Bishop John Wester, Chair of the Communications Committee for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, gave an address at the General Assembly two weeks ago about the importance of keeping up with new media in the age of a new evangelization.
Truth and Tradition have not changed, but the Catholic Church is behind the times when it comes to technology. Many Church documents are difficult to find on the internet, Bishop Wester said, and people struggle to make online donations and search for Church communities. He continued:
We cannot meet these challenges—and the ones around the corner—without embracing a culture of innovation and experimentation in communications. This can not be overemphasized. The new platforms of communications are continually shifting. Who knew, just two years ago, that "iPad" would become such a common household term?
Historically, the church has patiently waited for new technologies to settle in to people's normal rhythms. We do not have that luxury today.
Bishop Wester identified three paths the USCCB is taking to best facilitate the new evangelization using the new world of communications:
· Identifying and sharing the overall best communication practices
· Developing digital content that meets the needs of different audiences
· Striving to build a culture of innovation with digital communications
These paths might seem vague, but look to his address for specific examples of how these goals have already been manifested. For example, the Bishops recently launched a browser friendly e-publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and their Facebook page has almost 40,000 fans.
In other communications news, the Vatican Secretariat of the State has a new communications advisor—an American! Gregory Burke, currently the Rome correspondent for Fox News, will take up the new post.