Brandon Vogt

Dolan, Pope Benedict: "We Need More Twitter"

UPDATE: Here’s the full text of Archbishop Dolan’s speech.

The New York Daily New has some excellent coverage of Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s trip to Rome, where tomorrow he’ll be named a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI.

But that won’t be his only honor. The Pope chose Dolan to deliver a special keynote address to the College of Cardinals on the topic of the New Evangelization.

He couldn’t have made a better choice. Dolan, the joyous front-man for the American Catholic Church, is one of the most tech-savvy bishops in the world. He has a Facebook page, his own personal blog, and is a huge proponent of new media.

Dolan said Twitter and other social media may be the tools to bring the lapsed back into the fold. “We know that the Church has lost some of its pizzazz,” he told the Daily News.

“We have to refresh and rekindle that faith…..Some people in the church have thought social communication is bad and evil, but these things can be used in a beautiful way to bring more people to Jesus.”

One reason Dolan is so effective with new media is that he’s a master at “affirmative orthodoxy“. Coined by Vatican reporter John Allen, the terms suggests an emphasis on what the Church is for rather than what she’s against. It accentuates the positive elements of faith to a culture exposed to its fair share of negativity.

“”Instead of the Church being seen as pointing out what’s bad all the time, we should point out what’s good,” Dolan said.

“Share the art, the music, the architecture the Church has inspired. I had a man tell me that he became a lapsed Catholic in high school, but he rediscovered his faith while studying the paintings of Caravaggio.”

He gave a shoutout to Chicago priest Fr. Robert Barron, who finds messages for Catholics in the songs of Bono, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.”

I’m praying and pulling for Archbishop Dolan’s speech today. I hope he inspires his fellow Cardinals and Church leaders to engage the digital continent. I hope Pope Benedict, especially, nods in affirmation since his predecessor, John Paul II, saw the vital role of technology in spreading the faith. John Paul was convinced that the New Evangelization requires, “new ardor, new methods, and a new expression.”

As Dolan will surely confirm, that’s exactly what new media gives us.

A few months ago, I spoke with Archbishop Dolan about new media and the Church. We had a great time. Dolan is just as warm, funny, and gregarious as I imagined him to be. If you missed the interview, you can stream or download it below:

Download the mp3 here (20-minute interview)

In my overactive imagination, here’s how I see Dolan’s speech playing out today:

Cardinal Dolan: “We need to use Facebook. We need to use Twitter. We need to use YouTube. And if you’re unsure why, you need to read this phenomenal book. It’s titled The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet which I think is one of the………

Pope Benedict XVI: Timmy, Timmy, Timmy. Stop. You don’t have to continue. I’m well aware of the book, which is enthroned in the Vatican and never leaves my side:

(HT: New York Daily News and Rocco Palmo for the link)

  • Thanks for the chuckle…that pope picture still gets me! Haha love it.

  • Definitely the way that speech will go! 😉 Love that concept of “affirmative orthodoxy.” That is definitely the key.

  • Peter

    You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how the speech went at all! You’ve got a high end pitchman for your book, Brandon! Congrats.

© 2017 Brandon Vogt