Friday 6th May 2016

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The New Media And The Work of Evangelization

June 11, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By MOST REV. EAMON MARTIN

DUBLIN (ZENIT) — This address was delivered May 19 by Archbishop Eamon Martin, coadjutor archbishop of Armagh, at the Soul Waves Radio conference in Dublin. ZENIT News Agency provided the text. All rights reserved.

+    +    +

Many people say that it was a four-minute speech which led to the election of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as Pope. In his pre-conclave speech to the other cardinals, he used the popular image from the Book of Revelation of Jesus standing at the door and knocking. But in an unusual and inspired way, he turned the image around:
“Obviously, the text refers to His knocking from the outside in order to enter, but I think about the times in which Jesus knocks from within so that we will let Him come out. The self-referential Church keeps Jesus Christ within herself and does not let Him out.”
A Church which does not come out of herself to evangelize, he said, becomes self-referential and then gets sick.
We have become familiar over the past year with this consistent theme in the teaching of Pope Francis. In Evangelii Gaudium he writes: “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. . . . If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light, and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life.”
It is in this context that I would like to introduce the challenges and opportunities for new media in evangelization. I am going to take it for granted that all of us here accept the necessity of people of faith to be involved in new media if we want to make the Gospel widely known in today’s world.
The Catholic Church has always advocated the use of whatever media are available to it in bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Fifty years ago, at the Second Vatican Council, one of the first decrees issued by the Council Fathers, Inter Mirifica, was on the media of social communications. Its first paragraph reads:
“Among the wonderful technological discoveries which men of talent, especially in the present era, have made with God’s help, the Church welcomes and promotes with special interest those which have . . . uncovered new avenues of communicating . . . news, views, and teachings of every sort. The most important of these inventions are media such as the press, movies, radio, television, and the like. These can . . . reach and influence, not only individuals, but the very masses and the whole of human society.”
Note the welcoming and positive tone of the message for these “wonderful technological discoveries.” Mention of “press, movies, radio, TV” seems miles away from smartphones, tablets, Netflix, Skype, Twitter, and Facebook!
Christians always made use of all forms of media to spread the good news — whether it be parchments and scrolls, high crosses, art, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, printing, television, or radio. We must welcome the use of so-called new media in this task. Many parishes have websites, there are “sacred spaces” online, priests on Facebook, the Pope on Twitter, i-Catholic, soul waves radio, and many more. Last year Proposition 18 from the Synod on the New Evangelization stated, “Education in the wise and constructive use of social media is an important means to be utilized in the New Evangelization.”
By way of example, last week along with Cardinal Brady, I led the Armagh diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. Our first morning Mass at the grotto was web-streamed across the world and within minutes we had requests for special intentions from home and beyond.
There are different ways of looking at the use of new media in evangelization — one is to see the new media as yet another tool to reach people with the message of the Gospel. By means of the various forms of new media, we can reach out to the peripheries and draw people in, so that they can hear the word of God and understand it better. They may then be open to a face-to-face encounter with a Church or parish group, or feel drawn to Mass and the sacraments.
Another way is to see the digital, online, or virtual world itself as a new space which is itself in need of evangelization. It is in this context that we notice references to a “digital continent to be won for Christ,” a “digital sea in which the barque of Christ must set sail,” a “virtual world ripe for mission.”
If the first of these is described as “evangelizing through” the Internet, the second might be termed “evangelizing on” the Internet.

