into the real world pews” that are more often populated by their parents and grandparents.

Yes, this is surely the premise in every discussion I have had, with anyone who has an opinion, and it is surely my own. It is widely assumed that within ten years paper books as we know them are going away, Catholic newspapers will all but disappear, and all Catholics will contribute their money to the parish electronically. The basic premise is that we are at the end of an era, and that many such things are simply going to disappear as younger people take their place. But not so fast, says the data. The landscape is a bit more complicated and pace of change less like lightening and more like a slow walk.

The Catholic Press Association (CPA) of the United States and Canada recently commissioned CARA to conduct a national poll of adult Catholics to measure their media use. CARA partnered with Knowledge Networks to conduct the survey in May and June 2011. The survey was completed by 1,239 self-identified Catholics who were 18 years of age or older (resulting in a sampling margin of error of ±2.8 percentage points)….. 1200 is a pretty normal sample size.

The findings from these studies suggest that the emerging picture for new media use by Catholic adults overall—and especially among the Millennials is not as promising as many hope or assume. The problem is…the Internet is a much more vast space and is navigated by search and social network….You likely won’t even get it on their computer screen or iPhone unless they are interested in it and looking for it.

It’s the same lesson we have to learn in evangelization. The “build it and they will come” days are over. We have to open our Church doors and go out and meet and engage people, not just hope they will come. We have to be in this work for the long haul, and realize that relationships, and connections are just as important, as spiffy content. Developing interest is more the key than simply being “out there” with jazzy stuff.

First, the study shows that only a slight majority of Catholics (52%) pay “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of attention to national news….In the new media age, they don’t have to. Thirty years ago many had only over-air television reception with three networks, and local radio and newspapers to choose from. The news was an inescapable part of the broadcast. With the development of cable television, satellite radio, the Internet, e-readers, etc. the content available to most has now expanded exponentially. In this new media environment, many have “narrowcasted” themselves into their interests—whatever these may be—and have largely tuned out the world that is not of their immediate interest. Entertainment has often trumped news, information, or other content when making these choices. Attention to news is lowest among young Catholics.

I wrote an article here at this blog on this very topic almost two years ago: Living in a Self Selected Universe. A paradoxical effect of the “global communication age” is that many people increasing set up their own world to live in. Shared experience is becoming more and more rare. Most people I know NEVER watch the news anymore, unless something shocking has happened. Otherwise they listen to music, have a steady diet of sports, or watch their favorite shows, and check in on only a very highly selective set of Internet sites that suit their pre-programmed interests. So, while more of everything is available, less is actually consumed or experienced, that’s the paradox.

What about use of religious and spiritual content?….When it comes to Catholicism, more often than not, traditional media still have a much broader reach in a “new media” age. Despite what conventional wisdom or anecdote may suggest, Millennials do not overwhelmingly prefer reading content online compared to print. A third of these respondents indicate a preference for online content (32%), while another third prefers reading print (33%). Thirty-five percent do not have a preference either way.

And here is a really big surprise. I am not surprised that younger Catholics do not read or view, a lot of Catholic content. We have to work on that. But I AM surprised that those who do, show no substantially higher preference for “new media.” In fact it would seem that more are content to make use of traditional printed media. I am still convinced that the number preferring new media will continue to grow, but am most surprised it is not far higher.

While 22% of adult Millennial Catholics have read a print copy of their diocesan newspaper in the last three months (compared to 26% of all adult Catholics) only 4% of those in this generation have sought this out and read it online. Seventy percent of Millennials have no awareness of any of the major national print Catholic magazines and newspapers. Only one title, Catholic Digest, garners more than 7 percent awareness among Catholics under 30 and this publication has among the lowest web traffic of any title listed, 423 visitors per day at the time of this post.

And here is double bad news. Not only do most Catholics not read or view Catholic materials, but having them in the “new” format has not helped. The bottom line remains that most Catholics are simply not that interested in what their Church or the faith teaches or offers. Secularism is very deep among even “pew sitters” it would seem, many of whom check off the “God-box” on Sunday and have little recourse or interest in their faith otherwise. Rare indeed, are those who go to Mass these days (27%) and rarer still are those who invest time in the faith and what the Church offers later in the week.

This disinterest in Catholic media also means that most Catholics who do hear about the Church, hear it through a secular and usually hostile media or format. That breads another whole set of problems.

Of those Catholics who do read religious or spiritual content, most are doing so in print, not online. Catholics are also more likely to watch religious or spiritual video content on television than online and to listen to religious or spiritual audio over the radio or on a CD than in online podcasts. Fascinating. I am feeling very odd and “different” right now.

Of the new media offerings, Millennials are generally no more likely (accounting for margin of error) than older Catholics to say they have done anything online or through the use of e-readers related to religion or spiritually.

I have sensed this for a while now too, that the so-called age gap is mistaken, and that most of my readers, and those who listen to my Podcasts, are closer to me in age (I am 50) and that those who are much younger, may be out on the Internet, but not at Catholic sites, or sites like mine. Frankly the same is true of my more than 4,000 Facebook friends. The majority are closer to me in age.

The news on YouTube is not much better….the Vatican’s channel ranks #3,562 on YouTube in video’s viewed globally…..Search for any video including a “Catholic” reference and sort by “most views.” But be very cautious as there is a vast amount of offensive content (with many, many views) and you’ll find much of it to be designed for entertainment rather than anything informational, educational, or devotional.

Yes, it really is a terrible experience to search on YouTube for anything Catholic. Some of the most hateful, anti-Catholic stuff is out there. Some of it is semi-pornographic or just plain lewd. It seems there are a lot of people on YouTube who really, I mean really, hate the Catholic Church. I also have a YouTube page and I get some of the most hateful comments on very innocent videos I post. YouTube is a real “wild west” kind of environment and it is very clear that anti-Catholic videos are far more popular than videos which celebrate or promote the Faith. Sad, really.

The current discourse surrounding Catholic new media is often very rosy and optimistic. The data just do not match this conversation—yet. There certainly is no shortage of very successful Catholic blogs with significant followings…But these typically do not reach audiences to where they would be considered mass media. The survey results indicate that only 6% of Catholic adults (and 8% of Millennials) read a religious or spiritual blog in the three months prior to being surveyed. But what can be concluded is that creating content for new media does not mean people will use it. The era of broadcasting is over. In a narrowcasted world, people have to be aware of and want to visit and use your content. Right now not enough Catholics seem interested or aware. Pretty straight-forward and cogent conclusion!

Although Millennial Catholics are using new media frequently, they have yet to use it for religion and spirituality in any great number. Will they ever? How can this be achieved? Those are unanswered and difficult questions for now. Is it the content? Is it the crowded media environment? Is it a culture consumed by pop media and entertainment? Is it secularization? This study generated just as many questions as it did answers. New media will require new research and a new understanding.

I am interested in what you think, and especially your answer to some of the questions raised here at the end.

