The Vatican has made some attempts in making a presence online – including having their own YouTube channel – but the Pope has issued a new message ahead of World Communications Day that tells priests that they should embrace social media and start blogging – yes, you heard that right.
“God’s loving care for all people in Christ must be expressed in the digital world not simply as an artifact from the past, or a learned theory, but as something concrete, present and engaging,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote. “Our pastoral presence in that world must thus serve to show our contemporaries.”
His new message could see priests uploading images and videos on services like Flickr and YouTube, while writing blog posts and having podcasts or vodcasts. Some American ministries that focus on youth have already embraced social media.
The trend has already been embraced by Father Bob McGuire, who has a blog and two podcasts – one from the Podcast Network and another from Triple J. He also has a MySpace and Facebook profile and a Twitter account, where over 3,000 follow his tweets.
However, just don’t expect your priest to write messages that may or may not contain their deepest darkest secrets, or posting drunk pictures of themselves on Facebook – which they do not do, hopefully – or playing Farmville. The decree by Pope Benedict XVI has warned that priests should be used be spread the Gospel in their parishes and/or diocese.
“Priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ,” Pope Benedict XVI said on the matter.