(by Chris Weldon) According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the conference of American prelates chose a new secretary-elect of the Conference and the chairmen-elect of five committees, at their annual fall General Assembly, November 11-14, in Baltimore.
One of those chairmen-elect is Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Bishop Coyne, a native of Boston, has a Blog, Facebook page and Twitter account that he posts to regularly, as well as a YouTube channel that is used less regularly but holds much potential.
The Committee on Communications, to which he was elected, is in good hands.
Bishop Coyne is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to social media communication, public relations and relevant content that all help to spread the Gospel and further the New Evangelization. Based on less-than-impressive results from a study commissioned by the U.S. bishops on faith in America, especially as relates to successfully communicating the Church’s life, belief and mission to young adult Catholics, the Committee on Communications could stand to have a bishop like Coyne offering his input to bettering communications in the media-saturated culture in which we live.
Below are the mandate and goals for the committee. Bishop Coyne and the other bishops on the committee will have their hands full trying to keep up with technology and the speed of communication through social media; but with the exposure the Indianapolis bishop has had so far, things are sure to improve.
MANDATE AND GOALS FOR THE COMMITTEE (USCCB)
The committee assists the bishops, both individually and collectively, to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the communications media as “pathways to intensify communion and to render more penetrating the proclamation of his word” (John Paul II, The Rapid Development, 2005). The committee seeks to support the work of evangelization and faith formation through a comprehensive approach to media that includes media relations, media production and programming, policy, review of entertainment media, publishing, distribution, and licensing with sensitivity towards culturally diverse communities.
KEY MISSION RESPONSIBILITIES
Providing the public with accurate information about the activities of the USCCB and the Church; and developing appropriate media strategies and messages, in collaboration with USCCB committees and offices, to communicate to the Catholic and secular public the bishops’ response to issues of significance to the Church
Publishing, producing, licensing, and distributing USCCB statements/resources
Providing consultation on communication issues, including advising and representing the bishops
Developing and approving USCCB public policy positions related to the media
Developing programming for the Catholic Communication Campaign and awarding grants from the CCC
Licensing of USCCB copyrighted texts and collaborating with the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) in the promotion of the New American Bible
Providing Catholics, especially families, with information they can use to evaluate entertainment media programming from a Catholic perspective
Assisting the Holy See in conveying papal statements and addressing other Vatican media issues
KEY MISSION RELATIONSHIPS
With bishops, diocesan communicators, and news media leaders
With international and national communications organizations and governments
With the international and national news media, and Catholic and Bible publishers
With the Holy See and other episcopal conferences, especially CELAM and those of Africa and Asia