Diocese launches video-sharing site

The Trenton, N.J., Diocese’s video-sharing site, Dottube, seems to be the first of its kind.

Dioceses and churches have claimed their own YouTube channels or posted videos on diocesan or parish Web sites, but debuting a separate site may be new territory, according to leaders for the Catholic Academy for Communications Arts Professionals.

“I don’t know of any that have taken that step,” said Frank Morock, president of that organization and communications director for the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C., which he said was the first diocese in the world with its own Web site. Nationally, there is My Catholic Voice for video sharing. 

“I commend them because a number of dioceses don’t have the capability of using media to get the message out,” he said about Trenton.

Its new site has given a home to diocesan television productions “Realfaith TV” and “The Catholic Corner” and radio production “Black Catholics, Yes!” It also allows parishes and ministry groups — such as youth groups, the Knights of Columbus, Catholic schools, campus ministries and adult faith formation groups — to create and share original content, said Rayanne Bennett, diocesan communications officer.

One parish actively posts content thus far. Site activity is expected to increase in the fall, after parents have signed waivers for their children to participate.

Only group leaders can post videos to the site, but anyone can sign up and post comments, which are moderated. These restrictions make it a safer environment than YouTube, where children can navigate to questionable “related videos.”

The diocese launched Dottube in March, five months after the idea was pitched by the Office of Radio and Television and the Hispanic Apostolate, said Ken Perry, Web department director. It cost between $15,000 and $18,000 to start the site, and it will cost $10,000 to host each year. Morock said dioceses will probably look at the option because after start-up costs, it’s not expensive to achieve a decent picture and understandable audio.

“Anything that advances getting the word out, I applaud,” he said.

Bennett and Perry said the site has the potential to attract non-Catholics to the faith if users link videos to their blogs. Moreover, it may enrich the faith experience of those who are Catholic, such as parents who visit the site to see videos or pictures of their children and notice such features as online adult catechesis classes. In this way, it serves a similar purpose to diocesan newspapers.

The diocese also manages independent Web sites for its vocations and Respect Life offices and the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.

Peace advocates plan to apologize for nuclear bombings

A group of faith-based peace activists will lead a small contingent to Japan to mark the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to apologize for the U.S. action.

“We want to acknowledge the tremendous damage done by our country, by what has happened,” long time Tacoma, Wash., peace advocate Jesuit Father Bill Bichsel told Catholic News Service. “We wish to attach ourselves to the continued work of nuclear abolition.”

The trip gets under way July 31. Sixteen people from various faith traditions will make the journey to the two cities on the anniversaries of the bombings: Aug. 6 for Hiroshima, Aug. 9 for Nagasaki. The group includes Dominican Sister Teresa Montes, Franciscan Father Louis Vitale, Catholic Worker and U.S. Navy veteran Tom Karlin and Mitch Kohjima, a former Buddhist monk.

Father Bichsel, 81, who has committed acts of civil disobedience to express his opposition to the nuclear weapons present at the Naval Base Kitsap near Seattle, has been working with Bishop Joseph Atsumi Misue of Hiroshima and Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki to coordinate activities.

The apology is necessary in order to begin to repent for the sins of war, Father Bichsel said.

“What we have done not only has inflicted tremendous damage on the Japanese, it also has done tremendous damaged on the (American) people when we don’t remember what we have done,” he said.

Pope puts “Ecclesia Dei” under doctrinal congregation

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has placed the commission responsible for relations with traditionalist Catholics under the authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as he announced four months ago he intended to do.

In a brief note published this morning, Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of 80-year-old Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos as president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” which since 1988 has been charged with outreach to the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X as well as with assisting Catholics attached to the pre-Vatican II liturgy.


Cardinal William J. Levada (CNS/Rick Delvecchio, Catholic San Francisco)

As president of the commission, the pope named U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The pope also named Italian Msgr. Guido Pozzo, assistant secretary of the International Theological Commission and a staff member of the doctrinal congregation, to serve as secretary of “Ecclesia Dei.”

The Vatican also released today the formal papal document reorganizing the office.

In a March letter to the world’s bishops explaining why he had lifted the excommunication of four bishops ordained against Vatican orders by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Pope Benedict had announced his intention to place the commission under the guidance of the doctrinal congregation.

In the letter, the pope said excommunications were a disciplinary measure affecting the four bishops, but the fact that the Society of St. Pius X has no standing in the church is due to doctrinal reasons.

“Until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the society has no canonical status in the church, and its ministers — even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty — do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the church,” the pope had written.

Placing “Ecclesia Dei” under the doctrinal congregation, he had said, “will make it clear that the problems now to be addressed are essentially doctrinal in nature and concern primarily the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the popes.”