Yes, if you are reading this blog or other Catholic sites, you are WAY above average 🙂  Yes, you are a rare bird. Please keep reading and encourage others to read Catholic sites. Otherwise, most of what they get is through hostile and secular sources. Many of the bigoted, and hateful anti-Catholic YouTube videos have millions of views. Many pro-Catholic videos are luck to break 5000 views. Do the math, and once again we realize, it’s not a new medium that’s going to spread the faith alone. It’s evangelization, pure and simple. Tell someone about the Lord and the faith, and draw them to the sites that will nourish their faith. It’s old fashioned, one to one, person to person, word of mouth Evangelization that wins the day in the end.

Photo Credit above: Wirral PC Repair

Here’s an example of old fashioned evangelization. It does not exclude the new media, just ensures its success.

75 Replies to “If You’re Reading this Blog, You’re Way Above Average. A Recent Study Shows Some Startling Data Regarding Catholic Internet Sites”

  1. i’m 26..from a country in the far east..and i find your’s and fr scott’s blog helpful to me.
    I like your lengthy/detailed explanations and fr scott’s short/right on the button quotes.

  2. These are interesting findings. I am a cradle Catholic seeking to deepen and strengthen my knowledge of my faith. In so doing, I will be able to evangelize more effectively. FYI: Chanced upon this site via a twitter link 🙂
    God Bless!

  3. I am currently working on a manuscript on the new evangelization. In it, I make this EXACT point – evangelization is done “primarily” through the fostering of personal relationships, not through insightful blogs and the distribution of tracts by famous Catholics who have the gift of the gab.

    Too much of “pop Catholicism” is touting this and that blog or this and that Catholic speaker as being “the response to the call for the new evangelization” (the new “catch word” that everyone wants to tag their enterprises with), when in reality, the people who are going about their day to day lives in obscurity while quietly living and witnessing to the Gospel are the ones who are REALLY and truly doing the “new evangelization”.

    The problem is we Catholics are way too caught up in the world. The world hawks its wares through popular Hollywood stars, and wants to make it the “latest thing” overnight, but we have always evangelized slowly through the silent witness of poor and obscure Catholics who no one outside their small circles have ever heard of or will ever hear of.

    The Church has also done too much “Protestantizing” since Vatican II – televangelism is Protestant, not Catholic. Humble and self-sacrificing men taking vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and serving their little communities as priests and religious without any outside recognition, is Catholic, not married men making loads of money through speaking gigs and the sale of merchandise (and I’ve seen the mansion of one such popular Catholic speaker, not to mention the wealth of Fr. Corapi – yes, you can make a good living off religion).

    Thanks for the article, Father – glad to hear it’s not just me who’s saying this stuff (it gets pretty lonely in my ivory tower).

    1. Archbishop Sheen’s televangelism was Protestant? And since the Second Vatican Council? I think not. His Emmy for Most Outstanding Television Personality was from 1952.

      It’s all in how you do it.

    2. In terms of evangelization, it would seem that sites like this and many others are probably most helpful, at least currently, in helping to equip and encourage already interested Catholics to evangelize. But in the end those of us who are thus equipped have to get out there and meet real people and develop real relationships, not just virtual that serve as the basis for true and lasting evangelization.

      In am not sure that Protestant is the best term to use in terms of new media. However, we ought to be careful not to stray too far, as you say, into merely trendy, flashy, reinvent yourself every 90 days, approaches.

  4. Television and radio broadcasts have one huge advantage over the internet – someone else chooses the content for you. You won’t experience the anxiety of having to select just a few of good podcasts/sermons/blogs/news from thousands of equally good or even better.

    1. by the way, I am 26 and I use the internet for viewing faith-related content on a daily basis 🙂

  5. Well, I guess what this means is that evangelization has to take place using good. old-fashioned, person-to-person contact. That makes your idea of “each one reach one” all the more relevant.

    However, those of us doing the evangelizing must know our faith first. Blogs like this one are helpful in that effort. Your work is not in vain!

    There are many (perhaps the majority) Catholics out there who still need to be “evangelized.” Those who “check the box” need to be shown in a new way what a great gift they have. Sometimes these can be the hardest to reach because they have learned to take it for granted.

    1. I’ll echo Matt and let you know that this rare bird is learning a lot from your blog. It’s actually the only blog I read religiously. Thank you for the time and effort you take to reach beyond your own parish.

  6. Msgr Pope – I read your blog religioulsy (pun intended) and read many of the New Advent pieces regularly. I will be 49 in November and hail from your Alma Mater Mount Saint Mary’s although I have to say during my time at Mount St. Marys my theology professor’s , one being a priest, were on the brink of heresy. Through God’s grace I was fortunate enough to know and love my faith enough not to be swayed. Also, Blessed JP2 has always been a hero of mine since I was in high school and I thank God I had his voice to counter those I heard in theology during my years at the Mount. Having said all that I should also say that the Mount has come along way since then and is now theologically sound. God Bless you and thanks for the work you do.

  7. Interesting. I say we form posse’s and roam around the internet outside the Catholic blogosphere, and start some combox-evangelization (and catholic blog advertisement). Maybe start with the protestant blogosphere, and the atheists.

  8. I don’t think I’ve ever been called a rare bird before Msgr, but I’ll accept it as a complement. (Im 23. and I read your blog very frequently.) I just got back from World Youth Day two weeks ago. Last year I was a confirmation assistant teacher at my parish and got to hear about how my students (ages 15-18) use the internet in general. Digital media has its place, but I am inclined to think that the best way to engage the youth of today, especially those far from the church comes to us from the apostolic model;knocking on doors, two-by-two. Evangelizing the digital continent is definitively the responsibility of all able bodied faithful, but there’s just no replacement for old fashion dialogue at every possible place and moment. Also, for some reason, youth get wary (and they are very keen) when they see the church trying to be ‘too-relevant;’ sometimes when they see a church that has existed for so long bending to the techniques and methods to the current culture, they begin to feel strange. They expect the church to be different from the torrent that surrounds them. I don’t think creating more blogs and youtube channels is the answer to everything, but a new tide of converts has shown that good information available to those who seek it can go a long way. So great post.

    Yours truly,

    Rare Bird.

