Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate


1914 - 2000

Servant of God

A Brief Biography

A tireless worker, Servant of God Father Hardon continuously strove to do God's work and did so in the spirit of the pious, selfless and indefatigable Jesuit priests of great renown. A prolific author, erudite theologian, steadfast defender of the faith, and devoted teacher, he was ever loyal to the Magisterium of the church and the Vicar of Christ.

During his life he evangelized and converted many souls to God. He assisted and advised the formation of many religious societies and lay apostolates, authored over 200 books including his own catechisms and textbooks. He contributed heavily to the official Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope John Paul II. His influence still continues despite his passing on to his beloved Divine Savior.

Servant of God Father Hardon wrote for many publications during his life. He was also a well-known speaker and teacher at schools, Religious orders, conferences, retreat houses, and special events in addition to his appearances on radio and television throughout his life. He wrote and spoke on countless topics some of which include Eucharistic Devotion, Chastity, Evangelization, the Media, God, the Holy Trinity, Mary, Joseph, the Saints, Angels, Spirituality, the Priesthood and Prayer. Many of his articles may be read online. An abundant library of his numerous articles as well as transcripts of some of his many talks may be found at The Real Presence Association website on their Hardon Archives page.

For a longer biography of Father Hardon visit:
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Servant of God, A Tribute by Dave Armstrong

Enjoy A Day of Recollection With Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

 
What is the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate? - Fr. Burns K. Seeley, S.S.J.C., Ph.D.

The Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate, inspired by the late Fr. Hardon, exists to promote the Catholic use of all of the media of social communications such as the printed word, television, radio, cinema, and the Internet. As we all know the social communications media are extremely powerful agents for presenting ideas that can and have revolutionized basic human beliefs and inspired actions affecting the entire human race for good and for ill.

As we are also all well-aware, it is not the Catholic Church, or Christianity in general, which controls most of the communications media today. Rather it is what is generally known as "secular humanism." That is, it is a philosophy which is atheistic. A philosophy in which God and His Church have no place. It is without God.

It is no secret that secular humanism, through the use of the communications media, has shaped the thinking and attitudes of hundreds of millions who were once Christian, but now, because of the acceptance of the ideas of secular humanism, no longer are. This, in turn, has caused a chain reaction from parents to children, from children to other children, from universities to grammar schools to the man on the street.

The one area in which secular humanism has made its greatest impact is in influencing people to accept principles of sexual behavior which counter both the good of individuals and of society at large. This is so true that much of what used to be called Christendom is disappearing from the face of the earth. In its place are formerly Christian countries which have failed to propagate enough children – and children in two parent homes – to replace all the elderly who are dying. Sexual activity has become far divorced from marriage and reproduction. Traditional marriage is becoming a dying institution. Sex for pleasure alone is reigning supreme.

It should not be surprising that once the Catholic Church's unchangeable teaching on sexuality is rejected, then other aspects of her doctrine are also called into question and rejected, especially those which directly affect proper human conduct.

Make no doubt about it, the world desperately needs Jesus Christ and His Bride the Catholic Church. And this is why the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate exists – to let the world know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And that His Church conveys the means for its salvation and sanctification. In other words the world needs to be evangelized and catechized. Rather it must be evangelized and catechized. This implies that the modern means of social communications must be put at the service of the Church. They must no longer remain the sole, or almost sole, custody of secular humanism.

The Second Vatican Council document Inter Mirifica addresses itself to this need. And the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate exists to implement this need. It strives to organize the laity in parishes and groups of parishes throughout the world to take on the massive undertaking of evangelizing and catechizing via the social communications media. It is already beginning to do so in St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago. Parishioners are organizing themselves. There are, for example, writers, computer and Internet people, a Website, a speakers bureau, a media watchdog group, a prayer warriors committee, a cinema rating committee, and a letters to editors and media producers committee.

These groups meet monthly as does the board of directors. But as Father Hardon never tired of saying "There is lots of work to be done."

We are confident that since this is what the Church asks of us, and since we have the pledge of divine grace, we will be able to place the means of social communications in her service to a significant and noteworthy degree for the salvation and sanctification of many, many souls.

Mission Statement

The Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate was formed at the urging of the late Servant of God Father John A. Hardon, S.J. to implement the directives of Inter Mirifica, the Vatican II document on social communications.

