Bishop Encourages Church to Embrace Social Media
|Bishop Herzog addressing his fellow Bishops (from Rocco Palmo)|
Each year, the U.S. Catholic bishops gather for a general assembly in Baltimore. Numerous topics are discussed, but this year's meeting features something particularly interesting: the Church's engagement of social media.
Yesterday, Bishop Ronald Herzog of Alexandria, Louisiana delivered a presentation to his fellow bishops on this very topic, urging them to 'evangelize the digital continent':
“Although social media has been around for less than 10 years, it doesn’t have the makings of a fad,” said Bishop Herzog. “We’re being told that it is causing as fundamental a shift in communication patterns and behavior as the printing press did 500 years ago. And I don’t think I have to remind you of what happened when the Catholic Church was slow to adapt to that new technology,” he said, referencing the Protestant Reformation."
“Anyone can create a blog,” he noted. “Everyone’s opinion is valid. And if a question or contradiction is posted, the digital natives expect a response and something resembling a conversation. We can choose not to enter into that cultural mindset, but we do so at great peril to the Church’s credibility and approachability in the minds of the natives, those who are growing up in this new culture. This is a new form of pastoral ministry.”
I agree with Bishop Herzog that the digital revolution is shaping our culture as profoundly as the printing press. And I also agree that, if the Church's voice is to be heard by coming generations, she can't avoid to be absent from the digital world
I'm hoping that our new book on Church and New Media will echo Bishop Herzog's urgings, while giving practical tools and examples to meet them.
(HT: Rocco Palmo)