  9. May I add that as a young Baby-Boomer cradle Catholic, I don’t read the newspaper from our diocese because it is so stunningly boring and poorly written! (sorry to speak the truth…)

    1. Patti—It’s boring here (Texas) too. But, then look at the bishops we’re “blessed” with. Sorry Msgr Pope, I have all the respect in the world for the office of “Bishops”. They are the ones here who don’t seem to understand the Church’s teachings. The bishop in El Paso, is “distancing” himself from an Orthodox young priest there. This priest made the horrible mistake of writing a series on the Church’s teaching on Homosexuality, straight from the Catechism, & published it in the secular Newspaper there. Please, everyone, pray especially hard for the priests in Texas! I’m a ‘cradle Catholic’ with a firm foundation in sound Doctrine. I even read the Vat.II Documents! (Should be good for some ‘time off’ in Purgatory!) I’ve been forced to study The Church Fathers, even had my own copy of The Code of Cannon Law, old & new. I lost 3 of my 5 children to “New Age” Catachisis. The priest told them I was “pre-Vat II”, the Church is different now!” So, “Christ Among Us” won. Now, they’re either baptist or generic Christians. So, at 70, I’m getting my 2nd grandson ready for Confirmation, myself! He wants it, came & asked me for it!! I thank God! It’s so rare we get to live to see so much prayer answered. (outside of my own personal life I mean)
      Thank you again Msgr. Pope!! You’re blog & web-site are awesome.

    2. This. Definitely.

      We get two copies of the diocesan paper, despite my contacting our old parish before to get off their mailing list (which reminds me that I need to try again; the cost of mailing two copies to the same household is silly). The paper is so irrelevant! Any “real” news is stale long before the paper shows up; the writing is the sort of thing you might find in any halfway decent church bulletin, and, because I’m in a Texas diocese, half of the paper is in Spanish (that is, the paper is half English, half Spanish, instead of existing in two separate editions). I have no idea how much the diocese spends producing and sending out the paper, but I think the vast majority of the money is wasted, as no one I know of actually reads it.

  10. Msgr. Pope, thank you for your work as a priest. I read a number of blogs on newspaper sites and find the atheist/agnostic opinions to Catholic articles is extreme. There are so many people who follow Catholic sites whose only intention is to demean and counter the Catholic opinions expressed in the articles. That boils my blood and I write them back to ask why they would even bother to read such “religious filth”. Of course, they don’t reply back and we know why they don’t. There are so many ways of communication these days. It is mind-boggling trying to keep up with news and views that is available online. It is disheartening when a minority is made by the media to be a majority, such as the gay population. We here in Bastrop Texas have just gone through a terrible wildfire which destroyed 1600+ homes. It was a spiritual lift to see all the citizens of every race and creed come together to help each other out in whatever way possible. THAT is true Christianity and that is difficult to put into print. Peace and God bless.

  11. I’m a 27 year old male Catholic and I have been reading this blog on and off and surfing the links from New Advent for a few years now.

  12. Wish I could give you the answer but I am just as puzzled as you. I still attribute it to the mystery of iniquity. And one can point to various land marks that punctuate this. It goes back centries of course but one can point to certain ” recent ” land marks. First one has to recognize the age of sexual liberation, highlighted perhaps by the legalization of contreception, then the Lambeth conference which led to the secularization of many, perhaps most, of our Catholic institutions of higher learning, then we cannot ignore the sexual assault of the sixties and seventies, highlighted by the legalization of abortion. As awful as these things were and are they are mere indicators of a much deeper spiritual malaise, the underlying evil which led to it all. This is a lot of baggage to overcome, it requires real spiritual miracles to move people off the mark. One is tempted to say there is or has been a lack of leadership and inspiration from the higherarchy but I think that is rather unfair and perhaps untrue. We have always been blessed with good priests and bishops and for the last 150 years or so we have been blessed with saintly Popes. People just have not responded, at least not in sufficient numbers.

    1. the Lambeth conference… led to the secularization of many, perhaps most, of our Catholic institutions of higher learning

      Really? I understood it to be the lure of Federal student aid money that lured so many Catholic colleges and universities in America toward secularization.

  13. Never thought I would be on the cutting edge! In the minority, yes, but not on the frontiers of the cyber generation!

  14. I am in that demographic. The questions above puzzle me as much as you. I have no answers. But what if someone found twelve truly holy men — saints — and gave them each some paper and a pen.

    Ask them to write three-quarter-pages about God. Not what they’ve read about God, but what they know. Write about who he is, and about how we ourselves can come to know him. Avoid church politics, secular politics, culture, ethics and morality. Those are of second order importance. Focus on the first order. The second order follows the first in train.

    Take those pieces of paper and put them online in a manner that in some idle moment, when I offhandedly ask Google a question about suffering, free will, truth, prayer, beauty, forgiveness, love, sin, death, and all those other grave questions, I’ll find the work of your saints.

  15. Is this really substantively different than days of yore? How many Baby Boomers and older read the diocesan newspaper every week? How many bought books written by Fulton Sheen? I would venture a guess it’s not much bigger than the 6-8 percent of Catholic millenials who read blogs, listen to podcasts, etc.

    How to evangelize? The same way as always. These 6-8 percent are the role models in workplaces and families. For better or worse, we the angry comboxers are the face of the Catholic Church for most other Catholics in daily life.

    And if that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

  16. There is not much more I can add to your blog, except to say they will come. I came and found you because I sought the things you were writing. The internet venue will serve us well down the road.

    The bigger and older question is how do we catch in our nets those that swim aimlessly and with self-indulgence aside from old fashion evangelization? With the ease of accessing whatever fits our whims through the internet, we have an unprecedented challenge before us in that there is not that one-on-one interface. The image of Pope Benedict above is a good analogy of what needs to be done in the internet, and that is immerse ourselves in the venue in hopes of bringing those lost souls back to God.

  17. Perhaps the disinterest in Catholic media is related to the perceived quality of same. So many websites, blogs, and apps are not user friendly, not updated regularly, and not designed well. The ADW blog is great – but trying finding the link easily on the redesigned ADW website – it’s not intuitive. Even the Vatican’s main site seems designed to deter visitors (encyclicals, surely important documents, appear only as webpages, not download-able PDF files). I realize there are greater issues, and blogs such as this and websites such as Fr Barron’s Word on Fire are great, but the overall quality is shocking.

  18. I’m 26 (male) and I’ve been reading a wide variety of Catholic content through New Advent for a couple years now. I began reading mostly out of a desire to know what the Church was doing – as in Vatican news. I wanted to know what was being published, where the Pope was going, who was being appointed, etc. I already felt I had a good grasp on my Faith, so seeking out the Catholic blog community was about “keeping up with the latest”.

    My introduction to Catholicism on the internet was actually a couple of youtube videos Thomas Peters did that my Dad showed me. They were faux news spots where he interviewed (I think) Archbishop Chaput and gave some Vatican news roundups. I thought they were really great (and I’m sad he went to blogging rather than continuing them) and after a while I went looking for more things like it. So now I read the New Advent front page (I look at it like Catholic DrudgeReport), Fr. Barron’s Word on Fire youtube channel, and Rome Reports’ youtube channel.

    My point with all of these anecdotes is to bring up the idea that it is indeed a very rare person that goes to media, traditional or otherwise, in order to discover a Faith or to deepen their Faith. No matter how well written a blog is it can’t show Faith in a meaningful way. I think transmission of Faith occurs through a personal encounter with Christ in the form of another person. The Faith that is capable of making an impression on people is something you can see, hear, and participate in. That experience is almost never going to happen on the internet unfortunately.

