The Catholic Church becomes media savvy

Pope Benedict XVI is on his US tour.

He met with the President. Apparent President Bush said, “Thank you, Your Holiness. Awesome Speech.” [Video] He said this after a papal address at the Whitehouse. I love the W. The Pope held an open air mass with 45,000 in attendance at the Nationals Baseball stadium in Washington D.C. He has visited with victims of clergy abuse and offered prayer and encouragement. He even visited a Jewish synagogue. He is now in New York. He addressed the UN and will pray at Ground Zero. The Pope’s visit to the US has come at a good time for Catholics in the US. The clergy abuse scandals over the last years have stirred resentment towards the Catholic Church. The scandals continue to fuel Protestant distained for the Catholics in general and the Catholic Church in particular.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is hoping the Pope’s visit will help in priest recruitment. The number of young men entering the priesthood is down in the US. For example, St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers outside of New York used to have hundreds of young men in preparation for the priesthood. Today there are only sixty in the seminary and only six will be ordained into the priesthood this year.

To bolster recruitment, the Catholic Church in New York has launched a website . The Website includes video clips, moving pictures, and the slogan “The World Needs Heroes.” It looks like the uber-traditional Catholic Church is using the strategies of ultra-contemporary churches by partnering the Pope’s visit with cleaver marketing and high-quality media. When are they going to start a podcast? I wonder if the Pope has a facebook account???