With thanks to R.R. for the title.
There was a time when common books did no exist. Most likely the book was a Jewish or Christian invention, the codex as it was called back in the days of the Roman Empire. That modest invention revolutionized the storage of information. It was much easier to read than a scroll and it was cheap to make one out of papyrus or some other leafy material. That invention evolved over time and became so ubiquitous that today we hardly pay any attention to it. Before electronic reading systems like Kindle came into the market the old codex had ruled the reading markets for 2,000 years. Not bad, not bad at all.
We really do not know who invented that new way to store written pages but we know Christians put it to good use, intensive use. Christianity and books filled the Roman Empire at the same time and then went to extend the use of that modest but ingenious invention all over the globe. Christians used that new idea to change the world. Today we have many other reading devices, I am sure many more will come. As we enter the information age we have more than the mere written word, humans have learned to store speeches, images, movies, maps, and more. We have also learned to move that information around the world at dizzying speeds. This page you are reading is currently being distributed from Buenos Aires to Manila, Vladivostok, New York, Beijing, Sydney and everywhere in the world, even to the International Space Station orbiting miles above our heads in outer space.
My previous post was triggered by a video posted by Michael Voris, head of a Catholic lay ministry in Detroit, Michigan in the United States of America. I went over the five elements he lists as the most important parts of the crisis we are going through as a Church. I believe this is a crisis that will not be repeated in history. The truth and traditions of Catholicism have been enduring assault after assault for twenty centuries. In the last five centuries, since the German Reformation, the enemies of the Church have been successful at draining uncountable souls from Mother Church to uncertain destinies. It seems to me that the enemies are now coming for what is left, and do they appear to be succeeding! The walls of the city have been breached and we are now fighting with our backs to the altar.
Good information to win
Since the Marcionist appeared in Rome almost twenty centuries ago, heresies have taken many shapes but all of them have something in common: they all need to change the historical account and somehow modify Holy Scripture to adjust reality to their own objectives. Marcion took some elements from the Old Testament and some from the Gospels to make one book that fitted his heretic purposes real well. Martin Luther and his followers purged the Catholic Scriptures leaving only 66 books, some of them missing various parts. The Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Later Day Saints have their own Bibles and their own way to account for History too. Not much has changed since the days of Marcion.
We can say that those who aspire to compete with the Catholic Church need to reorganize Christian information even History to fit their purposes. The disadvantage of that ‘method’ is that when Catholics let the light of History, Holy Tradition, and Holy Scripture shine on those concocted schemes … they vanish, they cannot hold together. We can write a treatise on this but suffice to say that good and truthful information is the unforgiving enemy of heretics and false prophets.”To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant” said John Henry Newman, the famous English convert.
Early Christians used books to disseminate good information. Their tools may seem rudimentary to us. They did not have a printing press, they had to make their own paper and their own ink, their own writing instruments, and then slowly distribute them all over the Empire: from India to England, from Persia to Scandinavia, moving on foot and with very primitive means of transportation. It took centuries for the Apocalypse of St John to be known in the West, or the Epistle of James to be known in the East (if I remember well, it may have been the other way around!) And yet the Gospel was gradually heard all over the world. When the printing press came, the first book ever to be printed was Gutenberg’s Catholic Bible!
So we have a tradition of being at the cutting edge of technology. Today many Catholic ministries operate over the Internet, international television networks, radio, multimedia, and more. However the truly revolutionary aspects of this age of information are not being utilized fully yet. Sometimes using a certain medium does not necessarily mean that we are exploiting it for maximum effect. The scroll could contain the written word but it was clumsy. Imagine moving from Genesis to Revelation in a single scroll, or worse, across various scrolls. Not very practical, really. Eventually the codex improved the delivery of information and after many improvements it became the modern book in all its varieties. Well, the same happens with the various means to disperse information we have today. Wouldn’t it be great to have something that can be written word when we need it but also be a YouTube video, a podcast, a radio program, or even a live speaker depending on how do we want the information to be delivered?
God works in mysterious ways. I was never too inclined to learn about computers. When I was a young man computers were expensive contraptions very difficult to operate. That changed eventually and I learned to design databases, manipulating information to make it available in different ways. Since 2006 I have been working on something, a leap in the way Catholic information can be effectively dispersed for maximum evangelizing effect. I would have to write a thick and rather technical book to explain the whole process but the finished product can be described as “something that can be written word when we need it but also be a YouTube video, a podcast, a radio program, or even a live speaker depending on how do we want the information delivered.” The core of that process is a complex mix of Information Theory and dynamic database applications among other more pedestrian things. These are the main characteristics
- Viral dissemination
- Self sustainable
- Multimedia output
We have to shed light on a dying world just like the Christians of the first centuries did. There is simply nothing more urgent or more important than to take Christ to the world. We should have done it yesterday, we have today but we may not have tomorrow. Time is of the essence.
I am asking please for a Hail Mary to be said three times a day for the success of this intention. I can assure you it would have made Mother Angelica jump for joy!