  19. One more very insightful commentary. As a lapsed Catholic, I found my way back to the Catholic church through the Internet and the many Catholic resources there that explained a lot that I had never learned before. Catholic Answers, St. William of York parish in Stafford, New Advent and others are great sources.

    Maybe we need to start the evangelizing right at our elbows in the pews!

  20. I know a number of orthodox, Mass attending, Confession-going, Saint-reading Catholics of both sexes, chiefly fellow Millennials, a group including seminarians and priests, who minimize their use of (or entirely avoid) Catholic new media. Sometimes on the advice of orthodox confessors.


    Because it’s not good for their spiritual lives. By and large, Catholic stuff online isn’t edifying. Some of it is funny, lots of it is informative (although not necessarily correct), and some of it may have helped them (and me, a Millenial who became Catholic on account of it) in their spiritual lives, but most of it is not helpful, whatever ‘brand’ of Catholicism it comes from.

    It’s too worldly.

    A lot of the problem – but not all of it – consists of ‘Catholified’ secular material and platforms. In principle, Catholifying secular stuff is not a bad thing. But you have to do it properly, and I dare say that with the present non-level of lay catechesis, the condition of seminaries in the past 40+ years, and the very small small amount of catechetical and spiritual resources that have not been built in modern times on secular understandings, there are few people who can do much of it very well at all.

    So, what do we do about it? I don’t know. Perhaps I am wrong about what I have written above.

  21. Yeah I enjoy the internet resource the you & others provide. Newadvent, catholic.com, Fr Z, & too many others to name. I have a ton of ‘favorites’ on here. Youtube is great to share with others quickly & I read the Bible on my phone (side by side with the latin text to learn latin a bit more) along with the prayers in latin on phone, but I love having a hard copy of a book. I’m old school like that haha smelling a page is much better then a tablet that may go out if a solar storm hits or an EMP haha.

    Maybe the youth will change this all. As Sam Adams said its not the majority but a tireless minority setting brush fires in people’s minds

  22. I can’t say I’m really surprised by this. I don’t deny online content’s ability to influence, inspire, and help certain kinds of people, but it always seemed odd to me to assume it would be the new form of evangelization, the best way to get out the Gospel message. Few people’s conversion story talk about the tools they used but instead talk about the people they came into contact with: The great Saints, apologists, theologians, priests, religious, or faithful Catholics, contemporary and of the past. The internet, home of more bite-sized reading than anything else, is hard to build that relationship. Msgr Pope does a phenomenal job of making sure he present sizable reflections – one can truly begin building a relationship with your thought and, through that, share in your love for the Church. Even I, though, so trained to look for bite-sized readings, sometimes open your longer reflections and just pass them over as I look for something more bite-sized.

    Atop this, more and more people who are finding the faith, in my opinion, are the same people who strive to quiet their lives. The internet is probably the loudest place around. I know I’m personally happier after a few days of living non-digitally. Among my own circle of flesh and blood friends, I’m one of the few that “keeps up” with the blogosphere. People want real, tangible things more than easy access information and more substance than is often on offer in the internet world of soundbites.

    The evangelization of the digital continent must continue. There are souls out there who will only be reached in this way. However, one should not judge the usefulness of such endeavors based upon its wideranging influence. St. Francis didn’t exactly succeed in converting the Middle East, but I don’t think he considered his actions a failure. Life for God – if you do that digitally (and truly live for him on the digital continent) then God will work through you.

  23. In 1962, my mother, then 43, told me that her father (a retired US Navy Captain) told HER that about 95% of people don’t care about deep subjects such as the meaning of life or religion. I, only 10 and raised from birth as an intellectually-aware Catholic, was shocked and didn’t quite believe that most people would be so obtuse to the deeper realities of existence. However, today I’m 59, and reluctantly must in general, agree with my grandfather’s assessment of most humans’ interest level in things that are not here-and-now. I think those of us to whom the gift of Faith has been given are meant by God to proclaim the Good News as best as we can and to not be despondent if most do not pay attention. Giving the gift of Faith is in God’s control, not ours. Yes, we should do our best to put the message where and how it will have the best “chance” for being received positively, but we must actively oppose the mindset that WE, if we follow good MANAGEMENT techniques, can MANAGE our way to a more successful spreading of the Good News. Such an attitude, I believe gave rise to manager-bishops who tried management techniques to resolve the growing shortage of priests and resulted in toleration of sexually-malformed candidates for the priesthood and inattention to disciplining sexually-abusive priests.

  24. I find your use of the internet to be a wonderful method of reaching out and educating souls. I am not in my twenties, however, most young people I know use the internet daily for just about all types of communication and entertainment.

    The youngest seem to be looking for jokes and funny videos. Teenagers merely want to get together and tend to use it as a method of research and socialization.

    If there is anyone who is capable of helping that age group through the internet, I would say Msgr. Pope is one of those people. Your blogs are insightful and the added music videos illustrate your points well.

    The internet is easier than TV and its many distractions. The internet allows one to focus on an area of interest instead of becoming a prisoner to many ads for things we really don’t need. However, speaking of ads, the most successful tend to be funny and they address one’s emotions and need to find acceptance and love. (MasterCard commercials–“priceless”).

    In my opinion, Catholics struggling with their faith are more likely to research on line before returning to the church in person. Hence, my humble suggestions: Continue to educate and reach out on line as well as the old fashioned method.

  25. Seems to me that we should not be losing heart over numbers.
    I am a 23 year old Catholic who sees the persecution of the Church at my job as a teacher and through youth ministry and music ministry.
    (1) Young people are turning closer to our Lord when they know that what they do has significance. Our battle against the media will not be won on their terms – they have the financial resources and cunning to win over materialist hearts. We, however, offer them much more than comfort and fleeting happiness!
    (2) Young people are devoting their lives to God when they see themselves as a member of the Church and active Church life. As the internet ministry grows, so will people’s respect for the ministry. Right now, most Catholics do not know about the blog world. At one point, we didn’t have the rosary, but we learned! At one point we didn’t have OCP, Gather, or whatever English hymnal… but we learned! Our struggle is that the internet has not been integrated into homilies and catechetical confirmation prep classes as the go-to resource for young Catholics. If they don’t know that it’s there, why should they care? Our young people live what they are taught, but their hearts long for more.
    (3) Even beside that, I believe that hearts are growing from Catholic websites. It is wonderful that there is more than pornography on the internet, and you are at the forefront of the battle! Should Pope Benedict XVI stop writing Encyclical letters because day-to-day Catholics don’t read them? The Church consistently shows us that making Truth available has real consequences.
    (4) It is easier for us teachers to use internet resources and blogs to express to our students the wonderful harmony of the Catholic Church and faith lived.
    “Although Millennial Catholics are using new media frequently, they have yet to use it for religion and spirituality in any great number. Will they ever?”
    Our concern about an age group “Millennial Catholics” is a shadowy one – our young people keep growing older! So as to whether this specific generation of millennials will one day all stop shooting rabbits and start reading Catholic blogs – I think that the answer is wrapped up the the disjunction between print fiction and internet fiction. In the past, students read books from cover to cover as required by a class. This ensured that many students were given the same text. Will this happen in a similar way over the internet? That is unlikely. But in a new way, young people can be brought into the conversation of the faith and life of the faith. I believe that is the aspect where the Millennials will enter and begin to grow in their faith.

