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By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/27/2010 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'Without fear we want to set out upon the digital sea, embracing its unrestricted navigation with the same passion that for 2,000 years has steered the barque of the Church. And more than technical resources, however necessary, we want to qualify ourselves dwelling in this universe too with a believing heart, that contributes to giving a soul to the uninterrupted communicational flow of the Internet.' (Pope Benedict XVI)

Walk the roads of the digital continent animated by the courage of the Holy Spirit. Our confidence is not uncritically placed in any instrument of technology. Our strength lies in being Church -- a believing community, able to bear witness to all the perennial newness of the Risen One, with a life that blooms in fullness in the measure that it opens up, enters into relation, gives itself gratuitously.

Walk the roads of the digital continent animated by the courage of the Holy Spirit. Our confidence is not uncritically placed in any instrument of technology. Our strength lies in being Church -- a believing community, able to bear witness to all the perennial newness of the Risen One, with a life that blooms in fullness in the measure that it opens up, enters into relation, gives itself gratuitously.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/27/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in Europe


ROME (Catholic Online) - As a global integrated media network at the service of the New Evangelization, Catholic Online is responding to the invitation of the Church to use every available communications vehicle to promote the fullness of Christianity found in the full communion of the Catholic Church. On Saturday, April 25, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the participants at a conference sponsored by the Bishops of Italy. The theme of the entire conference was   "Digital Witnesses: Faces and Languages in the Cross-Media Age". His address was entitled, "Without Fear We Want to Set Out Upon the Digital Sea". It was one more example of the Vicar of Christ giving the faithful directions concerning the correct use of the tools emerging from the explosion of all communications technologies. There have been a series of such directions and encouragements from Pope Benedict XVI. They followed upon those of his predecessor of happy memory, the Venerable John Paul II. Clearly, we are called to use every vehicle available for the task of the New Evangelization. We are to set out onto that "Digital Sea" by "Putting Out into the Deep" and lowering our nets for a catch. The internet enables us to participate in the continuing call to be "fishers of men/women". What is clear in this latest Papal address is the emphasis on a continuing theme sounded by the Pope; the great need to humanize all uses of communication technology, placing them at the service of the Church and the fullness of the Gospel which she proclaims to every Nation and every generation. The Word has become flesh, and dwelt among us. The Gospel proclaimed by the Church reveals the God who does not remain hidden, but reveals and communicates Himself. Our use of every tool offered to navigate the "digital sea" is necessary, so that we can place them at the service of the missionary work of the Church. We live in a new missionary age. The Church offers the fullness of the plan of God for the entire human race. That Plan is fully revealed in the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ. It is He who reveals the human face of God. It is He who reveals the high calling of every human person, now invited to be made new in Him. The address calls to mind the wonderful words of the Council Fathers in their Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: "The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light.  Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear." (#22) Here is the full address of the Pope: 

*****  "Without Fear We Want to Set Out Upon the Digital Sea" "The time in which we live is experiencing an enormous expansion of the frontiers of communication, realizing an untold convergence between different media and making interaction possible. Thus the Internet manifests an open vocation, with an egalitarian and pluralistic tendency, but at the same time it has dug a moat about itself: One speaks, in fact, of the "digital divide." It separates the included from the excluded and adds to the other discrepancies that separate nations from each other and divide them internally. "The dangers of homogenization and control, of intellectual and moral relativism, already quite evident in the bent of the critical spirit, in truth reduced to the play of opinions, in the multiple forms of the degradation and humiliation of the human person in his intimate dimension. One witnesses, then, a "polluting of the spirit, which makes us smile less, makes our faces gloomier, less likely to greet each other or look each other in the eye..." ("Speech in the Piazza di Spagna, December 8, 2009"). "But this meeting points to recognizing faces and so to overcoming those collective dynamics that can make us lose the perception of the depth of persons and remain at the surface: When that happens, they are bodies without souls, objects of trade and consumption. How is it possible today to return to faces? I tried to show the road in my third encyclical. It passes through that "caritas in veritate" (Charity -Love- in Truth) that shines upon the face of Christ. "Love in truth constitutes a "great challenge for the Church in a world that is becoming progressively and pervasively globalized". The media can become a factor in humanization "not only when, thanks to technological development, they increase the possibilities of communicating information, but above all when they are geared towards a vision of the person and the common good that reflects truly universal values" (no. 73). "This demands that they "focus on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples, they need to be clearly inspired by charity and placed at the service of truth, of the good, and of natural and supernatural fraternity" (ibid.). Only under those conditions can the epochal journey that we are undertaking become something rich and fertile with new opportunities.

"Without fear we want to set out upon the digital sea, embracing its unrestricted navigation with the same passion that for 2,000 years has steered the barque of the Church. And more than technical resources, however necessary, we want to qualify ourselves dwelling in this universe too with a believing heart, that contributes to giving a soul to the uninterrupted communicational flow of the Internet. "This is our mission, the Church's mission that she cannot renounce: The task of every believer who works in the media is that of "opening the door to new forms of encounter, maintaining the quality of human interaction, and showing concern for individuals and their genuine spiritual needs. They can thus help the men and women of our digital age to sense the Lord's presence" ("Message for the 44th World Communications Day"). "Dear Friends, you are called to take on the role of "animators of the community" on the Internet too, attentive to "prepare the ways that lead to the Word of God," and to express a particular sensitivity to "the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute". The Internet could in this way become a kind of "Court of the Gentiles," where "there is also a space for those who have not yet come to know God". "As animators of culture and communication, you are a living sign of how much "Church communities have always used the modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level". In this field voices are not lacking: We need only to point to... Catholic periodicals, the network of weekly diocesan papers and the now numerous Catholic Web sites. "I exhort all media professionals not to tire of nourishing in their heart that passion for man that draws ever closer to the languages he speaks and to his true face. You will be helped in this by a solid theological formation and above all a deep and joyful passion for God, fed by a constant dialogue with the Lord. The particular Churches and religious institutes, for their part should not hesitate to value... providing persons with foresight and resources. The media world should be a part of pastoral planning. "As I thank you for the service you give to the Church and therefore to the cause of man, I exhort you to walk the roads of the digital continent animated by the courage of the Holy Spirit. Our confidence is not uncritically placed in any instrument of technology. Our strength lies in being Church -- a believing community, able to bear witness to all the perennial newness of the Risen One, with a life that blooms in fullness in the measure that it opens up, enters into relation, gives itself gratuitously." Pope Benedict XVI

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