Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Pope Encourages Priests to Engage in Digital Media


Image courtesy: Karen Hall's blog Some Have Hats

Pope Benedict XVI, in a message on January 24 for the 44th World Communication Day to be observed on May 16, 2010, urged Roman Catholic priests to participate in the digital media. The theme for this year's World Communication Day is The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word.

The pope also said: "The spread of multimedia communications and its rich 'menu of options' might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web, or to see it only as a space to be filled. Yet priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different 'voices' provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis."

Pope Benedict added: "Responding adequately to this challenge amid today's cultural shifts, to which young people are especially sensitive, necessarily involves using new communications technologies. The world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makes us appreciate all the more Saint Paul's exclamation: 'Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel' (1 Corinthians 9:16). The increased availability of the new technologies demands greater responsibility on the part of those called to proclaim the Word, but it also requires them to become more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts. Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word."

The pope also mentions: "...A pastoral presence in the world of digital communications, precisely because it brings us into contact with the followers of other religions, non-believers and people of every culture, requires sensitivity to those who do not believe, the disheartened and those who have a deep, unaritculated desire for enduring truth and the absolute. Just as the prophet Isiah envisioned a house of prayer for all peoples (cf. Isiah 56:7), can we not see the web as also offering a space -- like the 'Court of the Gentiles' of the Temple of Jerusalem -- for those who have not yet come to know God?"

Pope Benedict XVI was initially reticent to digital communication media. He gradually began to have increased presence in them. Presently, he is in the YouTube (The Vatican) and websites like Pope to You, including the Facebook and iPhone.

Even before the pope's call, there are hundreds of blogs already being written and managed by Catholic Bishops, priests and Religious, including nuns. There are even greater number of blogs by Catholic lay men and women. I mention below just a handful of them:

Blogs by Catholic Cardinals:

Blogs by Catholic Bishops:

  • Bishop William Lori's Blog (The Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA) (Started on March 30, 2007)
  • Abyssus Abyssum Invocat (Deep Calls to Deep) (Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas, USA) (Started on May 26, 2009)
  • Viewpoints (Personal Views and Commentaries by Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan, Dagupan City, The Philippines) (Started on April 17, 2003)
  • In and Out of Season (Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo's blog) (Jaro, The Philippines) (Started on November 30, 2005)
  • The Journey of a Bishop (Archbishop Terence Prendergast of Ottawa, Canada) (Started on January 4, 2009)
  • Encounters (Bishop Pat Alo Mati's Blog) (Davao Oriental, The Philippines)

Blogs by Catholic Priests:

  • Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) (Father John Boyle of Ashford, Kent, UK) (Started on August 2, 2009)
  • Holypriesthood (Living the priesthood one step at a time) (By Father Benjamin and Father Joel of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA) (Started on September 21, 2007)
  • Father Anthony Ho (A spiritual, catechetical and pastoral blog of a priest) (Vancouver, B.C., Canada (Started on June 19, 2008)
  • The Hermeneutic of Continuity (Father Tim Finigan) (Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church at Blackfen, South-East London, U.K.) (Started on April 6, 2006)
  • A Concord Pastor Comments (Father Austin Fleming commenting on life and ministry in his parish, in the Roman Catholic Church and the world), (Concord, Massachusetts, USA) (Started on August 1, 2008)
  • Father Jim Chern's Blog (Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA) (Started on July 14, 2007)
  • Catholic Spiritual Direction (Seek Him, Find Him, Follow Him) (Father John Bartunek, L.C.) (New York, USA) (Started on January 5, 2009)

Blogs by Catholic Monks:

  • Word Incarnate (Abbot Joseph of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery -- aka Mt. Tabor Monastery -- a Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic community) (Redwood Valley, California, USA) (Started May 18, 2005)
  • Abbot Cuthbert Johnson (Liturgical and Monastic Subjects) (Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary at Oulton, Staffordshire, UK) (Started on May 30, 2008)
  • Conventual Frnanciscans (Franciscan Friar Matt's Blog) (Washington, D.C., USA) (Started April 13, 2007)
  • Monks on a Mission (Missionary Benedictine Monks of Christ the King Priory) (Schuyler, Nebraska, USA)
This being the Year for Priests, Pope Benedict called upon the priests to participate in the digital media. Besides priests, Religious Brothers, Religious Sisters (nuns), Deacons and Catholic lay men and women also can contribute their mite through these media. Every one has a story to tell, every one has his or her experience of this world -- religious as well as secular. These stories and experiences need to be told and shared in the light of their beliefs. That's the Good News.