    “How can this be achieved?”
    I think that it’s up the the Pastors, Parents and Parochial schools. If they show interest in the internet community and growing together by seeking out the answer of questions, then slowly and surely the blog world will have a bigger influence. What if when a Catholic teen searched for transubstantiation on the internet they found a clear response? Wouldn’t that count as effective blogging?

    “Those are unanswered and difficult questions for now. Is it the content?”
    Millennials search for refuge. They are assailed from every angle by the Media who looms over education and over family life. They are tired of fighting against their own hearts and the Church offers them an engaging conversation that will enable them to be truly joyful amidst all the evil they see on television, in their families, in their friendships and in their schools. Ultimately the media wins over hearts by lowering their language and shining immediate gratification. We as bloggers can alienate others by the background knowledge required in order to understand content, especially when we take some edgy stance. If we don’t cover the gaps, then readers are immediately lost.This means that when we post, we must pray and ask the Holy Spirit for words, avoiding the temptation of getting caught in our own self-satisfaction.

    “Is it the crowded media environment?”
    Somehow Google and Youtube have many hits. What do they offer? Finding information quickly and personalized results. If you’re looking for a funny video, where do you go? If you’re looking for truth, where do you go? We must take a hard look at how hard it is to understand what exactly our website is about! Millennials aren’t looking for another reading assignment and only the advanced are looking for devotionals. In order to do front line evangelization, we should be clearly organizing our blogs! So many priests are referring to Catholic Answers. Why? clarity, succinctness, relevance, and adherence to the Magisterial teachings! Who heard of Catholic Answers 20 years ago?

    “Is it a culture consumed by pop media and entertainment?”
    In the middle ages, who funded the music? Why is the Church afraid of funding a new renaissance? It may be because we see before our eyes the bloodiest century and deepest poverty; quite a harsh call to charity. But if we are to love the Lord by that type of ministry, we should be actively showing the Millennials how they can still be involved! We are sacrificing evangelization with snappy music for evangelization with real heart, but we’re forgetting that we have a voice to talk with! Rise up, o Church with great strength! Sin is boring – start showing the extravagant lives of the saints and work of Jesus Christ through His Church! Remember how you yourselves were won for Christ.

    “Is it secularization?”
    If it is a philosophy of secularization that we are fighting, then a philosophy we must use to counteract it! Succinct, clear responses will turn the tide. We must be persistent.

    “This study generated just as many questions as it did answers. New media will require new research and a new understanding.”
    The art of good questioning is paramount to the art of good thinking. Christ gives us timeless evangelization resources in His Church. The question is, will we take advantage of the truth passed to us? To me, a 23 year old, it seems like my parents’ generation failed in passing the religion. The Holy Spirit holds the Church alive, and by that same Holy Spirit, the Church will rise!

  26. Dear Msgr. Pope,

    First may I say that I commend your efforts to use the internet to communicate Catholic information. As a 2nd year Diaconate Candidate, I invest some time each day gathering information off the internet so that I might become a more effective deacon to help me understand how people see their Catholic Faith in our day, plus it helps me to develop homilies (for class work at this time) where I can apply Gospel values and apply them to everyday life situations in our modern culture.

    As someone who has been directly involved in producing Catholic Media for over 25 years, I am also in a key position to observe what people are willing to invest in (as in buy Catholic media products) since I had produced over 500 Catholic programs covering just about everything from saints to sacraments, and youth to adult faith formation, to serve a worldwide audience.
    When I started in the mid-80s, there were large turnouts for Catholic conferences (3000-10000) people spending three days to grow in their Catholic faith. Since 2000, many of these conferences have disappeared for lack of attendence.

    My sense of these changes is a “new” spirituality replacing “traditional” church structure. It is a big challenge going forward and we all need to network and work together to learn effective new methods to proclaim the Gospel in a way that people will embrace it in their busy lives.

  27. Real relationships seem to be a strong indicator as to whether young people will visit a site or seek it out. Perhaps the church needs to build its web traffic on the backs of its real ministries that reach people in the flesh.
    For example, youth groups could have social network sites (or blogs) in which they share content with their members. Same for churches, Theology on Taps, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Social Justice programs, Right to Life groups, etc…
    As for Catholic newspapers, maybe they could host more “live events” such as debates, lectures, forums and then build social networks around those events in which people actually come and meet each other.
    Just a thought.


  28. Being in the younger demographic and being a convert, I’m sure I fall in the minority of your viewership. – 29 yrs old

    The single reason I am here is because a Catholic friend took an interest in my life, asked difficult questions and was honest enough to keep asking them until he exposed my lack of foundation in my life. He was encouraging and consistent but also persistent. He wouldn’t accept half thought out answers (and still doesn’t).

    Our faith is not a headline, a bumper sticker or a soundbite. It is more deap, substantial and it requires greater commitment and sacrifice. The only way you bring the younger crowd back into the Church is to continue doing what you are doing electronically but getting out in the world and cultivating the friendships with the hurting, the broken and the unfulfilled. Everyone is searching, they may not know what they are searching for but there is always a longing to be fulfilled, to be complete, to be in lockstep with truth and reason.

    As disappointment and novelty wear off, truth and reason will be there as they have been since the beginning. Electronic media is needed but it won’t often be the reason for winning over a soul. It will be there to edify those who need the encouragement to continue on with their arduous journey. This in turn will bring more light into the world and draw those who have grown tired of the darkness, of the wool being pulled over their eyes.

    Lost sheep indeed.

  29. Interesting. I’m 24, and I frequent your blog, as well as New Advent and the many other blogs Kevin Knight links to. I’ve noticed many of the other “Millennials” commenting here follow New Advent. I don’t know enough about the national statistics to dispute the CARA numbers, but I would be very interested to know the demographics of the traffic on specific blogs — on this one, and particularly New Advent, since it seems to be a very common gateway for Catholic blogs. Perhaps a poll, Msgr. Pope? And perhaps someone would propose something similar to New Advent?

