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What is Good?

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Where I used to work, the phrase “world class” was thrown around often. It sounds like a noble goal, to be world class, but there’s a dilemma.

How do you define world class?


Yo-Yo Ma was a child  prodigy cellist, graduated from the Juilliard School and Harvard, recorded over

90 albums and won 18 Grammy Awards. On the other hand, at 32, Taylor Swift is one of the top selling singer-songwriters of all time, with 11 Grammy Awards.

Both are world class, but what if you wanted to create a world class album? Should it be music that is masterfully composed and technically proficient, orchestrated for only the most highly trained musicians? Or should it be popular, catchy, radio-ready, and perfect for any teen to play on a ukulele?

Which is world class: Harry Potter or   The   Brothers    Karamazov? Van Gogh’s Starry Night or a YouTube video of  cats  dressed  up as construction workers with 100 million views?

There’s  the  dilemma.  World  class is  a  wonderful  compliment   for any media, but it doesn’t identify what makes something good. Good music isn’t necessarily popular or technically proficient.


Catholic creators and media professionals address this central

question as they strive for excellence, many by seeking the good, the true and the beautiful-a phrase used around the Catholic Telegraph offices frequently! True – that’s an easy concept to apply. Beautiful? Different people have  different tastes, but that’s usually easily recognized, too. But good? What makes something good?

I propose a simple litmus test for goodness. It’s not perfect, but it quickly discerns whether the media you are consuming or creating is good.

God is the source and goal of all goodness, so instead of asking, “Is this good?” ask, “Does this lead to holiness? Does this bring me closer to God? Will this help people find God? Am I a better person  for having read, watched or listened to this? Does this help me become the person God created me to be?”

We all consume media, Catholic or otherwise, and often focus on the quantity consumed. But perhaps we should focus more on the media’s quality.

Shine a light on the media in your life to determine if its quality is good with this simple question: Will this lead me to holiness?

Dominick Albano is the director of digital engagement for The Catholic Telegraph, as well as an author and national speaker. He and his wife have been married for 14 years and have four sons.

This article appeared in the February 2022 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.


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