Now let us examine a few blogs by Brothers, Sisters, Deacons and lay men and women:

Blogs by Catholic Religious Brothers:

  • Brother Patrick's Blog (Brother Patrick Cousins of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart) (Syracuse, New York, USA) (Started on February 13, 2007)
  • Brother Bubba's Journal (Life in the Hermitage) (Brother John-Paul Ignatius Mary, OLSM) (Iowa, USA) (Started in 2003)
  • The Yoke of Christ (Brother Francis de Sales Wagner, O.S.B.) (St. Meinrad Archabbey, Indiana, USA) (Started on December 21, 2008)
  • A Minor Friar (The rants and reflections of a brother in Christ) (Brother Charles of the Franciscan Order, USA) (Started on April 24, 2006)

Blogs by Catholic Religious Sisters (Nuns):

  • Communitas et caritas (Community and love: The unexpected twists and turns of becoming a nun) (Sister Juliet, RSCJ, of the Society of the Sacred Heart) (USA) (Started on July 26, 2009)
  • Ask Sister Mary Martha (Marina de Rey, California, USA) (Started on June 30, 2006)
  • A Space for Seeking and Deepening (Witnessing faith in every dimension of life in a world of communication) (Sister Margaret Kerry, FSP) (Boston, Massachusetts, USA) (Started on December 2, 2008)
  • WindowstotheSoulBlog (Exploring the spirituality of Catholic media artists) (Sister Marie Paul Curley, FSP) (USA) (Started on August 29, 2008)
  • Sisters of the Gospel of Life (Sister Roseann, Sister Amanda and Sister Andrea) (Glasgow, England, UK) (Started on July 8, 2007)

Blogs by Married Catholic Deacons:

  • One Deacon's Idle Musings (Deacon Chick O'Leary) (Archdiocese of Chicago, USA) (Started on April 16, 2009)
  • The Deacon's Bench (Deacon Greg Kandra) (Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, USA) (Started on May 29, 2007)
  • View from the Lake (Deacon Joseph E. Hilber) (Minnesota, USA) (Started March 6, 2006)
  • The Speakin' Deacon (Deacon John) (Reflections on the Sunday readings) (Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky, USA) (Started October 31, 2006)
  • I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel (Thoughts and homilies on the Sunday gospel) (Deacon Steve) (Diocese of Lansing, Mississippi, USA) (Started in July, 2008)
  • Deacon Dan Wright (Diocese of Austin, Texas, USA) (Started on June 24, 2006)

Blogs by Catholic Lay Men:

  • American Papist (Blogging about life as a Catholic American) (Thomas Peters) (USA) (From September 4, 2005 to January 8, 2010 it was at another blog address) (From January 28, 2010 it started at this new blog address)

Blogs by Catholic Lay Women:

  • Anna Arco's Diary (A female journalist in London, UK) (Started on September 21, 2009)
  • Mulier Fortis (Courageous Woman) (Mac LcLernon, a female teacher, UK) (Started on May 13, 2006)
  • Conversion Diary (Jennifer Fulwiler, a convert to Catholicism from atheism in 2007) (USA) (Started August 10, 2005)
  • Journey of a Catholic Nerd Writer (Emmy Cecilia, a female student) (USA) (Started on December 25, 2007)
  • Blest Atheist (A Spiritual Encounter) (Elizabeth Mahlou, an atheist converted to Catholicism and now a catechist) (Started on January 3, 2009)
  • Joan's Rome (Joan Lewis, EWTN Rome Bureau Chief) (Rome, Italy) (Started on September 15, 2009)
  • Contemplative Haven (Prayers and reflections) (Gabrielle) (USA)
  • A Catholic View (A Secular World, A Catholic Perspective) (Christine) (USA) (Started in 2008)
  • Aussie Coffee Shop (On family life of the blogger) (Aussie Therese, a mother of seven children) (South Australia) (Started on August 23, 2006)

To look for detailed lists of Roman Catholic blogs, you may visit the following:

Catholic Blog Lists:

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