Father B.J. Breen encouraged his congregation at St. Frances of Rome on Sunday to bring Christ’s love to the world. The
Archdiocese of Louisville’s Catholic Services Appeal has used a variation on this theme — “Bringing Christ to Others” — as a motto for the last couple of years. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz often reminds his listeners to be Christ for someone else.
What does this mean? How does one bring Christ’s love to other people? Who has brought Christ’s love, mercy and compassion to you?
The offices of The Record were fortunate to feel Christ’s presence at the paper’s helm for the last four years. Glenn Rutherford, the newly retired editor of The Record who’s now serving as editor emeritus, brings love and compassion to everyone he meets.
A journalist for 50 years, Rutherford’s skills as a writer are well-known to regular readers of The Record. What may be less well known is his gift for teaching and the deep sense of compassion that he shared with both his staff and those he interviewed in
the course of reporting for The Record these last 15 years.
People he interviewed over the years — often on sensitive and intensely personal subjects — have thanked him for his compassionate listening and his ability to understand their perspectives.
These qualities are apparent when you consider the stories he enjoys telling. The stories that seem to excite him the most are those about an ordinary person doing something extraordinary for someone else. He also loves reporting on the work of local social service agencies that serve people who are struggling.
Behind the scenes, Rutherford has served as a teacher and mentor to all three members of the current editorial staff. He plans to continue this practice as editor emeritus with occasional discussions on writing and reporting.
The editorial staff intends to follow his example of compassion and concern in its reporting and its interactions with all people.
Ultimately, we’d like to strive to do just what Father Breen, Archbishop Kurtz and Pope Francis all suggest — bring Christ’s love to bear on our daily lives and profession.
Last June, Archbishop Kurtz urged Catholic media to “put on Christ” during the annual Catholic Media Conference in Charlotte, N.C.
He said that members of the Catholic media hold a “sacred trust” and that this trust is fulfilled when they report with accuracy, transparency and “always with love for the ways of Christ and the teachings of the church.”
“We cannot afford to sugarcoat the truth, but even bad news needs to be reported with love — as one in communion,” he told the reporters and communications professionals gathered in Charlotte.
Glenn Rutherford has mastered this approach to journalism and The Record’s current editorial staff hopes to uphold this trust.
Pope Francis also offered some guidance to Catholic media in his message for the June 1, 2014, World Communications Day.
“May the image of the Good Samaritan who tended to the wounds of the injured man by pouring oil and wine over them be our inspiration. Let our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts,” he wrote. “May the light we bring to others not be the result of cosmetics or special effects, but rather of our being loving and merciful ‘neighbours’ to those wounded and left on the side of the road.”
Mentioning the disparities of wealth and poverty around the world and other divisions in the “human family,” Pope Francis wrote, “Good communication helps us to grow closer, to know one another better, and ultimately, to grow in unity.
“The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another,” he said. “We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect.
“Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances,” he wrote.
As we look to 2015, The Record pledges to aim for these ideals in print, online and, one hopes, in our daily lives.