Friday 1st July 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.

Hillary Clinton: “I Will Always Stand With Planned Parenthood,” It Does “Extraordinary Things”

Earlier this month, pro-abortion presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told activists at a Planned Parenthood abortion business rally that she would “always have your back.” She means it. In an op-ed written to bolster support for America’s biggest abortion business, Hillary…Continue Reading

United Way Sent $3 Million to Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz in 2015

LifeNews has repeatedly chronicled the relationship between dozens of local United Way agencies and the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Last year, on the heels of shocking videos showing the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling the body parts of aborted babies,…Continue Reading

Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher: Men for our season

The Church of the Little Flower is blessed today to receive relics of two great English saints: one, St. Thomas More, was a statesman, an intellectual, a Catholic layman who took his baptism seriously; the other was a bishop who…Continue Reading

Catholic Bishops Blast Obama Admin for Forcing Churches to Pay for Abortions

The leading pro-life spokesmen for the Catholic bishops are blasting an Obama administration decision revoking federal protection for chruches in California forced to pay for abortions. As LifeNews reported, churches in California are officially subject to an onerous state regulation…Continue Reading

Church Leaders React to Supreme Tie on DAPA/DACA

Catholic leaders from around the country were expressing disappointment today in response to a Supreme Court tie vote that effectively terminates Obama administration initiatives on immigration that shielded millions from deportation. Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, described…Continue Reading

Catholic universities must insure abortion, Obama administration rules

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Obama administration has ruled against two Catholic universities, upholding a rule issued by the state of California requiring all employers to cover elective abortions in their insurance plans – even if the…Continue Reading

Progressive Catholic groups publish “Pope Francis” voter guide

While the IRS revoked the non-profit status of the George Soros-subsidized Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) in October 2013 for failing to file a form 990 for three consecutive years, the organization recently re-emerged with a progressive…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Most Catholic marriages are null, some ‘cohabitations’ are ‘real marriage’

June 17, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis spoke yesterday at a pastoral congress on the family for the Diocese of Rome, and his remarks are causing consternation among faithful Catholics. In off-the-cuff remarks, the pope made the dual claim that…Continue Reading

From Fox News . . .Enough is enough, Pope Francis should resign

By Adam Shaw ·Published June 17, 2016 · FoxNews.com Pope Francis’s three-year-old papacy, marred by controversy from the beginning, has hit a new low. After Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to succeed Pope Benedict XVI in 2013, he quickly justified his…Continue Reading

Florida Bishop Blames Orlando Massacre on Catholic ‘Contempt’ for Homosexuality

The Catholic Bishop of St. Petersburg, Fla, has blamed Catholic disapproval of homosexual acts for the brutal slaughter of 49 people in the Pulse nightclub on Sunday. In a blogpost Monday, Bishop Robert Lynch said that Catholicism “targets” and “often…Continue Reading

WATCH: Congresswoman Blasts Sales of Aborted Baby Parts in Explosive Speech Filled With Evidence

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler gave a recent speech on the flood of the House of Representatives blasting the sales of aborted baby parts. The member of the special panel investigating Planned Parenthood and the sales of aborted baby parts provided shocking…Continue Reading

Transgender bathroom debate: Lawmakers in Massachusetts pass bill allowing use of restrooms based on gender identity

The Massachusetts’ House of Representatives has passed a bathroom bill on Wednesday that will allow transgenders to use restrooms according to their gender identity. Voting 116-36, lawmakers passed the bill despite protests from people who went to the House to…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

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Today . . .

Donald Trump Condemns Pro-Abortion Supreme Court Ruling

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump today condemned the decision the Supreme Court handed down on Monday reversing part of a pro-life Texas law that protects women’s health and has also saved the lives of thousands of unborn children and closed abortion clinics that can’t ensure adequate protection for women. The high court ruled 5-3 against the Texas pro-life law with Justice Stephen Breyer writing the decision. In new comments today, Trump condemned the Supreme Court…Continue Reading

On the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

•June 29, 2016•ZENIT Staff•Angelus/Regina Caeli “Out of love for Christ, they left their homeland and, heedless of the difficulties of the long trip and of the risks and diffidence that they would meet, they came to Rome. Here they made themselves heralds and witnesses of the Gospel among the people, and they sealed their mission of faith and charity with martyrdom.’ BEFORE THE ANGELUS Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning! Today we celebrate the feast…Continue Reading

Full text and video of Pope Francis’ call for Christian apology to homosexuals

popeplane

June 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – We here present Pope Francis’ full remarks echoing Cardinal Marx’s call for Christians to apologize to homosexuals in the wake of the Orlando massacre. You can find a full English transcript of the pope’s plane interview at Catholic News Agency here.   Cindy Wooden, CNS: Holiness, within the past few days Cardinal Marx, the German, speaking at a large conference in Dublin which is very important on the Church in the modern…Continue Reading