  30. I’m 27, a New Advent junkie, and a regular reader of your blog in particular. Didn’t know that’d be odd!

  31. I am a younger (I just miss the millenial cutoff) cradle Catholic and I read Catholic blogs daily and get most of my news from Catholic websites. That having been said, I can see lots of reasons why some younger Catholics might not visit these sites:

    1) a lot of Catholic websites seem way more political than religious-spiritual. Yes, I know that faith must be practiced in the public sphere, I’ve read Faithful CItzenship, etc., but not everyone (including myself) is interested in politics and not everyone is pro-tea party (don’t flame me on this — I know there is a gamut of political opinions these days among Catholics but a lot of blogs really seem to presume that GOOD Catholics are politically homogenous. Nevertheless, this is my IMPRESSION and I could be statistically wrong on this). The more political the blog, the more contentious it seems to be, and why would willingly seek out the contentious when you are looking for spirituality? Another way to look at it: my generation isn’t exactly known for being super political (I’m not saying this is good, I’m just saying it is true), so hyper-political blogs are going to be a turnoff.

    2) A lot of Catholic blogs seem way more apologetic than catechetical. I think apologetics is important, but in the way that I see it in the blogosphere, it tends to be defensive (not in a negative sense, in the sense that it is reacting to the perceptions or beliefs of others) rather than simply presenting the truth of the Catholic faith in its own beauty.

    3) There seem to be 2 million (just kidding) blogs by Catholic converts, which is great, particularly if you are a Catholic convert or thinking about converting, but few really good blogs by cradle Catholics. Is there a difference? In my opinion, there is. SOmething of the richness of Catholic faith and culture is missing at these blogs. I don’t mean any disrespect or blame to the convert blogs — in time, much of this faith and culture will really become their own and they just may end up with the best blogs of all, but sometimes with respect to the depth of Catholic practice, they are a little thin. Incidently, this third point is related to the second: most convert blogs also focus on apologetics,

    Personally, I would love to see more blogs by thoughtful religious who discuss spirituality from the point of view of their own charism: a dominican discussing dominican spirituality, a carmelite discussing Teresa and John, etc.

  32. “The bottom line remains that most Catholics are simply not that interested in what their Church or the faith teaches or offers. Secularism is very deep among even “pew sitters” it would seem, many of whom check off the “God-box” on Sunday and have little recourse or interest in their faith otherwise. Rare indeed, are those who go to Mass these days (27%) and rarer still are those who invest time in the faith and what the Church offers later in the week.”

    YES… these are my thoughts exactly. I am 27 and read Catholic/news blogs daily, more often than I do mainstream news (can you blame me?), and I am finding a huge disparity between myself and others my age. I live in the South, so the majority of my friends are protestant or non-practicing Catholics so when I started going to a new church I was excited to become a part of the young adult group. Too bad they are more interesed in going to the bar than to adoration.

    “Although Millennial Catholics are using new media frequently, they have yet to use it for religion and spirituality in any great number. Will they ever? How can this be achieved?”
    As many people have said – evangelization is and will always be, first and foremost, a product of personal interaction. That is how I got into Catholic media. I met others at conferences/retreats/workshops who had such a passionate Catholic faith. I connected with them on Facebook/Twitter and saw their links to Catholic news articles and blogs or posted recommendations for print media… Had I not had the initial interaction, I would have had no interest in “friending” or “following” them, or ultimately clicking on anything they posted.

    By the way… I was pleased to read that I am “WAY above average” and “a rare bird.” Now, THAT is an affirmation! 🙂

  33. I’m in my late 30s and Protestant. I work in internet marketing. I would say that the internet was made for man not man for the internet. This is a new tool. It is a great tool. Like any tool it will not always be used rightly because we are imperfect creatures. I am not convinced that man is adaptable to modern civilization. I think Western Civilization, particularly American, has increasingly isolated man. The car allowed us to live and work in two different places. The television transformed news from mostly local things over which we might have some control into global issues which we are powerless over. The cellphone allowed us to be constantly in touch and then forced us to be so. The internet frees us from only getting the information that is fed to us but then allows us to focus on specific issues and ignore broader issues.

    I do not look to the internet as a way to bring people to faith. I think the only way is by believers living a Christian life. Their life is their witness. If you are going to influence someone it is most likely going to be because you have a personal connection. I just dont think the internet provides that connection.

    The internet was not going to save Christianity from its decline in Western Civilization. The media was not the problem. The problem was the lure of the world and the weakness of faith in professed believers. The popularity of Christianity over the last few centuries in the west might have been mostly due to cultural reasons. Once culture no longer existed there was no reason to be Christian for many people. The internet has not yet resurrected culture and I doubt it will. Culture starts with family. I dont need to tell you about the state of the family in the west. Culture then is built on neighborhoods. I dont need to tell you about how little connection there is in most neighborhoods. Culture then is built on cities. If you pay attention to politics most citizens are worried about their statistically meaningless vote in a national election and could hardly care about the local elections in which their vote could possibly matter. The think globally act locally slogan is a good idea. We have to start paying attention to where we can make a difference and acting there.

    The Church is a worldwide and eternal organization but at least here on Earth it relies on the local relationships of man. I think the Church in the west has focused far too much on helping those in the Third World. It is not surprising. This work yields dividends as there is some sort of culture there for Christianity to take root in. And the people in those countries take their faith seriously. But meanwhile the culture of the west has decayed and with it the Church. What we need is to start rebuilding our culture. The Church has a lot to say about this. What I think is necessary is for the Church to get tough and refocus itself. The Church needs greater discipline to create esprit de corps. It needs to demand more from those who are called members. It needs to work to make Church life a defining aspect of a believers world. As it is now we are too much involved in the world in too many different activities. Our society has embraced no rule or boundaries and I dont think the Church has done as much as it should to oppose this. But man secretly wants these limits. It is by these that he feels cared for. When nothing is off limits man keeps pushing the boundaries hoping he’ll be reigned in to know that there is something greater than him that cares for him.

    Believers do use online resources and they are great to have. But I think that the internet will not be the method by which any great revival will take place.

  34. There is so much that I want to say and so much that has been said already in the combox, but I want to tell you that I am a 29 year old male from the U.S., with a wife and 2 kids, and a high school religion teacher who has taught around 2000 teenagers by this point. Perhaps the biggest thing I could add to this discussion, are three questions:
    1. Are young people getting information on their faith from online? Studies have shown not; thus the purpose of this article.
    2. Are young people getting information on their faith from traditional media? Probably not; see next question.
    3. Are young people even seeking information on their faith? … Those parents of the millennial generation who thought that faith in God meant one hour on Sunday have bred children who can’t even see the point of one hour, much less a personal commitment with God and behaving like a child of God. There are good people who are exceptions to this, but I think the bigger question we must raise is how we can re-interest young people (and old people) AT ALL in their faith.

    One other comment about the anti-Catholic YouTube: not only are many videos are anti-Catholic (big surprise), not only are many comments in the comment boxes anti-Catholic (big surprise), but an important technique that anti-Catholics use is to flag pro-Catholic and even pro-God comments as spam to have them removed. Look under Catholic or anti-Catholic videos, and you’ll see most of the “spam” are actually people trying to spread the good news who are literally being silenced.

    Thank you, Monsignor, for all that you do. Let us all pray for much success in this area. God bless.

