The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Technology and Catechesis: The Pope’s Call to Embrace the New Media

Authored by Carson Weber in Issue #31.2 of The Sower
On January 24, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI announced the theme for the 44th World Communications Day: ‘The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word.’ The Holy Father summarizes this theme in these words: ‘It focuses attention on the important and sensitive pastoral area of digital communications, in which priests can discover new possibilities for carrying out their ministry to and for the Word of God. Church communities have always used the modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level. Yet the recent, explosive growth and greater social impact of these media make them all the more important for a fruitful priestly ministry.’[i] The message can be summarized in the following bullet points: * Priests have the primary duty of proclaiming Jesus and communicating his saving grace by means of the sacraments. * Priests must learn and employ the new communications technologies (e.g., images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) so that they may be put in the service of the Word. * Priests should be known more for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ, than for their media savvy. * The priest can make God concretely present in today’s world, thus demonstrating the relevance of religion through competence in current digital technology. * The priest’s presence in the world of digital communications brings him into contact with those who do not believe, which brings about many opportunities for evangelization. * The priest’s ultimate fruitfulness comes from Christ himself, thus the need for a fruitful, ongoing life of prayer and charity. This being the Year for Priests, Pope Benedict’s aim is appropriately on target. I believe that the Holy Father’s encouraging suggestions can be easily translated to the office of the lay catechist, whose task ‘is basically that of communicating God's word.’[ii]

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This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact [email protected]

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