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Saturday, 23 January 2010

Holy Father encourages us to blog - with a priestly heart

It has been a normally busy Saturday in the parish: Mass (EF) Exposition, Confessions, Benediction, arranging Baptism, and Convalidation, newsletter, Confessions, Mass (OF), house blessing with tea and cakes and chat about the Church and education. So I finally got home, finished the Office, checked my email, and remembered that today is the day for the release of the Holy Father's message for World Communications Day.

The Holy Father could not be more explicit in encouraging of priests to use the new media in their apostolate:
[...] priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different "voices" provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.
I was reminded of the message by a correspondent who sent me a link to the Telegraph story headed Pope tells priests to get blogging. Newspapers quite naturally extrapolate from a message to get a good headline so I checked, and was pleased to see that the Holy Father did actually mention blogs. This is an immense encouragement for priestly bloggers. Perhaps he understands that the Catholics blogosphere is overwhelmingly loyal to the magisterium and provides an alternative to the negative slant often given to the Holy See in the mainstream media (both Catholic and secular).

Pope Benedict also has some wise words of advice particularly for priests hinting at the dangers present in becoming a voice in the "digital continent":
Yet priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ. This will not only enliven their pastoral outreach, but also will give a "soul" to the fabric of communications that makes up the "Web".
That is a very good and easily memorable summary - be known for your priestly heart more than for your media savvy. That is an item to add to the priest-blogger's examination of conscience.

At the conclusion of the message, the Holy Father renews his invitation with reference to the public square:
To my dear brother priests, then, I renew the invitation to make astute use of the unique possibilities offered by modern communications. May the Lord make all of you enthusiastic heralds of the Gospel in the new "agorà" which the current media are opening up.
I also checked the texts for the Press Conference introducing the message. For the speech of Archbishop Claudio Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the text simply says that he presented in PowerPoint a synthesis of the Holy Father's message. Good one! next step is to embed a slide show of the presentation. Mgr Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council, also gave a speech and this is posted in an English translation.
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