Areopagus

One of my favorite chapters in the New Testament is Acts 17, which speaks about Paul going into Athens, the bustling communications capital of the ancient world. Paul is greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.
Verse 21 comments: “All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.” I see the Internet as being like the “new Athens,” new marketplace, or Areopagus, a “global village” to be won for Christ. Our challenge is to become witnesses for Christ in this strange new world, to enter into dialogue with the digital culture.
If only to be able to reach our young people and an increasing percentage of people of all ages, we need to be present in this new Areopagus. Our young people are spending huge proportions of their time in this virtual world, so much so that for many it is becoming increasingly the place where they live their lives, and what we call the real world of face-to-face seems often dull and uneventful to them, and their secondary existence. Never cease to be amazed at the ability of young people to text, snapchat, and Facebook with others all while talking to you!
The Internet has become like the nervous system of our culture, in which more and more people are expressing and exploring their identity, picking up and discarding their values and attitudes, expressing their feelings and prejudices, befriending and unfriending each other, measuring each other’s status and importance, relevance and appearance.
If our young people and people are living in this gigantic network, then we, as people of faith, need to be in there, dialoguing with the inhabitants of this world, with the men and women who dwell in the web!
When in the Church we speak about new evangelization, we more often than not think of the so-called real world, but billions of people live in the social networks. These have been described as among the biggest countries in the world — and they are countries with no barriers.
For example, 1.2 billion inhabit the world of Facebook. The majority of these people may never enter a church, but if we are to respond to the Gospel mandate given us by Christ to “go out to the whole world,” then we must nowadays include the digital world and proclaim the Good News there. Our challenge as evangelizers has always been to reach out and encounter people where they are at, and nowadays, more and more that means online!
In his Message for the 48th World Communications Day, Pope Francis speaks about “Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter.”
The Internet, in particular, he says, “offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.”
Pope Francis recognizes the problems and drawbacks with authentic communication in the virtual world, for example — problems with achieving balance, fighting stereotypes, the ease with which people can isolate themselves or “barricade themselves” online “behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests.”
However, he is clear that as Christians we need to “walk the streets of the digital highways, to encounter like the Good Samaritan those who are lying on the side of the road and witness to them in tenderness and love.”
Thanks to the Internet, he says, “Christian witness can reach the peripheries of human existence.” I quote from the message: “The digital highway is…a street teeming with people who are often hurting, men and women looking for salvation or hope. By means of the Internet, the Christian message can reach ‘to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8).”
There is a temptation to see evangelization in the new media as simply bombarding people with religious messages. Pope Francis encourages us to go beyond this. He challenges us to think about how we can effectively encounter people and witness to them in, and using, new media. He asks: “Can we be available to them, hear their issues and problems, engage with their questions and doubts and their search for truth”?
In a beautiful passage he says: “May the image of the Good Samaritan who tended to the wounds of the injured man by pouring oil and wine over them be our inspiration. Let our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts.” He urges us: “Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world…in order to dialogue with people today and to help them encounter Christ. [The Church] needs to be a Church at the side of others, capable of accompanying everyone along the way.”

Charity And Love

I would therefore like to suggest a number of principles to guide our presence in the digital highways:
1) Be positive and joyful. Offer “digital smiles” and have a sense of humor. Remember that it is the “joy of the Gospel” that we are communicating, so, as Pope Francis says: no “funeral faces” or “sourpusses”!
2) Strictly avoid aggression and “preachiness” online; try not to be judgmental or polemical —goodness knows, there is enough of this online already! Instead, try Pope Francis’ approach of “tenderness and balm.”
3) Never bear false witness on the Internet.
4) Remember “Ubi caritas et amor.” Fill the Internet with charity and love, always giving rather than taking. Continually seek to broaden and reframe discussions and seek to include a sense of charity and solidarity with the suffering in the world.
5) Have a broad back when criticisms and insults are made — when possible, gently correct.
6) Pray in the digital world! Establish sacred spaces, opportunities for stillness, reflection, and meditation online.
7) Establish connections, relationships, and build communion. Church has always been about “gathering.” In this, it is worth considering an ecumenical presence for the Christian churches online. The Internet tends to be a place of ethical and intellectual relativism, and often of aggressive secularism. The scandal of disunity among Christians can be easily exploited and exaggerated. Therefore we must seek to share resources so that we can have a powerful Gospel witness. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people started noticing online: “See how these Christians love one another.”
8) Educate our young to keep themselves safe and to use the Internet responsibly.
9) Witness to human dignity at all times online. Seek, as Pope Benedict once said, to “give a soul to the Internet.” We are well aware of the pervasive prevalence of pornography on the Internet which can “pollute the spirit,” destroy and degrade human sexuality and relationships, reduce persons to objects for gratification, draw millions into the commodification and commercialization of sex, feed the monster that is human trafficking.
10) Be missionary, be aware that with the help of the Internet, a message has the potential to reach the ends of the earth in seconds. In this regard, let us foster and call forth charisms in younger committed people who understand the power and potential of the net to bear witness.
On May 5 Pope Francis tweeted: @Pontifex: What does “evangelize” mean? To give witness with joy and simplicity to what we are and what we believe in.
That is our challenge and our privilege as Christians. Freely we have received the joy of the Gospel, now let us freely give it.

+    +    +

(© 2014 Innovative Media Inc.)