  35. I am a Texas Catholic and participated in the survey you are talking about. Like politics, evangelization is LOCAL. People, particularly those under 30, seek out things on the web that somebody told them about. Our archdiocesan web site, facebook page and you tube items are not effective because they do not have current content and do not impart any information. They seem to be patterned after our archdiocesan newspaper which is terribly ineffective. It is all just “stuff” without any meaning. The various local Catholic sites are difficult to find —- many addresses don’t make sense —– and a chore to manuever around in because everything is titled according to some insider’s personal vocabulary which changes from site to site.
    The content, and maybe more importantly, the tone of most local web sites is not welcoming. As a well-educated and reasonably well-connected Catholic it is frustrating and insulting to be presented with so much nothing that I am not priviledged enough to access. If our local ventures make me feel that way, imagine how someone who is looking for information, contact and perhaps some enrichment must feel.

  36. Yes, most people, Catholics included are obsessed with themselves; therefore, there is little or no reason to come to a THINKING website about one’s faith. We do live in a media and entertainment culture; if the Pope was a “star” they couldn’t get enough of him.

    “Modern” Catholicism, you can stuff it! Give me the EF of the mass any day, and that is what the church needs to get back to! ASAP! Faith-teaching from the pulpit better come back in a hurry. Apps and YouTube and Twitter and Facebook, et al, ad nauseum, won’t make Catholics pay attention to their faith!

    I like being on the narrow road; at least I’m in good company.

  37. The question is how do folks “consume” information? For the most part we choose on what is presented in some way. You subscribe to a newspaper once, and the information you want is there every morning delived to your doorstep. Or you turn on the TV and scroll down the channels and see what is presented to you today. Or you subscribe to an email newsletter and it shows up in your inbox. The internet, however, is very much a “seek and find” information kind of medium. But how much time do we actually spend in seeking? To me finding a solution in disseminating information important to Catholics you have to think of ways to present the information in a convinient and known format, even for relative computer novices.
    For individual parishes I could see new ministries who are dedicated in looking at this type of information and then presenting it through links on their parish websites, email subscriptions, facebook linking, old-fashioned newsletter articles, etc. But again, the Catholic websites, blogs, facebook pages, etc. need to be presented and promoted. Instruction has to be given how to make a Catholic website a homepage on your browser or how to subscribe to a rss feed.

  38. I’m male, 27, a 6th year convert, and a newlywed. My conversion process was greatly helped by Catholic answers and other online sources, but also by books. I read this blog and a few other Catholic blogs regularly, but not New Advent (may have to check it out).

    I guess I’m one of the rare birds. Like a previous commenter said, I tend to avoid overly political blogs; I also avoid the anti-Novus Ordo blogs (no problem with the EF, just the anti OF-rhetoric). I have repeatedly recommended this blog and http://www.conversiondiary.com to my other devout friends, I don’t think any of them ever bothered, and these are people who are interested in their faith.

    Our faith is not a mainstream interest, so how many people have interests that aren’t mainstream, and why are they interested, how did they become interested?

  39. I am 30, cradle-Catholic and a housewife with four small children. I live all the way here in the Philippines. I think that while Catholic sites do not really attract the regular nominal Catholics, it fuels the piety of those who are seeking or who are already fervent in their faith. As a busy mom, a lot of my desire to grow in love and knowledge of God and of my Catholic faith stems from being able to have a daily dose of God’s love and truth through the words and witness of fellow Catholics–people I would not have the chance to meet and talk to, had it not been for the internet.

  40. A lot of you mentioned how Msgr. Pope’s blog has been helpful and is an instrument for evangelization.

    But let’s be honest here – Msgr. Pope is preaching to the choir. People who find his blog are Catholics who are looking for good Catholic material to begin with.

    If someone who has not yet embraced the gospel but is searching finds his way onto this blog, it is most likely because a Catholic in that person’s life (someone they know “in the flesh”) has sent a link.

    So, I would say those people who have said that the only benefit the new media has in the new evangelization is to strengthen the faith of Catholics and equip them to go out and do the “real” work of evangelization, which may include referring their non-Catholic friends to those online resources (which they would not end up finding without the personal contact of their Catholic friends).

  41. Maybe I missed it in the article, but my first question is, who do they mean by “Catholic”? If they mean “anyone who calls themselves Catholic,” then the sample may well be of people who are more or less Catholic-in-name-only, rarely or never actually go to Mass, or go but don’t really believe. Or does this mean, “people who actually believe the Catholic Faith, go to Mass regularly, etc.?

    I can tell you from living in the Northeast that the place is CRAWLING with people who might identify themselves as “Catholic” if asked, but seem to be no more Catholic than any secularist you might meet, except that they might go to Mass once in a blue moon. If you took a random “so-called-Catholic” sample up here, it would not suprise me if NONE of them said they went to Catholic sites!

    The issue of “self-selected universe” is quite interesting… I agree that the major problem is that we don’t go out to the people – just like TV, if you’re online, you go where you want. If you don’t know you have a need, you don’t go there. Like all the Catholics or nominal Catholics who never even heard of EWTN. Hunh????

    On the other hand, the ability to “self-select” is very helpful in tuning out lots of the noise of this wretched culture.

  42. I am 30, and I am one of the rarest birds. I read this blog every week. I have it linked in my blogroll. I get the updates from New Advent. Reading the Catholic blogosphere is how I get most of my global and national news; I also listen to public radio and subscribe to OSV newsweekly. I don’t have and hope never to have cableTV and its attendant “news” programs.

  43. This makes perfect sense. We live in a pagan world. A secular world. With all the entertaining options out there why would people choose to read Catholic e media? Things won’t change until this world crumbles and falls apart. And that may be sooner than we think.

  44. 31 and reading… I also have friends, a few years younger who follow online Catholic blogs… Don’t give up,

  45. An excellent article. If the claim that a lie told 1,000 time becomes reality is true, then sites which feature anti-Catholic diatribes may be impacting viewers at a deeper level and influence their formation. I would like to see courses in High School and in selected on-line programmes which contain recommended reading lists ( I am a university graduate and never knew about Chesterton until watching EWTN!) and promoting some of the great minds (Aquinas, Socrates, et. al) which may not be purely of a theological orientation but teach how to think critically and to be more alert to philosophy and its role in modern politics and how it permeates our everyday life and choices.

  46. Your Exactly Right. Where is our New Bishop Sheen? And He had to fight His Bishop to do what he needed to do. Who was smart enough to know How to reach the everyday people. And good enough for Prime Time Television on ABC!

    Right here for instance. I would love to put this video on my Facebook Page. But you didn’t want to provide such a link evidentally. But the Protestant “GodTube” site offers links and from what I see they do it very successfully! On Facebook!.

    We Catholics are still 50 years behind everyone else – so slow to change even non-dogmatic things that effect other Catholics and the rest of the world. [ The Vatican just started using laptops] Want to know how to reach the future Adult Catholic [Youth of today] Open Your Eyes. And quit wqiting for someone to tell you what to do.
    We need Vision! We need Insightful people! And we need the Bishops to start supportin Catholic Media along with our parishes.

