I have used this example for years now: Our Lord asked to be let out on the water in a little boat at the end of a line so that He could address a much larger crowd on the shore. He thereby gave us the first example of "on-line ministry". He used technology to address a wider audience.
Another point I have been hammering at is that Pope Benedict is trying to revitalize our Catholic identity so that we can have a positive influence in the world as Catholics, as disciples of Christ. We have something indispensable to contribute in the public square.
That image of the "public square" is perennially valid. Yet, the Holy Father has expanded the image" "digital continent".
We have to contribute not merely more of the same to the digital pulse of this age, but we must find ways to adjust the very frequency of that digital pulse.
Benedict XVI says Church needs to proclaim Gospel on the ‘digital continent’
Vatican City, Oct 29, 2009 / 11:30 am (CNA).- Addressing the full Pontifical Council for Social Communications today, Benedict XVI urged its members to help communicate the teachings of the Church on the “digital continent” of the ever-changing technological landscape.
Reflecting on the role of social networking and increasingly real-time electronic communication, Pope Benedict XVI said on Thursday that "modern culture is established, even before its content, in the very fact of the existence of new forms of communication that use new languages; they use new technologies and create new psychological attitudes.”
"Effectively," he continued, the advent of new technology “supposes a challenge for the Church, which is called to announce the Gospel to persons in the third millennium, maintaining its content unaltered but making it understandable.”
Quoting John Paul II’s encyclical "Redemptoris Missio" that affirms: "Involvement in the mass media, however, is not meant merely to strengthen the preaching of the Gospel. There is a deeper reality involved here: since the very evangelization of modern culture depends to a great extent on the influence of the media.”
“It is not enough to use the media simply to spread the Christian message and the Church’s authentic teaching. It is also necessary to integrate that message into the ‘new culture’ created by modern communications," the Holy Father asserted. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]
Pope Benedict also emphasized the need to promote a culture of respect, a culture aware of the dignity of the human being. He charged those companies and individuals responsible for the development and promotion of new media as ones “capable of developing the gifts and talents of each and of putting them at the service of the human community."
"In this way the Church exercises that which can be defined as a ‘deaconate [sic] of culture’ [diaconate] on today’s ‘digital continent,’ using its means to announce the Gospel, the only Word that can save the human being,” the Pope proclaimed.
The task of enriching the elements of the new culture of the media, beginning with their ethical aspects, falls to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. This Council must provide orientation and guidance in helping the particular churches understand the importance of communication, “which represents a key point that cannot be overlooked in any pastoral plan," the Pontiff explained.
Concluding, Pope Benedict recalled the 50th anniversary of the Vatican Film Archive founded by Blessed John XXIII, which possesses a "rich cultural patrimony pertaining to all humanity.” The archive must continue to collect and catalogue images "that document the path of Christianity through the suggestive witness of the image," he urged.
Every diocese ought to have a Vicar of Online Ministry and a plan.