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Cardinal Burke: Notre Dame is Wrong

Notre Dame’s Great Scandal: Honoring Vice President Biden By Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family: The University of Notre Dame has announced that they intend to confer the Laetare Medal, an honor given to Catholics “in…Continue Reading

DoJ to North Carolina: You Have Until Monday to Reverse Bathroom Bill

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory received a letter from the Department of Justice that gives him until Monday to reverse his state’s controversial bathroom bill, reports The Hill. The DoJ said the law is in violation of the federal Civil…Continue Reading

Lavender Graduations Harmful to Students at Catholic Colleges

At least eight Catholic colleges across the country are hosting “lavender graduations” this spring — many of them as part of an annual campus tradition — to celebrate and honor students with same-sex attraction (SSA) or who identify as lesbian,…Continue Reading

Serving LGBT Students in Catholic Schools

April 28, 2016, at 9:03 AM  |  By Dan Guernsey  |  Opinion How do Catholic schools best serve students who struggle with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria (popularly called “transgendered”)? What should a school’s policies prescribe in order to prevent…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Group Lists Every Company Backing Planned Parenthood

A pro-life organization that has spent decades working to try to get corporations to stop giving financial donations to the Planned Parenthood abortion business has released a revised listing of companies backing the abortion giant. Life Decisions International has released…Continue Reading

Trump completes 5-state sweep; Clinton beats Sanders in most Super Tuesday III contests

Donald Trump completed a five-state sweep in Tuesday’s Republican presidential primaries, strengthening his shot at avoiding a contested convention – while Hillary Clinton scored convincing victories but was denied the same bragging rights of a primary sweep by a surprise…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood Caught Again

Kentucky is suing a new Planned Parenthood clinic after Governor Matt Bevin found out that they have illegally killed 23 unborn children. The clinic knowingly operated without a license for nearly two months. The request for a license was later…Continue Reading

Top Vatican cardinals aren’t commenting on pope’s exhortation

April 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two of the Vatican’s most senior prelates, both known for taking a strong stand for the Church’s tradition at the Synod on the Family, are declining interviews on Pope Francis’ controversial apostolic exhortation. Vatican reporter…Continue Reading

Indiana diocese: Catholic teachers must uphold Church’s moral teachings

FORT WAYNE, Indiana, April 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Another Catholic bishop has taken steps to reinforce Catholic identity in the schools of his diocese. Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades promulgated “The Mission of Our Catholic Schools and the Importance…Continue Reading

Abby Johnson to Georgetown: Pray for Cecile Richards because no one is beyond conversion

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – No one is beyond conversion, former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson said at Georgetown University Wednesday, just hours after Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards delivered a lecture to a packed room at…Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Pro-life NFL star Matt Birk reveals real reason he skipped meeting with Obama

April 15, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — When football star Matt Birk decided to quietly decline an invitation to meet President Obama after winning the 2013 Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, he said at the time that he was acting on…Continue Reading

Head of US Bishops’ news agency resigns, blames ‘far right blogosphere’

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 14, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)—The editor-in-chief and director of the U.S. bishops’ official news service resigned Wednesday at the request of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference general secretary. Tony Spence, who had worked for Catholic News Service since 2004, had…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Commentary

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .  

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis: ‘God loves each and every one of us’

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says God loves each and every one of us, He is totally extraneous to the “throwaway culture” of today and like the good shepherd he does not want a single person to be lost. Speaking on Wednesday at the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy reflecting on the parable of the Good Shepherd. He said that the Lord uses the image of the…Continue Reading

Cardinal Müller: Communion Remains Off-Limits for “Remarried”

muller

News is now spreading about Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s varied remarks on marriage, as well as on the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia itself, during his trip to Spain at the beginning of May. As the Spanish website Infocatolica.com now reports, Cardinal Müller spoke at a presentation of his new book on hope at the Francisco de Vitoria University in Madrid, Spain, where he affirmed and confirmed the traditional view of marriage and the “impossibility” of changing that clear…Continue Reading

Catholic Colleges Embrace ‘Demonic’ Gender Ideology in Housing Policies

gay

The College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit, Catholic institution in Worcester, Mass., will implement a new housing policy in the 2016-2017 academic year that embraces gender ideology, which Pope Francis has called “demonic” and a threat to the family. The updated housing policy “will allow students of different sexes to room together based on gender identity,” according to an April 29, 2016, report in the campus newspaper The Crusader. At the University of San…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood CEO: My Proudest Moment is Forcing Christians to Pay for Abortion Drugs

richards

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards seems to jump at every chance she gets to do an interview with a journalist who will flatter her abortion work. In her latest interview, Richards revealed her proudest moment on the job – forcing Christians to pay for contraception, including methods that many say can cause early abortions. She told the Texas Observer: TO: And your proudest moment at Planned Parenthood? CR: Definitely the day President Obama called to…Continue Reading

