Pope Benedict XV, whose own presence on the Internet has grown in recent years, is urging priests to use all multimedia tools at their disposal to preach the Gospel and to engage in dialogue with people of other religions and cultures. ‘The spread of multimedia communications and its rich “menu of options” might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web,’ but priests are ‘challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources,’ says the Pope. The message from the Pope, prepared for the World Day of Communications, suggests such possibilities as images, videos, animated features, blogs, and Web sites and adds that young priests should become familiar with new media while still in seminary, though the Pope stresses that the use of new technologies must reflect theological and spiritual principles. Many priests and top prelates already interact with the faithful online, and one of Benedict’s advisers has his own Facebook profile. So does the archbishop of Los Angeles.
The Pope adds, ‘I renew the invitation to make astute use of the unique possibilities offered by modern communications. May the Lord make all of you enthusiastic heralds of the Gospel in the new “agorà” which the current media are opening up.