US dioceses urged to embrace Facebook, Twitter
November 16, 2010
Addressing the fall meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Ronald Herzog of Alexandria (Louisiana) called upon American dioceses to embrace new forms of social media.
“Although social media has been around for less than ten years, it doesn’t have the makings of a fad,” he said. “We’re being told that it is causing as fundamental a shift in communication patterns and behavior as the printing press did 500 years ago. And I don’t think I have to remind you of what happened when the Catholic Church was slow to adapt to that new technology. By the time we decided to seriously promote that common folk should read the Bible, the Protestant Reformation was well underway.”
Because it is so different from mass media and mass communication, social media is creating a new culture on this Digital Continent. Young people use it as their first point of reference. In other words, they’re not even going to their email to get information. The news, entertainment, their friends – are all coming to them through their mobile devices and through their social networks. The implications of that for a church which is struggling to get those same young people to enter our churches on Sunday are staggering. If the church is not on their mobile device, it doesn’t exist. The Church does not have to change its teachings to reach young people, but we must deliver it to them in a new way.