The news broke today that the United States has reached the 300,000,000 mark. I often reflect on the effectiveness of Catholic apologetics and evangelism. When I grew up (late 60’s and 70’s) there were few orthodox Catholic publishers still in business. There were even fewer Catholic radio stations (none in my area) and no television networks. The late 80’s sparked a renewed interest in apologetics and evangelism. Radio stations (even networks) began to spring up. More and more orthodox publishers started their presses. The Eternal Word Television Network began to be beamed throughout the country. Indeed, EWTN is now seen around the world. Catholic media outlets have produced tons of books, tapes, CD’s and DVD packed with great Catholic material and I don’t even need to mention what’s happening on the Internet.
I started doing Catholic apologetics professionally in the early 90’s. I’ve appeared on television and radio (both local and national). I’ve given talks to audiences of only a dozen people and I’ve given talks with over a thousand people in attendance. But if I added up all the people that I have addressed and all the people that other apologists and evangelists have addressed over the past couple of decades and put it all together, what would the number be in comparison with that 300,000,000 figure? Would it be a half? Quarter? Perhaps, it would only be a few percentage points.
Of course, fidelity to God is not measured in numbers. If all the radio networks and all the television stations, blogs and websites saved only one soul or brought one person back to the fold, the effort was worth it. Still, the 300,000,000 figure does provide us with a chance to reflect on how far we came and how much more needs to be done to bring God’s love to this nation. We can trust that God, who began this good work, will bring it to completion. 300,000,000… We’ve got our work cut out for us.