In 2015 a group of freelancers was tasked with developing workflows and visual content for the Catholic news and commentary website Aleteia, which is an incredible global website with 8 language editions under the leadership of Pierre Marie Dumont, founder of The Magnificat Foundation.
Over the years the websites audience grew to over 13 million visitors per month, and a reach of 40 million users on social networks.
During this period, distinctive trends emerged revealing the type of content that was most effective at reaching a broad audience and creating the greatest engagement. One theme in particular consistently delivered massive traffic; heroic Catholicism. Images and stories of heroic witness, heroic virtue, and heroic love became among the best performers.
In 2019 some members of the team went on to form The Image Department, an independent collective, with the mission of ‘Visual Evangelization’ largely driven by the theme of heroic Catholicism.
DAMNCATHOLIC.COM is The Image Departments first independent Catholic evangelization project dedicated to presenting to the world what ‘Catholic’ is by showing heroic faith, heroic virtue and heroic love, because they are alive and well, but virtually unseen. The project strives to be a gateway to affirming and inspiring faith through powerful imagery, inspiring stories and videos.
Why Heroic Catholicism works
If you were to pick up a newspaper today, either secular or religious, and were to base your opinion of the Catholic Church is…what would it be? Divided? Scandal-ridden? Outdated?
If so, it’s because authentic Catholic witness has been buried beneath the headlines.
A hundred years ago it was easier to be Catholic, in part because you could see it in almost every arena of society. But as the digital culture emerged and individuals became increasingly more isolated, social media took reign as the leading influencer of one’s world view rather than communities and families.
Those leading marginally Catholic lives and those who are leaving the church have lost the meaning of what it means to be Catholic and they are left not only without faith, but also without hope.
And while more traditional Catholic media does an effective job of apologetics and news reporting it struggles in evangelization; inspiring viewers to embrace faith and experience conversion.
Show don’t tell
People need to see role models and examples of courageous faith. In every area of life; athletics, music, entertainment there are those who we look up to and strive to be like…so where are the Catholic role models?
Priests – There are priests throughout the world leading lives of heroic witness, serving Christ’s people by bringing the sacraments to them, often in extremely challenging conditions. The Catholic priesthood is all too often taken for granted and more often, maligned. Today the image of the priesthood is in need of an accurate representation, to be respected again, to be celebrated again; to be seen for what it truly is.
Religious – In a culture that bows down to physical beauty and worships self, there are men and women who rise beyond the call of the world to embrace a life of selflessness and sacrifice, devoting themselves fully to life in Christ. Awareness of these vocations, the Call, and what it looks like can help to inspire others who may be discerning a call.
Laity – There has never been a time in history where there have been more distraction and temptation attempting to undermine faith and families. Yet there are men and women who have discovered true fulfillment and joy in following Christ leading lives filled with virtue and grace. Support for this most basic vocation, the bedrock of all vocations, is sorely needed.
So where are the Catholic role models? Everywhere. And in the here and now. While the Saints continue to inspire and intercede, seeing witnesses in the public square living in the present can present a tangible, more relatable model for others to draw from.
Story Portraits of these men and women, their lives, the struggles, the environments they live in can serve as beacon of what is true, what the Catholic faith really is, and awaken the call to relationship that lives within each person’s heart. Life is a love story between Christ and his people… it’s a journey of discovery…It’s the ultimate adventure.
The church is in dire need of these stories to push back against a false narrative that is being aggressively promoted by the culture.
The subjects of the stories will be collected from around the world as to not give one cultural backdrop, reinforcing the universality and scope of the Church as well as give a multi textural and diverse look to each of the stories, painting a vibrant and colorful picture of the global faith community.
Embracing the latest in design and technological advances, DAMNCATHOLIC.COM is venturing beyond the current trends and pushing the beyond the boundaries of convention to bring the Faith to those who may not have ever darkened the threshold of a church.
Our purpose is to carry the faith through the doors of the cathedral and bring it back to the streets where it began some 2000 years ago.
Encountering Christ is an encounter with love…this is where conversion occurs…this is where hope is born…this is where Faith begins.
Please pray for us, and know that you will be in our prayers.
Thank you for visiting the site, and please feel free to reach out with ideas and suggestions, we’d love to speak with you!
The DamnCatholic Team [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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