Image by grace mcdunnough via FlickrThe Pope has recently come up with some vague pronouncement about how he would like social media to be used by us Catholic communicators.
No concrete examples of this "vision of his" is forthcoming, no exemplars of fine practice that we can learn from, just rhetorical statements.
He basically does not just want Biblical content but some real human presence behind it !! Now pick the bones out of that one. Would that be the sort of real human presence that only expresses opinions that do not dissent from his views ?
Jeff Kunerth in a great article at The Orlando Sentinel says:
"By their nature, social media are wide open and egalitarian: Anyone with a keyboard and an opinion is entitled to join the conversation. That makes the incorporation of social media difficult for hierarchical religious organizations or denominations, said the Rev. Anthony Pogorelc, a research fellow at Catholic University's Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies in Washington
"In some sense there is a tension between social media and traditional, hierarchical organizations like the Catholic Church," Pogorelc said. "With social media, everyone has a voice and can say what they want. In the system of the Catholic Church, more weight is given to the key spokespersons — the bishops or leaders of the church — and what they say."
My comments below
( I have to laugh at this because some of these leaders in the recent past actually openly despise Facebook, Blogs and have even told parishioners not to use them ! I guess a lot of them will be sweating under their Roman collars and now have to make a quick U -turn as Papa Benedict has spoken.
Please exclude those great bloggers, Paul at People for Others and Fr. Austin at Concord Pastor who lead the way in good quality blogging.
But for too many it is a case of Fine bread but no butter. e.g. I have just been on a "Vatican approved site" that is preaching about how sites should welcome comments only to discover after fifteen minutes of writing them that the site said it was offline so my comments were not even saved !!
People for Others and Concord Pastor are modern well developed sites that I can post comments on regularly whether they are offline or not !! Come on ,Vatican and get your act sorted!!
Typical !! Fine pronouncements but yet their own system is inadequate to deliver even at the simplest of levels what it purports to want from others.
Read the full story from Orlando Sentinel on the double speak that is increasingly so often the case in many parts of the Church these days, and not just in Orlando either !!
Meanwhile Over at Thin Veil Young Brandon, also from Orlando, also seems to be experiencing a great frustration at lack of diocesan support for his efforts.
For further reading and some interesting discussion comments that follow afterwards, this article by Elizabeth Drescher from Religion Dispatches praises Pope Benedict for urging Catholic priests to use digital tech to teach and to evangelize, but reckons that the Holy Father may be underestimating the power of the non-hierarchical ethos of social media.
Click here to visit the Pope's facebook site