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Thursday, 1 October 2009

Encouragement for Catholic bloggers

The other day, as is customary on the feast of the Holy Archangels, the Holy See announced the theme of next year's World Communications Day:
The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word.
A report of the communiqué of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications has appeared on Zenit but I could not find a translation of the full text of the communiqué. So, in the spirit of the communiqué itself, here is my own translation:
The principal task of the priest is to announce the Word of God made flesh, man, history, becoming in this way a sign of that communion which God effects with man. The efficacy of this ministry requires therefore that the priest should live an intimate relationship with God, rooted in a profound love and in a living awareness of the Sacred Scriptures, "witness" in written form of the divine Word.

The message for the 44th World Day of Social Communications seeks to invite priests in a particular way, during this Year of the Priest, and after the celebration of the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to consider the new media as possibly a major resource for their ministry at the service of the Word and seeks to offer a word of encouragement so that they might confront the challenges which arise from the new digital culture.

The new media in fact, if adequately known and valued, can offer to priests and to all pastoral workers a richness of data and content which was previously difficult to access, and facilitates forms of collaboration and of growth of communion unthinkable in the past. Thanks to the new media, the one who preaches and makes known the Word of life, can reach with words, sounds and images - the true and specific expressive grammar of the digital culture - individual people and entire cultures in every continent, to create new opportunities for awareness and dialogue, linked with the proposal and realisation of journeys of communion.

If used wisely, with the help of experts in the technology and culture of communications, the new media can thus become for priests and for all pastoral workers a valuable and effective instrument of true and profound evangelisation and communion. They will be a new form of evangelisation so that Christ should help the lives of our cities to to progress, and at the threshold of our houses should say anew "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, I will sup with him and he with me." (Rev 3.20)
As ever, the Holy See encourages us to use the new media with prudence and responsibility. Any of us may fail in these virtues from time to time but that is no excuse for people simply to dismiss all the "terrible blogs". There are many good priests and lay people out there working hard to use the new media in the service of the gospel. The Holy See has given a very positive signal and it deserves to be respected.
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