“The increased availability of the new technologies demands greater responsibility on the part of those called to proclaim the Word, but it also requires them to become more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts. Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.” - Pope Benedict XVI (44th WCD)
Pastors and Church leaders who refuse to use new media technologies in their ministries are not just missing out, they are shirking a responsibility. “To whom much is given, much shall be required” (Luke 12:48). God has given us some very powerful tools. If we let them sit unused or drag our feet in learning how to responsibly use them, we are not embracing these God-given gifts like we should. And not only should the Catholic Church be using these tools, but we should be leaders in using them…across the board, from the top to the bottom.
I think fear and ignorance are two primary reasons many of our leaders fail to do so. Fear of the unknown, to leave their comfort zone, and to embrace something they are not naturally good at. And ignorance as to how much more powerfully and effectively these technologies can proclaim the Word. Neither this fear, nor this ignorance, is invincible. They just need to step up and accept their responsibility. And we need to lovingly help them.
I think a more important point the Pope is making here is not only that our leaders need new media technology. It’s that new media technology needs our leaders! It needs our priests. It needs our bishops. It needs their pastoral leadership.
We need the leaders of the Church to help guide the way with new media. We need them to make sure we are applying these new things in a moral and healthy way to our lives. We need them to help us make sure we are putting “the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.”
Just like every new advancement or shift in human living - whether scientific, technological, social or whatever - we need the Church to understand it as well as anyone else so that they are able to help guide us through it and employ these technologies effectively and morally. This, according to Pope Benedict, “demands greater responsibility on the part of those called to proclaim the Word.” To whom much is given, much will be required.