An Apostolate in a Digital World

Source: FSSPX News

The Holy Father's message for the 44th World Communications Day (May 16) was published on January 23 under the title: The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word.

In this Year of the Priesthood, Benedict XVI's message begins with an observation: that the “recent expansion” and the “considerable influence” of the “modern means of communication” make “their use all the more important and useful in the priestly ministry”.  Thus, the Pope affirms, “the priest stands at the threshold of a new era: since the more modern technologies create closer relations and the more the digital world expands its borders, the more will the priest be called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.” Consequently, writes Benedict XVI, “priests will be expected to act in the world of digital communications with constant fidelity 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 which alongside traditional means can represent unprecedented opportunities for dialogue, and even the indispensible tools for evangelization and catechesis.”

Invited to become involved in “the digital continent”, today’s priest is also encouraged by the Pope to be noted “for his priestly heart, to give himself not only to his pastoral commitment, but also to the flow of uninterrupted communication of the 'Web'.”  Benedict XVI explains that the priest should combine the use of these “instruments” with “solid theological learning” and “a strong priestly spirituality” to give “to the men of our ‘digital’ age the signs necessary to recognize Our Lord,” for “the primary duty of the priest is to announce Christ, the Word of God made flesh, and to communicate the divine, multiform and saving grace through the sacraments.”

“Our pastoral presence in the digital world must thus serve to show to the men of our time, and to the lost humanity of today, that God is near” to each of us. Lastly the Pope recommends priests not to forget that “the fruitfulness of the priestly ministry comes first of all from Christ, encountered and listened to in prayer, proclaimed in preaching and lived witness; and known and loved and celebrated in the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation.” (DICI n°209, Feb. 6, 2010 – Sources: VIS/Apic/Imedia)