The Apostolate exists to motivate the faithful to use all the means of social communications to evangelize the world and to teach the Catholic Faith. This implies a full submission to the magisterium of the Bishop of Rome and the Bishops in union with him as their Head.

 

Early History of the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate

On Sunday, August 17, 2003, Mrs. Dorie Gruss (a Marian Catechist who worked and served Servant of God Father Hardon for well over 20 years) approached Father C. Frank Phillips, C.R., Pastor of St. John Cantius Parish, Chicago, with an idea about the establishment of a Catholic Media Apostolate. She explained to him that Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. had over the years on numerous occasions urged many people to become involved in the promotion of a Catholic Media Apostolate. Servant of God Father Hardon noted that this was the desire of the Second Vatican Council as expressed in its document Inter Mirifica, also known as the Decree On the Means of Social Communications. Inter Mirifica details the proper use of the instruments of social communications by the clergy as well as the laity of the Catholic Church.

In response to this request, Father Phillips encouraged Dorie to organize a media apostolate at St. John Cantius Parish. Within a week the Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate began and on Wednesday, September 24, their first organizational meeting was held in the parish library.

During this meeting several committees were established. Among these were a Catholic writer's committee, an Internet committee and a committee to promote the proper use of the media on both the parish and diocesan levels. A media apostolate manual was also formulated for parish use. One of the manual's many diversified features includes media based articles written by Servant of God Father Hardon as well as the documents Inter Mirifica and Aetatis Novae. The latter is the 1992 Pastoral Instruction on Social Communications issued by Archbishop John P. Foley, President of the Pontifical Council on Social Communications. The manual may be used by parish clergy and laity who choose to use the information and become a part of the apostolate in order to evangelize the world and to teach the Catholic faith.

An Internet website has been established through which the media apostolate news and information will be available to everyone to use to promote an exchange of ideas and to offer various projects.

Already, as of this writing (November 24, 2003), interest in and support for our work has reached as far as New York and California.

 

Conformity to the Magisterial Authority of the Church

In accordance with the teaching of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and the Code of Canon Law which brings together the discipline by which the Council's teaching is put into practice, the Christian faithful are free to found and to govern associations with the aim of promoting their spiritual growth and of establishing a more intimate unity between their faith and their everyday life. In consequence they may involve themselves in apostolic works of evangelization, of piety or charity and thereby manifest and make present in the world the Christian spirit. (cf. Canon 298, 1-2)

It is in accord with the norms and directives for the foundation of such associations, the Father John A. Hardon, S.J Media Apostolate has been established to implement the directives of Inter Mirifica, the Vatican II document on social communications. Thus, this apostolate exists to motivate the faithful to use all the means of social communications to evangelize the world and to teach the Catholic Faith. This implies a full submission to the magisterium of the Bishop of Rome and the Bishops in union with him as their Head.

- From the Preamble of the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate Statutes

 

Background Information on the Vatican II Document, Inter Mirifica, Decree on the Media of Social Communications

It should be of some note that placed on the agenda of the very first session of Vatican II (1962-1965) were two lengthy documents, one on the Sacred Liturgy and the other on the instruments or media of social communications. The latter document dealt with "the modern communications explosion", as Father Hardon would label the rapid proliferation during the twentieth century of various types of human communication affecting, for better and for worse, practically the entire planet. These included the cinema, radio, television, the Internet, and the print media. Thus we see that the Council's concern for the effects of the social communications media on humanity was not a mere footnote or afterthought.

This special interest had been voiced previously by two Sovereign Pontiffs: Pius XI in his encyclical on the cinema, Vigilanti Cura (June 29, 1936), and Pius XII in his document Miranda Prorsus (September 8, 1957), which speaks of the communications media as instruments from God for the construction of a better world. Within the text of Inter Mirifica, the Council Fathers requested that the Holy Father establish a curial office, which would deal with all the means of social communications. This request was granted by Pope Paul VI before the closing of the Council in a motu proprio entitled In fructibus multis (April 2, 1964). The new office was called the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications. Today it is the Pontifical Council for Social Communications under the presidency of Archbishop John P. Foley. Of special interest to the laity, Inter Mirifica says, the lay faithful, along with their pastors, are to use the means of social communications to evangelize and catechize. Indeed, we are now told "the use of media is now essential in evangelization and catechesis." (Aetatis Novae, Section 11)