Every Thursday I’ve been taking a different quote from something the Church teaches about social communication or new media and trying to apply it. This week’s comes from an address Pope Benedict made to the Roman Curia last year:
“God’s loving care for all people in Christ must be expressed in the digital world not simply as an artifact from the past, or a learned theory, but as something concrete, present and engaging. Our pastoral presence in that world must thus serve to show our contemporaries, especially the many people in our day who experience uncertainty and confusion, ‘that God is near; that in Christ we all belong to one another’.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2009).
Here are the key words that stuck out to me the most: “God’s loving care” and “concrete, present and engaging.”
We will not make God’s love present simply by posting Church teaching online. “God’s loving care” does not become “concrete, present and engaging” by plastering the web with great Catholic content. Of course, the great Catholic content is extremely important and helpful. But the primary way that God’s love will become present on the digital continent is by His people.
His Love is not made concrete in a rigid text, but in our loving touch. It is not made present simply by our presence, but by our love. And it is not made engaging by a cold, isolated computer screen, but by somebody who cares on the other side of it.
It is we who must be present on the web - not just our stuff. The web is bringing the world nearer and nearer to each other. God wants His Love to be present there, too. And he does that most of all through our personal presence and our love.