Obiter dicta

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” (cf Mark 4).

He used technology to address a wider audience.

We must strive to use technology well and prudently.

Another biblical example is that of shouting from the rooftops: more people can hear. (cf. Matthew 10:27: Quod dico vobis in tenebris dicite in lumine et quod in aure auditis praedicate super tecta.)

Throughout history the Church zealously used the best tools of social communication available.

Paul wrote letters which were read aloud to crowds and then copied and sent to other communities.

When Christianity became the religion of the Empire Constantine allowed bishops to use the Imperial post system.  They so overtaxed it that it struggled to function well.

When we learned to make thin walls that were tall, we filled them with glass so that light could in a new way teach even the unlettered about the mysteries of the faith and the story of saints and of salvation.

We used the printing press, radio and the infant television.

We haven’t done too well with the internet … yet.

But we are getting there.

Byte by byte.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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4 Responses to Obiter dicta

  1. Fr Matthew says:

    Indeed, this is a frontier that the Church has yet to fully explore. Thank you, Fr Z, for leading with your example!
    I’m doing my own little bit by blogging and podcasting my homilies, but being effective in this arena is not that easy (judging by the diminutive traffic I get on those posts, despite the fact that the homilies are very well-received by the people who hear them in church). I’ll keep trying, though, and if even one person is helped by my “homilcasts”, it will be worthwhile!

  2. Mariana says:

    “We haven’t done too well with the internet … yet.”

    YOU have, Father!

  3. benedetta says:

    I was fully “lettered” and, supposedly catechized, and yet, through experiences via secular college, was totally struck by the life of faith through the arts and through music. Those experiences brought new life and imagining to the cycles of Gospel readings heard from many Sundays of Mass attendance with family. Then in looking back into what it is that the faith believes and teaches, the faith, kindness and sometimes perseverance in suffering of other Christians who I observed fit easily into what I had heard and saw.

    I like the interactive quality of the independent blogs, and the chance to hear from others.

    With the typical slants and tilts of the msm including internet presence, it’s very hard to get complete pictures of issues, the bias is so determined and one sided, there is less and less open-mindedness it seems even when this is claimed of utmost import. The media used to be more independently run, now the outlets are backed by conglomerates, there is less diversity of in-depth, reasoned, thoughtful opinion and of course very little objectivity or ethical considerations in reporting, it goes without saying.

    Still I read an interesting statistic on a blog the other day…if you had 100 representative people from the entire world altogether at one time reflecting everyone’s characteristics, 1 of the 100 would have a computer. Just the 1. So it’s not the whole world is it, the blogosfero reflects those who have computers and communicate with one another by this method, which is still not everyone in the world.

    I say we still need the stained glass and the hymns in the beautiful church building itself, and the (at least!) weekly Mass proclamation of the Gospel…to interact with the rest of the stuff going on in our lives…

  4. JPManning says:

    You’re being too modest Father.

    The internet could be a great way to teach Catholics about what they have a right to expect in the liturgy and in their formation. I’ve read the vatican documents you highlight saying for example that the habitual use of EMHCs are an abuse or that it is ‘reprehensible’ if the Easter vigil starts before it gets dark. However when I tell my friends about this they experience cognitive dissonance. They won’t believe that their friendly priest is a dissident so they assume that these documents don’t really have any authority. If the Vatican put up a series of videos on Youtube saying this is right, that is wrong and yes these rules apply to your country then there would be no confusion.