Supreme Court overturns landmark Texas pro-life law 5-3

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Supreme Court has reversed a landmark Texas pro-life law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges and abortion facilities to meet more stringent health standards. An eight-justice Supreme Court has reversed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (formerly Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole), 5-3. The case was brought by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of independent abortion facilities…Continue Reading

Papal press conference touches a host of issues

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis spoke on the Armenian genocide, the relation of the Church to homosexuals, and Britain’s vote last week to leave the European Union, as well as a host of other topics in a wide-ranging press conference on his flight back to Rome following his Apostolic Voyage to Armenia. Sunday’s in-flight press conference began with questions about the Apostolic Voyage to Armenia that Pope Francis had just concluded. Asked about his message for…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred . . . “Put On The Whole Armour Of God”

By JAMES MONTI At the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend last year (2015) I had the privilege of watching a flyover of the U.S. Air Force F-16 Thunderbird squadron as they traveled up the Hudson River and back. A thin wisp of cloud in a clear blue sky was the first sign of the…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101… “The Second Time Around: Euthanasia In The Netherlands”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 1 “The ease with which destruction of life is advocated for those considered either socially useless or socially disturbing instead of educational or ameliorative measures may be the first danger sign of loss of creative liberty in thinking, which is the hallmark of a democratic society” — Leo Alexander, MD. +…Continue Reading

Parenthood In An Age Of Surrogacy . . . Legal Battles And The “Ownership” Of Babies

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. All rights reserved.) + + + The ever-widening use of IVF and surrogate mothers is continuing…Continue Reading

The Canizares Case In Spain Is A Litmus Test For Pope Francis

By MAIKE HICKSON (Editor’s Note: This article below reprinted from the June 17 OnePeterFive.com; all rights reserved. (On June 20, the Catholic Herald also reported: (“Prosecutors in Spain have said they are investigating a Spanish cardinal for possible criminal hate speech because of remarks he made recently about the gay community. (“Valencia’s provincial prosecutor’s office…Continue Reading

The First Canonized Saint . . . A Milestone In The Saintly Process

By RAY CAVANAUGH When asked to name a few saints, chances are that “Ulrich” will be overlooked. St. Ulrich (also known as Udalric) of Augsburg is an obscure figure, and, as far as saints go, there isn’t anything especially compelling at this point about his life as a 10th-century Bavarian bishop. Ulrich — whose feast…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: We have in the past tried to explain why a good and loving God would allow the existence of evil and suffering and would allow bad things to happen to good people. It is a mystery that we will not fully understand in this life. However, some understanding of this mystery can be found in a book by…Continue Reading

The Two Greatest Commandments

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fifteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Deut. 30:10-14 Col. 1:15-20 Luke 10:25-37 In the Gospel reading today, a scholar in the Law comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Our Lord answers by asking how the man understands what is written in the Law. He responds by reciting…Continue Reading

The Distribution Of Communion Through The Ages

By FR. EDWARD McNAMARA, LC (Editor’s Note: In this September 21 question and answer column provided by ZENIT News Agency, Fr. Edward McNamara explains here that reception of Communion was long considered a logical part of the Mass. (Fr. McNamara, a Legionary of Christ priest, is a professor of liturgy and the dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum University.)…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Christ Preaches Ideals And So Must His Church

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK (Editor’s Note: Because of its timeliness, Fr. Cusick’s column appears on the front page this week, instead of its usual place on p. 2B. In that spot we are reprinting an article by Fr. John Flynn, LC, on “Parenthood in an Age of Surrogacy.”) + + + “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church… The Heroes Of Jesus Christ — The Martyrs!

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 6 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). No other people have proved their love for Jesus Christ more than the Catholic martyrs. From the Colosseum during the first three centuries of pagan persecution to today’s Islamic persecution in many countries, from…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Junipero Serra

By CAROLE BRESLIN With the supremacy of the Spanish navy, the discovery of the New World, and the founding of the Jesuit order, the distances that Catholic missionaries traveled increased dramatically. St. Francis Xavier, after arriving in India, spent many years sailing all over Southeast Asia. However, either by land or by sea, few saints have traveled more than St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Mother Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala

By CAROLE BRESLIN Which basilica in the country of Mexico has been visited by both Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Francis? The Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan. Like Our Lady of Guadalupe, the story of Our Lady of Zapopan begins in the year 1531. Beginning in 1531, the same year that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to…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