    We have a Catholic Station here in Wichita. Not one word of support is spoken in our churches. Not one word of support by our Bishop or parish priests. Not even of its Existence. Is this Fear? Is it Jealousy? Someone please explain this attitude to me.

    This little AM station has the power of a 100 watt bulb and has been struggling now for at least 5 year. There is little financial support (or Ecclesiastical support) and to all appearances it is destined to die on the vine for lack of financial or ecclesiastical support. The announcers etc are very dedicated. But evidentally, they can’t even afford an FM station that is clear and reaches out more than a few miles. The Protestants have Several and all FM. Ok. so I’m whistliing in the wind. But I gave you my 2 cents!

    An Old Catholic With and Young Mind.

  47. I am 74 years old and am computer literate. I receive an inordinate amount of email, largely political, but also from vendors that I use on the internet and from some Catholic sources. I have subscribed to the National Catholic Register and purchased some books from Catholic web sites – thus stimulating their emails.

    As the CARA study shows, I do not spend much time reading any blogs, let alone Catholic ones, although I stumbled upon this one form an NCR daily Update. My preference is to hold a physical book, turn its pages and be able to return to it as time allows rather than sitting in front of a monitor screen squinting at small print and having to retrieve it if necessary. What I have found very useful is searching for specific Catholic information that I want to know, such as a papal encyclical or about the life of a particular saint, etc. I have note encountered the hate messages you described, but understand the its existence because of the homosexual abuse, the depth of which felt by the laity is not understood or or yet fully recognized by the clergy. The new media are helpful and their use will certainly trend upward, but there is no substitute for sitting in a beautiful church, smelling the incense and hearing glorious choral and organ music, while learning about the faith from a homily.

  48. I have to agree with much of what has been said here in response to this most enlightening article. The one thing I would like to add about Catholic blogspots ( I am over 70 yrs of age so was properly catechised making
    me more responsible, I believe, for sharing the faith) is in reference to the comboxes…finding many deteriorate
    (usually off-topic) into opportunities for Protestant, anti-Catholic rants that invite most uncharitble and often plain un-Christian responses back at them. There are several of these that repeat their diatribe on many of the popular blogs…this one not being one of them. Perhaps because it is written by a priest…and that priest is good at administering his blogspot. Thank you Monseignor..and God bless you in all your endeavors. The Church is graced I am sure by your efforts.

  49. I also meant to add that I visit several Catholic websites that I find most helpful and informative as well as plain interesting and thought provoking, I send them via email to friends that have left the faith but are still in seeking mode as well as members of my Bible group and other older Catholics.It is a way for me to send articles of interest to my far away grandchildren , and daughters. I think it is for many of my generation an un-awareness of what is available to them online (especially for my Bible group) and an unfamiliarity with this technology that limits their interest. I will be forever in the debt of a Catholic friend who taught me ( not without its frustrations) the “ins and outs” of cyberspace. To me this whole technology is one more proof! of God’s magnificent omniscience and omnipresence. I have even gotten my convert husband online…he used to say he had no interest but that is no longer true! For us the best websites to explore are always the Catholic/Christian sites where information about our faith abounds. Isn’t it odd that in this day of instant communication and available info online so few Catholics are really informed about their faith? Perhaps the numbers correlate with the mass going Catholics.There is grace for the journey in cyberspace for those who practice their faith and make use of the grace-giving sacraments. A little thought about ministry might be parish classes for the computer illiterate?
    It would require some equipment of course but lots of used stuff is out there…and most local libraries offer
    computers for the public.

  50. None of the CARA study findings surprise me at all. But I don’t think anyone should be overly discouraged and be tempted to shut down their online operation. Quite simply, PERSONAL evangelization efforts will nearly always precede a journey through the maze of online Catholic offerings. What is disheartening is that so few people, “pew sitters” for example, allow themselves the time-consuming, but life changing pursuit of Way, Truth, and Life.

  51. Deogratias hit it on the head. The problem isn’t the medium. The problem is the pure lack of interest. If there was great interest, you would have a greater flow of users into narrowcasted Catholic content. You don’t have that flow because people aren’t taking the time to explore their faith, online or offline.

  52. First i heard of the CARA study and truly bless to you Msgr Pope, a child of our Lord spreading this awareness. I personally feel the problem begins at home. We the practicing Catholic live by three rules, 1-Study Our Catholic faith, 2-Practice Our Faith, 3-Share Our faith. We are the leaders for our future generation and the example we set today, determines their faith. The internet is a mass endless source of good and evil information no different as Our Lord teaches us through the Bible(Good and Evil). Without the proper guidance and a clear understanding of the voice of the shepherd we fall to satan bondage with little or no clue for recovery. I have made many journey into the internet and being a slow learner have found the vast rewards it can truly provide in Our Catholic faith. I am part of the Catholic Mens Fellowship (CMF) in Los Angeles, California, and our members range from age 21-78. We are the instrument of Our Lord, and one need to surrender oneself in order for his voice, NOT OUR’s to be heard. Proverbs 27:17, “As Iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens his fellow men”

    God bless all of you for your great comments!
    Your Brother in Christ!

  53. I was in my 60’s when I first used a computer. At 77- I recently moved and could not wait to get reconnected. I signed up for about 3 Catholic websites and tend to support and make sure I see the “LifeSiteNews” which handles “Truth” on every Catholic issue. The other sites I ‘scan’ but don’t read due to “same old same old”. Better part of what is taking place is while the older Catholics like myself, are finding it hard to live as a “good Catholic” with the media that we have, there are many more who DO use the internet to research and find out about the ‘things’ fo the Faith. I am also a Secular Franciscan and have children who are also SFO members. They “Care” and use the internet in the best way possible for their answers.
    So, don’t color everyone with the same crayon!!
    C. Wolney

  54. No coloring intended. Truly you have have been blessed with such a wonderful family and my prayers go out to you and the family.
    God Bless!

  55. I wonder what percentage of the “Millenials” show up for Mass. Is there a correlation between that number and the number who bother to read Catholic material online? The Catholic online media is in relative infancy, I think. Give it time to develop a “bite”. It seems to me, from what limited observation I have, that young people need more guidance on values and morals that the secular educational system and the online world does not generally offer. Moms and dads matter as much as ever. They need to take continued interest in the faith life of their grown up children, continue to evangelize them! Unless God touches them personally through their loved ones, young people may not have the drive to see beyond the superficial BS of the street media online. The consequences of having a generation of ignorant victims of secular propaganda are scary as ever.

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  57. One quick insight on these findings, without reading previous comments, suggest that social networks may be a good place to evangelize, but this is done through personal relationships with personal pages, using one’s sphere of influence and witness rather than an organizational Facebook page.

    Deacon Alex

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