Radio host takes ‘a closer look’ at the Word
By Carla L. Smith
Sheila Liaugminas focused on the power of words during a presentation on Oct. 26 at St. Louis Parish. She reminded attendees of John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Liaugminas is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who currently hosts the one-hour program, “A Closer Look,” on Relevant Radio, which can be found at 970 AM in the Austin area. The show covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media, all of which she touched upon in her presentation.
Liaugminas said words are powerful and common vocabulary can be easily altered so that almost everything can be justified by redefining words. She quoted Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper who wrote about the abuse of language and the corruption of words, saying today language is being used not to spread truth and joy but to “control people and manipulate them to achieve practical ends.”
She said the media and entertainment industries are culprits of doing just that, Liaugminas encouraged the thoughtful use of words to clarify our Catholic teachings and beliefs in a new sort of evangelization.
“There is an open hostility to the Catholic faith in culture and politics now,” Liaugminas said. “This is not acceptable and we must engage in this topic and stop letting people tell us who we are. Let’s let us define us.”
Liaugminas admitted that she feels it has gotten harder to accept the media’s good intentions but that they are still powerful in forming public opinion. Words, she stressed, give them power and influence even though they are, in her opinion, often biased and distorted.
She referred to George Orwell’s “captive, clueless society” in the book “1984” and warned about allowing “semantic gymnastics” to place relative values on issues like abortion. She encouraged Catholics not to give in to cultural acceptance.
Liaugminas said our nation’s founding documents included certain ethical principles and moral teachings but that impediments like fear, lack of courage, and an increasingly secular culture keep many of us from speaking up and working to rebuild our society.
Liaugminas began her career in the secular journalism world. She wrote at “Time” magazine for more than 20 years and has been published and broadcast nationwide. She is also extremely familiar with the non-secular world as both the author of “Non-Negotiable: Essential Principles of a Just Society and Humane Culture” and the mother of a Catholic priest.
When asked what steered her out of the non-secular world and into the secular, she promptly replied, “Divine providence.” She also strongly believes the Holy Spirit daily directs her on what topics to cover and what issues to address.
Repeating Pope Benedict’s instruction to “put a human face on Facebook,” Liaugminas advised participants to be careful with their words, both verbally and on social media.
“I love that Pope Francis called the Internet ‘a gift from God,’” Liaugminas said. “It is our job to go out and create a culture of encounter, to make noise and be that ‘true light that enlightens every man’ that John so eloquently called the Word.”
Rather than turning away from the news that might disturb us, she urged people to engage in today’s world by taking stock of one’s purpose and identifying challenges in a growing hostile. It is possible to evangelize in a personal way rather than a forceful way and to simply “tell your story and spread the truth on life and dignity.”
Father James Misko, the pastor of St. Louis Parish, echoed this in his blessing when he asked for “not only holy but wise” new evangelization for all those in attendance.
Liaugminas said “we are currently in a Paul Revere moment. The villages along his route set things in motion with red dots that lit the way for him. We must do the same in our families and work places, on social media, and by getting involved in our communities. We must be those red lights and show the world the true, the good and the beautiful.
Following her presentation, Liaugminas said she hopes people will have the courage to be informed and engaged.
“Pray, get information, and then act,” she encouraged. “This is the time to speak and to speak the Word.”
Catholic radio in Central Texas
Relevant Radio is a not-for-profit radio network and produces 80 hours of original programming each week. Relevant Radio can be heard in the Austin area at 970 AM, and RED-C Radio, which can be found at 88.5 FM in the College Station area, is also an affiliate of Relevant Radio. Programming can also be streamed online at www.relevantradio.com or via the Relevant Radio app for mobile devices. Relevant Radio recently announced plans to merge with Immaculate Heart Radio, which will bring together more than 100 radio stations across the country with the potential of reaching more than 130 million people.