Ahead of the opening Mass for the Church’s ‘Year of Faith’, the Holy Father has chosen to focus on the power of social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter as digital tools of evangelisation.
Pope Benedict XVI has released the theme for the 2013 World Communications Day: “Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization”.
In announcing the theme, the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications called for fresh thinking to create a more ‘dynamic and humane’ digital world:
During a time in which technology has emerged as part of the fabric of connectivity of human experiences, such as relationships and knowledge, we need to ask: can it help men and women meet Christ in faith? It is not enough to find an adequate language, but rather, it is necessary to learn how to present the Gospel as the answer to that basic human yearning for meaning and faith, which has already found expression online.
Such an approach, which will serve to create a more dynamic and humane digital world, requires a new way of thinking. It is not simply a question of how to use the internet as a means of evangelization, but instead of how to evangelize in a context where the lives of people find expression also in the digital arena.
In particular, we need to be attentive to the emergence and enormous popularity of the social networks, which privilege dialogical and interactive forms of communication and relationships.
World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council (Inter Mirifica, 1963), is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost. In 2013, it falls on 12 May. The Holy Father’s message for World Communications Day is traditionally published on the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers – 24 January 2013.
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