Pope Benedict XVI asks the Catholic Chuch to use social media and digital technology
Pope Benedict XVI will use his World Communications Day message in May to encourage the clergy to start blogging and using the internet and social media to connect better with their flocks. “Priests stand at the threshold of a new era,” he will say in a text entitled “The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World:New Media at the Service of the Word”.
He continues: “as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, priests are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.”
Although some churches have established strong web presences and used social media to engage and recruit new members of their congregations, the Pope’s plea is thought to be the first by a major global religious leader to focus on new media technologies.
The theme of the Pope’s message, however, is that priests should engage cautiously: “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," he will say. "This will not only enliven their pastoral outreach, but also will give a 'soul' to the fabric of communications that makes up the ‘Web’.”
The Pope’s aim, however, is for new media to be used to get people to behave in a Christian way and to attend church; it is not being suggested as a substitute for joining a physical congregation.