Thanks to the Wall Street Journal, it should now be apparent to every Catholic in the United States that the Roman Catholic Church is fully capable of initiating and funding a massive public relations campaign with top drawer talent when it wishes.
Here is the link to the Journal’s new story that will fill you in on how the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) used a campaign of social media to promote Pope Francis and his recent trip to the United States.
Take a listen to the USCCB communication’s officer:
“This is certainly a new area for the church and a place we felt we needed to be to reach those we weren’t able to reach before,” said James Rogers, USCCB’s chief communications officer.
And it’s impressive whom and what the USCCB used to make its connections, as the Wall Street Journal reports:
The campaign included outreach to 120 influencers, such as Ms. (Bette) Midler, and 1,300 others on social media in both English and Spanish, as well as the creation of real-time videos, GIFs and other content. With the papal visit, USCCB wanted to shift from a “model of broadcast communication” to a more engaging dialogue in real time, Mr. Rogers said.
We agree. We believe that the Church needs to reach those that it hasn’t been able to reach before – and in large number that’s the sexual abuse survivors and their families.
Enlisting Bette Midler and 199 other “influencers” is a fine place to start the hunt for other survivors of a rapist and sodomizer when there is a survivor who comes forward.
And a fine place to start when a lawsuit is filed.
And a fine place to start when a police report is made.
And a fine place to start when a priest or religious sister or religious brother are placed on administrative leave because of credible allegations of abuse.
We urge our readers and those who contribute to collection plates to take a look at the website of the firm the bishops employed: http://golin.com and please don’t miss Golin’s tagline:
Go All In is our commitment to bravery over mediocrity.
One thing that the Wall Street Journal story doesn’t provide is the answer to how much the USCCB paid for Golin’s services.
In reality, although the contract was placed by the USCCB, it is Catholics in the pews who paid for Golin’s campaign.
The money the USCCB spends comes from the collection plates. The USCCB is funded by assessments on dioceses in the same way as the dioceses are funded by assessing the parishes.
What the USCCB, according to the Journal, was promoting was the “pope’s message of goodwill.”
It may be difficult for those contributing to the collection plates to understand why bishops felt the need to spend money on “influencers” to promote Pope Francis, one of the all-time best communicators of his message.
Maybe not, perhaps those who contribute to collection plates will not think their money was spent as a redundancy.
The bishops may have been banking, pardon the pun, on the collection plate contributors to replenish the coffers.
Whatever the bishops’ motivation and the funders’ motivation was, the bishops did undertake the campaign, and they were successful.
And on those grounds we agree with the USCCB communication chief Mr. Rogers and his look forward, “Our task now is to look at how best we can operationalize this.”
So, now, let’s find those survivors.
— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC), KristineWard@hotmail.com