Action Alert

Keeping tabs on PBS's groundbreaking series on Catholicism

A member of FFRF in Colorado contacted us this week about "Catholicism," a series of 60–minute episodes that began airing on PBS in the Maryland market in late September, with later airings on PBS in Chicago and elsewhere
beginning Oct. 3.

As FFRF staff have not seen the broadcasts, we would encourage you to monitor the programming if it airs in your area. If you find it propagandistic, promotional or proselytizing, please contact your local PBS station and the national PBS.

Talking Points

(Even one-sentence responses, especially if they include your full contact information, are effective. Feel free to use or paraphrase the following letter)

Below is the message from our alert FFRF member:

Dear FFRF,

Catholic evangelist Fr. Barron is currently getting his slick, 10-part series on Catholicism aired on many PBS stations. Robert Barron, the priest who produced and stars in the "Catholicism" film project, is an evangelical Catholic. "His [Barron's] global media ministry called 'Word On Fire' has a simple but revolutionary mission – to evangelize the culture."

One trailer states:

"The church is going through a dark period. The church is under fire. It's under attack. That Catholic story is being told, but told by the wrong people in the wrong way. We need to tell our own story. We need to get the message out so as to draw people in... The Catholicism Project. Become Part of the Story." Click here to view the trailer. To view the other trailer click here

Wikipedia describes Fr. Barron as a "Catholic evangelist." It further states: In 2000 Fr. Barron launched "Word on Fire Catholic Ministries," a non–profit organization that supports his evangelistic endeavors."

In a press release for the series we learn this series was meant for "commercial" television. Additionally it says:

“Now is the time to reach out to Catholics and others who are searching for meaning in their lives or who have left the Church because they are disillusioned,” says Father Barron, a prominent theologian, author, and Archdiocesan priest of Chicago since 1986. “In each episode, our mission will be to encourage believers and bring the transformative power of the Gospel to the culture.”

This "Catholicism Project" enticed investors with a brochure that claimed the series, as part of a "global media ministry," would "promote the Catholic faith" and "draw millions of people into or back to the Catholic faith..." In an interview, Fr. Barron had this to say about his $3M film project: "The forms of contemporary media allow us to fulfill the missionary mandate of the Lord to preach the Gospel to all nations and extend to all people the invitation to share Christ’s life in his church. We can do this on a scale and with an effectiveness that has never before been possible."

By airing the "Catholicism" series, it seems pretty clear that local PBS stations are putting federal funding and the donations of diverse citizens to use for the purpose of blatant Catholic missionary work. There are many episodes of "Catholicism" scheduled in the upcoming weeks.

Contact

For maximum effectiveness, write as an individual and not as someone responding to an Action Alert. Please do not forward this Action Alert to anyone at PBS. We are pleased to receive "blind" ("BCC") copies of your messages and correspondence by e-mail at .

Michael Getler
PBS ombudsman
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