Pope’s Morning Homily: No to Double Lives!

pope(picture)

You are in communion with God, walk in the light. Do works of light, don’t say one thing and do another •April 29, 2016•ZENIT Staff• Pope Francis today exhorted Christians to avoid the “double life” of saying one thing and doing another. This was a main message of his homily this morning in the Casa Santa Marta, reported Vatican Radio. “If you say you are in communion with the Lord, then walk in the light.…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . A Look Beyond Radical Secularism

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Manent, Pierre. Beyond Radical Secularism: How France and the Christian West Should Respond to the Islamic Challenge. Translated from the French by Ralph Hancock and Daniel J. Mahoney. South Bend, Ind.: St. Augustine’s Press, 2016. 115 pp. To say this is a timely book is almost an understatement. In its opening pages,…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “How To Fight Dissent Continued”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of the book Call to Action or Call to Apostasy, consisting of a detailed description of the current forms of dissent and how to fight them, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org). +…Continue Reading

Dishonoring General Jackson

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In Samuel Eliot Morison’s The Oxford History of the American People, there is a single sentence about Harriet Tubman. “An illiterate field hand, [Tubman] not only escaped herself but returned repeatedly and guided more than 300 slaves to freedom.” Morison, however, devotes most of five chapters to the greatest soldier-statesman in…Continue Reading

Euthanasia In Canada… Liberty Without Freedom

By DONALD DeMARCO On April 14, 2016, Canada’s Liberal government introduced Bill C-14 legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide. The long-awaited draft is intended to amend two Criminal Code sections that formerly prohibited euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Supreme Court of Canada, in a 9-0 decision on February of 2015, declared these sections to be unconstitutional.…Continue Reading

And A Child Shall Lead Them

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK College students are not children, yet the line from Isaiah 11:6, about how “a little child shall lead them,” may fit the role they will play is correcting the disorder at our Catholic universities. Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but one cannot help but wonder if the day will come when…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. Catholic doctrine establishes that a patient terminally ill must not be denied food and nutrients. But what about a patient over 80 and otherwise in fair condition, who after a chronic renal failure has no renal function left and faces treatment with chronic hemodialysis with the possible complications of infection, anemia, discomfort, etc.? Can he in good faith refuse…Continue Reading

Faith And Courage

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER The Solemnity Of Pentecost (YR C) Readings: Acts 2:1-11 1 Cor. 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 20:19-23 In the Gospel reading today we hear about our Lord breathing on His disciples so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. This, of course, is a reference back to the creation when God breathed the breath of life into the…Continue Reading

“Love One Another”. . . But Logic Cannot Be Separated From God

By FR. JOHN DE CELLES (Editor’s Note: Fr. John De Celles, pastor of St. Raymond of Peñafort Catholic Church, Springfield, Va., gave the following homily on the Fifth Sunday of Easter, April 24, 2016, at his parish. (Fr. De Celles based his homily on the readings for that day, including the Gospel which has the passage, “Love one another as…Continue Reading

Race And Religion . . . Commitment To Religion Improves Lives

By FR. JOHN FLYNN, LC (Editor’s Note: Fr. John Flynn, LC, wrote this commentary for ZENIT News Agency. Fr. Flynn, a regular ZENIT contributor, holds degrees from the University of New South Wales and from the Pontifical Gregorian University. (We are running this commentary in the space usually reserved for Fr. Kevin M. Cusick’s column, as Fr. Cusick appears on…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course… The Inquisition: Answering Objections

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 52 First objection: The Inquisition was intolerant! Reply: Before we dissect the Inquisition, we first have to define the terms we use, to ensure that we share the same meaning. What is “tolerance”? In today’s liberal parlance, it means something like accepting other opinions, views, and preferences, so that we are not seen to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Anna Rosa Gattorno

By CAROLE BRESLIN Near the western border of Italy lies Monaco. Driving northeast along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea for about 110 miles, the traveler arrives in the coastal city of Genoa, home of a truly remarkable woman who served the Kingdom of God as a wife, mother, widow, layperson, and religious. Although she suffered from hidden wounds, she…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Hugh The Great

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the 11th century, over 150 years before St. Francis of Assisi received the order from our Lord to “repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin,” the secular rulers sought to control the appointment of bishops, abbots, and even the Pope. During this period of simony and conflict, St. Hugh the Great entered…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading