Skip to content

Media apostolate was inspired by late Jesuit

By Matt Abbott
Catholic Online

(The following is a slightly revised version of an article that recently appeared in "The Wanderer" Catholic newspaper.)

Father John Hardon, S.J., is fondly remembered by many orthodox Catholics.

Father Hardon, who died in 2000 at the age of 86, was a highly-regarded theologian who had close ties to the Vatican; and he was a prolific writer, authoring over 200 books on Catholic subject matter.

In 2003, Dorie Gruss, who had known and worked with Father Hardon for many years, started the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate at St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago. Its pastor, Father C. Frank Phillips, C.R., gave his approval to the endeavor.

"After Father Hardon's death, there was a slow, relaxed time, but that soon came to an end," said Gruss. "I began to remember Father's voice reminding me of the many needs of the Church. He would often state a need, and you knew he wanted you to do something. He believed every Catholic should give his or her time, work, and should sacrifice for the Church."

Continued Gruss:

"The one thought that continued to come to me: We [Catholics] must get involved with the media. We need the media to evangelize and spread the word of God. With the support and spiritual direction of St. John Cantius Parish, Father Phillips, Father Burns Seeley, S.S.J.C., and Father Albert Tremari, S.S.J.C., and others, the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate came into existence.

"One of our first events was to implement the Vatican directive that each parish is to celebrate the annual World Communications Day. We did; and we wrote 'job descriptions' to assist other parishes to comply with the directive."

The first World Communications Day message was given by Pope Paul VI in 1967:

"The Church, realizing 'that she is truly and intimately linked with mankind and its history,' wishes by means of this initiative [the First World Communications Day], proposed by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, to draw the attention of her children and of all men of good will to the vast and complex phenomenon of the modern means of social communication, such as the press, motion pictures, radio and television, which form one of the most characteristic notes of modern civilization."

The Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate "exists to promote the Catholic use of all of the media of social communications such as the printed word, television, radio, cinema, and the Internet," according to Father Burns Seeley, the aforementioned associate pastor of St. John Cantius.

On the apostolate's Web site, Father Seeley writes:

"As we are also all well-aware, it is not the Catholic Church, or Christianity in general, which controls most of the communications media today. Rather it is what is generally known as 'secular humanism.' That is, it is a philosophy which is atheistic. A philosophy in which God and His Church have no place. It is without God.

"It is no secret that secular humanism, through the use of the communications media, has shaped the thinking and attitudes of hundreds of millions who were once Christian, but now, because of the acceptance of the ideas of secular humanism, no longer are. This, in turn, has caused a chain reaction from parents to children, from children to other children, from universities to grammar schools to the man on the street.

"The one area in which secular humanism has made its greatest impact is in influencing people to accept principles of sexual behavior which counter both the good of individuals and of society at large. This is so true that much of what used to be called Christendom is disappearing from the face of the earth. In its place are formerly Christian countries which have failed to propagate enough children - and children in two parent homes - to replace all the elderly who are dying. Sexual activity has become far divorced from marriage and reproduction. Traditional marriage is becoming a dying institution. Sex for pleasure alone is reigning supreme.

"It should not be surprising that once the Catholic Church's unchangeable teaching on sexuality is rejected, then other aspects of her doctrine are also called into question and rejected, especially those which directly affect proper human conduct.

"Make no doubt about it, the world desperately needs Jesus Christ and His Bride the Catholic Church. And this is why the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate exists - to let the world know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And that His Church conveys the means for its salvation and sanctification. In other words the world needs to be evangelized and catechized. Rather it must be evangelized and catechized. This implies that the modern means of social communications must be put at the service of the Church. They must no longer remain the sole, or almost sole, custody of secular humanism.

"The Second Vatican Council document Inter Mirifica addresses itself to this need. And the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate exists to implement this need. It strives to organize the laity in parishes and groups of parishes throughout the world to take on the massive undertaking of evangelizing and catechizing via the social communications media. It is already beginning to do so in St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago. Parishioners are organizing themselves. There are, for example, writers, computer and Internet people, a Website, a speakers bureau, a media watchdog group, a prayer warriors committee, a cinema rating committee, and a letters to editors and media producers committee.

"These groups meet monthly as does the board of directors. But as Father Hardon never tired of saying 'There is lots of work to be done.'

"We are confident that since this is what the Church asks of us, and since we have the pledge of divine grace, we will be able to place the means of social communications in her service to a significant and noteworthy degree for the salvation and sanctification of many, many souls."

Father Don Woznicki, a priest of the Chicago archdiocese and executive director of Visio Pacis (The Catholic Market Mobilization Initiative), is also involved with the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate.

"The apostolate has been instrumental in supporting and helping to direct Visio Pacis, an initiative to influence Hollywood by mobilizing Catholic markets to promote favorable films that Hollywood produces," said Father Woznicki. "It is in keeping with Inter-Mirifica's call to promote those entertainment products that are culturally and artistically worthwhile."

Said Dorie Gruss:

"God is blessing us in so many ways. Archbishop Raymond Burke is the apostolate's spiritual director. And Eternal Life (, the Father Hardon-focused organization founded by the late William Smith, has been very supportive of us."

Gruss implores fellow Catholics to be proactive in regard to the media, quoting Father Hardon as follows:

"Because of the unceasing, ferocious, dishonest attacks against the Catholic Church and its teaching, Catholics must enter the media on all levels. They must provide sound doctrine, and authentic Catholics must co-operate with each other. Catholics must evangelize through print, film, radio, television and now the Internet. The first medium is print. It is not necessarily the most influential, but it is the most lasting, and so it has the most lasting influence."

For more information about the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate, see


Matt Abbott IL, US
Matt Abbott - Author,



Catholic, Abbott

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.