28 January, 2010

An excellent reflection on the Church's use of the new media forms

Matthew Warner of the National Catholic register writes and excellent column in response to the call from Pope Benedict XVI for Catholic priests to embrace the internet and various other social media, to evangelize and propagate the faith. In it he makes an essential distinction between simply have a presence in these media as compared to using them as tool to further the Kingdom of Christ.

May dioceses (my own included) have impressive looking websites which offer an abundant array of information, but they serve as little more than a virtual version of the bulletin board and pamphlet tables that do little more than accumulate dust at the entrance to our churches. To truly embrace the Pope's challenge, priests as well as Catholic laity and Chanceries must come to understand that to be effective, these foray's into the virtual fields must be much, much more.

Check out your own parish or diocesan websites and see whether, in your opinion they meet the challenge as expressed in the Holy Father's document. If not, suggest ways to those responsible to show how their virtual offerings may be improved so that they can truly be the instruments of evangelization that B16 hopes they can be.

5 comments:

  1. I just watched a Salt and Light piece on Archbishop Sheen and I am struck with one thing. Both Sheen and G.K. Chesterton in an earlier age used the common media of the day to interact with people. With GK is was newspapers of course. I think what is needed is something of that nature... people who have the expertise to make the medium their own and bring the gospel to it. Much of what I have seen on the internet to date is either forums or blogs which have a relatively small number of active posters. You end up dealing with the professional skeptic or the internet troll but I don't see that in the same league as GKC or Sheen. I guess I am still waiting for the pioneers in this new media.

    Freyr

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  2. Freyr: I agree completely. I am trying to walk in the footsteps of Sheen and Chesterton myself as I continue to present the voice of faith in a language and format that is comprehensible to the average Catholic and Christian.

    For too long the Bishops (our supposed teachers in faith) have hidden behind statements and documents that are so laced with jargon and theologically complex terms that they are beyond the understanding of most Catholics.

    Like the title of this blog states, it's where the rubber hits the road that faith and daily life intersect. It is important for the faith to be intelligible to everyday folks if it to aid them at all in these daily encounters with life.

    Pray for the priests and bishops that they might some how be inspired to learn how to preach the simple message of faith in the same manner that Jesus did in his time.

    Fr. Tim

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  3. Freyr is right. Whatever is the next effective medium for the promulgation of religion is still out there.

    I'm sure that there will be a new wave of religious ferver. There always is. I don't think it's likely to be Catholic.

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  4. Actually there is hope... this past summer my own bishop took to the public square to preach the gospel. As part of the Year of St. Paul, Archbishop Thomas Collins brought the Lectio Divina to Dundas Square. Accustomed to the more ivory tower mentality of his predecessors, I was impressed. He is the first bishop in a while to actually live next to the cathedral and I have heard stories of him popping into restaurants and sharing a meal with people who recognize him.

    I don't think the Pope is asking for people to spend their time hunched over a keyboard furiously typing. I think he is asking us to go out into the public square and engage the world using the tools available there.

    Freyr

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  5. Freyr: Archbishop Collins was one of my scripture professors in the Seminary. You are indeed fortunate to have his as your Ordinary.

    Fr. Tim

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