From a reader…
I am planning on doing a web series on YouTube about the Faith. It is my understanding that the Catechism would forbid my using the name “Catholic” as part of the title of this series. If so, is “Christian” an acceptable alternative; or is this also not allowed.
The Code of Canon law prohibits associations from using the name “Catholic” unless that association has the approval of ecclesiastical authority, which usually means the local bishop.
That does not mean that I can’t call myself Catholic unless I check with the bishop each and every time. Nor does it require episcopal approval for one to describe one’s activities as Catholic.
If one is Catholic, presumably one does Catholic things. The Church restricts this title out of concern for the faithful, and for those outside of the Church who are being prompted by the Holy Spirit to enter.
It would scandalize the faithful if one were to open a sordid business and call it the “Catholic Dirty Book Store”, or start up an association of “Catholic Lawyers for Redefining Marriage”, or publish a newspaper filled with heretical and nonsensical opinions and call it the “National Catholic Reporter”.
The internet is, to a large extent, ground not yet covered by canonical legislation. Are blogs associations? Do they fall under the canonical legislation? What about YouTube channels? We are in unchartered waters.
When one is in uncharted waters one has two options. You can go ahead, full steam, and risk the chance of major problems in an attempt to reach the destination. You can go slowly and carefully.
If you are intend to start up a YouTube channel to explain the Faith, first make sure you have the credentials and the ability to do so. With respect to some very earnest people, engaging in internet evangelization or catechesis requires more than a sincere desire to share the Faith. Some poor attempts do more harm than good if they open up the Faith to ridicule for poor presentation, or if they even unwittingly lead people toward error. You should have the technical skills to put together a quality presentation, as well as the theological acumen to navigate these unchartered waters.
Are you working with your pastor? A trusted priest?
As far as the name of your initiative is concerned, there are alternatives to using the word Catholic. There are, for example, the names of many great saints. Depending on the specific areas you want to cover, a scriptural phrase or a line from the liturgy could be appropriate. Make sure that if you use some Latin, that you get it right.