Christ wasn’t shy, so we shouldn’t be either

Christ wasn’t shy, so we shouldn’t be either
Fr Paddy Byrne


One of the fundamental tasks given to every Christian is to spread the Good News. In our Catholic tradition, this task has been extremely well-served for centuries. Communication is key to the life and mission of our Church. I know too ‘actions speak louder than words’ –actions of kindness, compassion, inclusion and love that inspire us in our daily lives.

In this regard, the Good News witnessed in our families, local parishes, work places and school communities has a fundamental need to be celebrated, commented upon and communicated where information and conversation takes place in all its mediums.

We live in challenging times. Often our Catholic tradition and values are belittled, demeaned and even ridiculed by secular culture. As Pope Benedict highlighted in his World Communications Day message in 2006, ‘The call for today’s media is to be responsible – to be the protagonist of truth and promoter of the peace that ensues – carries with it a number of challenges.

While the various instruments of social communication facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, and mutual understanding among groups, they are also tainted by ambiguity. Alongside the provision of a ‘great round table’ for dialogue, certain tendencies within the media engender a kind of monoculture that dims creative genius, deflates the subtlety of complex thought and undervalues the specificity of cultural practices and the particularity of religious belief.

These are distortions that occur when the media industry becomes self-serving or solely profit-driven, losing the sense of accountability to the common good. I believe this brings an even greater responsibility for members of the Church, not to bury our heads in the sand but to get out on the airwaves and communicate the great and continued relevance our Gospel serves in these turbulent times.

Homelessness, inequality, education, direct provision, the Eighth Amendment, climate change and heathcare are just some issues in recent times that I have made public comment upon, on either the airwaves, social and print media.

When we embrace the values of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, we become sensitive to the many structures of injustice in our society and world.


Jesus Christ wasn’t shy when it came to communicating his message. The Gospel has an enormous amount to contribute to conversations where people feel let down on the outside and not part of the main stream.

I have honestly never been discouraged in any way regarding my experience in communicating the Gospel values of Jesus Christ.

I also find many opportunities and open doors in relation to getting the good news out there. This invitation to engage in a positive, hope filled and respectful manner is not just for the ordained but to all members of the church, particularly in Ireland.

Fr Paddy Byrne is a curate in Portlaoise parish, during Lent he will be a guest on the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk every Tuesday.