To people deeply influenced by the major press organs of the day, the Church is a repressive institution, capable only of ruining the lives of its members (especially women and young boys).
Dissenters within the Church, sex abuse scandals in the clergy, the behavior of so-called “Catholic” politicians, and a distorted view of Catholic teaching – these elements are what the general public sees of the Church (and to a lesser extent religion in general).
By contrast, the incredible good that the Church does is ignored or belittled. How many stories do the media run about the work of Catholic Charities? How many reports do the media produce about the power of the Catholic faith to unite communities and even entire nations? How many miracles do the media present to the general public? (And miracles still do occur. Incorruptible saints, Eucharistic miracles past and present, and miraculous cures still occur today.)
The answer to all these questions is very few, if any. The media, as an institution, focuses almost exclusively on negative stories about the Church, while burying or ignoring positive coverage.
Part of this is due to the fact that journalism focuses on negatives by design. “If it bleeds, it leads” is a depressing but true dictum of journalism. Stories of war, death, plague, and scandal naturally get an inordinate amount of coverage, simply because they are easy to report on and draw a lot of interest.
But part of the refusal to cover the good that religion does stems from a genuine hatred of what the Church stands for, on the part of many media elites.
These media elites influence others to despise the Church by spreading falsehoods about the Church and Her mission. And people, duped into believing these falsehoods, loathe the Church for what they are led to believe are Her evil ways and hypocrisies.
The famous saying of Archbishop Sheen holds true: “Hundreds of people hate the Church for what She stands for. Millions hate the Church for what they think She stands for.”
The Church is the ultimate institution for good in this world. But the incredible work of the Church is buried under an avalanche of slander from Her enemies.
To counteract these lies and slanders, Christians must practice their Faith – publicly – through their good example and prayerful lives. The lies of the enemies of the Church must be counteracted daily by the good work and holy lives of faithful Christians.
Since many people are force-fed a negative view of the Church, it is therefore the task of the Christian to provide good publicity to the Church.